The Philadelphia-based architecture firm KieranTimberlake announced a couple of days ago the release of Tally, a new software application that allows designers to measure the environmental impact of building materials directly in a Revit model. The application provides Life Cycle Assessment on demand, backed by the rigor and credibility of GaBi data from PE INTERNATIONAL, a global leader in life cycle information and sustainability consulting. Autodesk, the maker of Revit modeling software, supported development and testing for the application.
Tally offers a dramatic shift from traditional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies—which are compiled largely by trained practitioners. Typically, conducting LCAs for buildings and construction has been time and labor intensive, and most Life Cycle Assessments are performed after construction is already complete. Tally puts LCA information in the hands of the design team, enabling life cycle-based product decisions at the same pace and within the same working environment as building designs are generated.
“Tally takes a big step in driving Life Cycle Assessment into the design process. It is appealing to designers because they don’t need to make a separate model for analysis, and it creates a streamlined and intuitive interface for designers to interact with their models,” says Frances Yang, a structures and materials sustainability specialist at Arup who beta-tested Tally in the global firm’s San Francisco office. “As with energy modeling tools, it matters that the person driving the model has access to deciding factors instead of waiting for third-party results. It’s important to close that gap so that iterations can be made faster.”
Life Cycle Assessment is part of a larger framework for reducing the environmental impact of buildings, which includes current standards such as Passive House, Living Building Challenge, and the 2030 Challenge aimed at reducing energy consumption in buildings. As energy codes become more stringent and operations-related environmental impacts drop, the demand for LCA results is mounting. New standards, such as the United States Green Building Council’s LEED v4, reward project teams that utilize whole building LCA via a new materials and resources credit.
Tally is an environmental impact tool created by architects for the architecture industry. KieranTimberlake developed the application using Autodesk’s Revit API in order to link BIM elements with a custom-designed LCA database. Tally combines material attributes, assembly details, and engineering and architectural specifications with environmental impact data to produce reports designers can use to analyze material selections. With Tally, users can track the environmental impact of materials across a range of categories, such as embodied energy and global warming potential.
Steve Baer, former Chair of the LEED Materials Technical Advisory Group and Principal Consultant and Director of Building and Construction at PE INTERNATIONAL, says, “Integrating life cycle information into the tools of design has been our vision for quite some time. We are pleased to work with KieranTimberlake to integrate GaBi, the premier database for building materials, with Revit, the leading building information modeling tool.”
KieranTimberlake conceived the application in 2008 and began refining it in partnership with Autodesk Sustainability Solutions. The beta version was presented to feedback groups in 2012 during Greenbuild in San Francisco and at Autodesk University. In 2013, Tally underwent a nine-week beta testing phase by architecture, engineering, and construction firms including Arup, Snohetta, and Lend Lease.
Emma Stewart, Head of Autodesk Sustainability Solutions, observed, “Our customers seek to provide the highest quality buildings at the most competitive price, and yet until recently, the prospect of quickly gathering insight into the embedded environmental impacts of construction materials and products proved too daunting. Tally unites BIM models with credible life cycle data to make this not only feasible, but a new best practice.”
Tally will be initially available as a free public beta, with previews at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia from November 19-22. It will be presented at the Materials and Human Health Summit at Greenbuild on 11/19. In addition, product demonstrations will be held at the Autodesk Booth on Wednesday, 11/20 from 1:30-2:30 pm, and Thursday, 11/21 from 3:00-4:00 pm. Further information is available at ktrg.kierantimberlake.com/tally.