Australians want better transport and more energy-efficient buildings, says survey

Monday, 10 November, 2014

A study by 3D design software provider Autodesk has found that Australians want the cities of the future to feature improved transportation systems, buildings with greater energy efficiency and more green public spaces. According to Rob Malkin, director of architecture, engineering, construction and infrastructure for Asia Pacific at Autodesk, many of the challenges of cities are “caused by, and can be solved through improvements to, the built environment”.

The survey, which canvassed the opinions of more than 1000 Australians, named traffic congestion as the single biggest issue facing our cities, with 84% of respondents regarding it as a major concern - followed by poor public transport at 74% and followed by poor roads at 58%. When asked about future improvements they’d be most excited to see in our cities, the item on the top of respondents’ wish lists was a world-class public transport system (77%), followed by better parking solutions (55%).

“Like many of our biggest challenges, transportation is a problem that technology can help solve,” said Malkin. “Building information modelling (BIM), a process that can be used to create data-rich digital city models, will play a crucial role in helping us better plan and manage our cities as they grow. It can also help us make the most of other solutions like adaptive traffic lights, active traffic management systems and even self-driving cars, which may have a part to play in the future of our cities.”

Meanwhile, 93% of Australians demonstrated concern for the energy efficiency of our homes and office buildings, agreeing that future offices should be built to a specific energy standard. Furthermore, 72% of respondents agreed that tax concessions should be given to the owners of office buildings to help them fund improvements in the energy efficiency; however, only 51% felt that taxpayer dollars should fund improvements to existing public buildings to help their owners meet specific energy standards.

BIM will also play a central role in sustainable buildings. Architects and engineers can now calculate the impact of their building material selections, perform energy-cost analysis, optimise energy consumption and more. For existing buildings, advances in software and the cloud make it possible to quickly evaluate and prioritise energy-efficient retrofits for the greatest impact before owners make any major financial commitments. BIM can also help make construction more efficient and less wasteful - vital for an industry that is said to consume 50% of raw materials globally.

 “Today, with the latest software technology and the computing power of the cloud, architects and engineers can, in just minutes, conduct analyses that would have previously taken days or weeks,” said Malkin. “Looking forward, our ability to handle and make sense of massive amounts of data will mean that we can use sophisticated sensor networks that are integrated into a building’s systems to not only make better designs, but operate them more efficiently.”

The research was announced as part of the Autodesk University Extension event, which is being held in Sydney from 10-11 November.

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