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The collision of new technology and energy-efficient skyscrapers

Now more than ever, it seems our skyscrapers are being designed to be as energy-efficient as possible.

The collision of new technology and energy-efficient skyscrapers

Tall buildings meeting global LEED and WELL systems are cropping up near daily around the globe, setting sustainability standards previously unseen across our urban skylines.

From 3 World Trade Center in NYC to Ho Chi Minh City’s Vincom Landmark 81, the upcoming third Australian Smart Skyscrapers Summit will explore the finer details of green and sustainable skyscrapers worldwide, unpacking the fundamental challenges and opportunities lying at the heart of green design, before revealing what a successful end product might look like.

Archistar founder and director Dr Benjamin Coorey believes that new and developing technologies are vital for the creation of future environmentally sustainable skyscrapers. The Archistar.ai property development intelligence tool, which aids the building and property sectors in swiftly finding and assessing the development potential of building sites as well as generating designs that meet government guidelines, is one such technology.

“Current BIM technology gives you the ability to use 3D visualisation to view building and city models as well as embed, use and analyse data on the entire design process, all the way up to construction,” Coorey explains.

“Gone are the days where designers require a specific program to test sunlight and ventilation data.”

“Parametric modelling allows you to embed sustainability controls into a building system to ensure that every building generated is compliant with local government controls. You can now view the environmental data such as heat and daylight levels of a building and display it visually for all people to understand, not only the professionals.”

The democratisation of these new building technologies means that all stakeholders of the building and construction process will know exactly how environmentally sustainable a building is.

“Gone are the days where designers require a specific program to test sunlight and ventilation data as you can now use online web viewers to view exactly which apartments or façades receive a certain amount of hours of sunlight and ventilation,” Coorey says.

“Tools like Archistar.ai can generate, process and analyse thousands of designs within seconds, [helping you] sort through thousands of building designs and order them according to certain environmental principles. These types of BIM and smart technologies are essential to creating new and innovative skyscrapers as they help speed up the design to construction process and provide certainty through data when selecting and creating sustainable building designs.”

While utilising smart technology can be transformative for those of us developing eco-friendly tall buildings and those of us inhabiting them, we need to be wary of any technical problems that may arise mid-implementation.

Coorey says that by using these technologies, “Some tasks become easier such as placing structure, abiding by site and privacy setbacks, even analysing and adjusting buildings to achieve sunlight and daylight requirements. However, each of these elements propose their own issues as you begin to delve into how they work in all situations.”

“At Archistar, we have found that producing and generating designs on an ideal, rectangular site proves to have few problems. The issues begin to arise when the sites becoming increasingly irregular, with various conflicting controls on different parts of the site, as well as the conflicting requirements of councils to place a building on a site. Site and privacy setbacks increase in complexity between states and countries, especially as buildings increase in height.”

“Parametric modelling allows you to embed sustainability controls into a building system.”

Coorey adds that in addition, “there is also the issue of generating a building that complies with sunlight, daylight and ventilation requirements, as well as shading on surrounding areas and buildings. Not to mention standard design ratios to abide by such as Floor Space Ratio and Gross Floor Area.”

Ultimately, designing a tall building holds many complexities that are often difficult for humans to juggle manually. But utilising parametric technology can temper any issues by allowing the designer to focus on multiple sets of competing information in order to find designs that fit the desired criteria for sustainable, tenant-friendly skyscrapers.

The Third Australian Smart Skyscrapers Summit will be held on the 25 and 26 of June at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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