BIM2BEM - Integration of BIM and BEM in Architecture Today


Various research papers have examined how building information modeling (BIM) can be integrated with building energy modeling (BEM) in architectural design today.

BIM in architecture today

Recent innovations have provided the opportunity for architectural firms to invest in state-of-the-art technologies and adopt new processes.

Among these new methodologies is Building Information Modeling (BIM), which has developed for the architectural sector over the last two decades. Integrating graphical and non-graphical information, it enables architectural project stakeholders to work collaboratively for efficient project delivery throughout the lifecycle of architectural projects.

Most of the world’s leading architecture firms have realized the benefits of using BIM in projects.

The principal benefit of BIM is that it allows efficient progress throughout the lifecycle of an architectural project from design through construction to closeout and beyond, safeguarding information and integrating different stakeholder requirements in a common data environment.

BEM in architecture today

The use of Building Energy Modeling (BEM) in architecture has come about to respond to the global call for energy conservation and sustainability.

BEM tools and processes can be used to simulate energy performance, evaluate energy needs and optimize architectural design.

Many architectural projects now seek environmental certification (LEED, BREEAM or others), to ensure the efficient use of water, materials, resources and energy, improve internal environmental quality, address regional priorities and preserve sustainable sites.

Different BEM applications are used by project teams to assess architectural design and construction from the environmental perspective. These analytical software applications are intended for integration with BIM but until recently have been used separately.

Data exchange between architectural design and energy simulation representations has previously been a challenge and building energy performance simulation has even been omitted from the process.

Past building energy simulation tools have failed to take advantage of object-oriented programming and do not easily allow for mapping from an object-oriented design model.

To improve and enhance the model translation effectiveness, an approach that translates BIM and BEM using an object-oriented simulation environment is now available.

The benefit of integrating BIM2BEM in architecture today

BIM2BEM aims to integrate BEM and BIM and lead to the design and construction of buildings that integrate building energy performance criteria with architectural objectives.

BIM2BEM methodology indicates the level of development required at each stage of the architectural design process and allows BIM to be embedded within sustainable architectural design.

Through integrated BIM2BEM, BEM building performance analysis can be connected to a BIM digital model (BIM Services) through common exchange file extensions enabling integrated interoperability between BEM and BIM environments. It represents a positive step towards automated performance-based design; architectural design included, and includes two key components:

  • Algorithms for data transformation, mapping and integration with a BIM database and BEM simulation engine
  • Visualization of simulation results within BIM environment

BIM facilitates parametric information storage and using it during an architectural design development process can enable BEM parameter-integrated construction information to be produced.

Understanding the nature and extent of information required for accurate BEM at each stage of the architectural design process is a key to understanding how best to record performance information in a BIM environment.

BIM2BEM for thermal simulation

Some BIM2BEM applications are object-oriented, physical model based and focus on thermal simulation to support decision-making in the architectural design process.

They operate by firstly pre-processing BIM models to add required thermal parameters into BIM to generate building topology and then secondly translating BIM to BEM automatically for thermal simulation.

BIM2BEM data modeling

BIM2BEM has been developed using a data modeling technique that incorporates building geometry, materials and topology.

Using data modeling, authors can create a model view definition of a process model and a class diagram.

  • The process model demonstrates object mapping between BIM and BEM and facilitates the definition of required information during model translations.
  • The class diagram represents the information and object relationships to produce a class package intermediate between BIM and BEM.

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