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Using BIM to Teach Design and Construction of Sustainable Buildings

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1420.1 - 25.1420.11



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Paper Authors


Zhigang Shen University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Zhigang Shen is an Assistant Professor of Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He received his Ph.D. in construction from the University of Florida. Shen received more than $1.7 million in federal research grants on energy efficient buildings and innovative engineering education, from NSF, U.S. EPA, and DOE. Shen authored and co-authored more than 30 journal and conference papers in construction, energy efficient buildings, sustainable built environment, BIM applications, and innovative engineering education.

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Wayne G. Jensen University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Bruce Allen Fischer


Timothy G. Wentz University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Associate Professor, Construction Management

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Using BIM to teach “what-if” scenarios in education of sustainable building design and constructionBuilding information model (BIM), as a 3D information repository, has been graduallyintegrated into building energy analysis and simulation applications. As a result, preliminaryevaluation of sustainability of buildings became easier, faster, and accessible for educationcommunity. This new accessibility to powerful software provides great technology platform forboth instructors and students in building design and construction, to teach and learn the impactsof design and construction practices on building sustainability. So far limited publication wasfound on how to utilize BIM-based platform in formal teaching and learning settings of buildingsustainability.The objectives of this paper are 1) to introduce a curriculum of integrated BIM based buildingsustainability course; 2) to identify and discuss the applicable BIM techniques in Green buildingeducation; and 3) to demonstrate teaching and learning cases and projects used in this course.A first-time offered BIM class was used as a case study in this paper. The curriculum andprocedures of implementing BIM based sustainability education are introduced. One of theimportant requirements for students in this class is to learn three different BIM softwarepackages in one semester in order to be able to use BIM to conduct “what-if” sustainabilityanalysis on building design and construction. Challenges and lessons learned were discussed onhow to efficiently teach three BIM software in one semester. Typical functions of Ecotect®, aBIM based sustainability analysis software, are discussed for their applicability in classroomteaching. In this e course, both residential and commercial buildings were used as term projectsto integrate the pieces of knowledge students had learned in the class. Feedbacks from thestudents are collected for an analysis of changes on both student knowledge and attitude.In summary, using a case study, the authors shared procedures and contents in a new courseusing BIM platform to teach building sustainability in construction program. The authors hope itwill promote more discussions and knowledge sharing on this important topic.

Shen, Z., & Jensen, W. G., & Fischer, B. A., & Wentz, T. G. (2012, June), Using BIM to Teach Design and Construction of Sustainable Buildings Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22177

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