Thursday, December 27, 2007

Google Earth and Building Green

I saw Google give a demo of this new feature on Google Earth at EcoBuild in Washington, D.C. Click here to check it out (download Google Earth first):

Great Green Buildings Google Earth Layer

Google has partnered with and the Department of Energy to allow you to view full SketchUp models on Google Earth of the 96 projects in Building Green's High Performance Buildings Database. Here's an example I pulled from the D.C. area - the Nature Conservancy Headquarters by HOK.

It's not quite as smooth as I would like, and from what I can tell you only view the exterior of these buildings (frustrating given many of the interior spaces must be nice), but the link from Google Earth to content on the BuildingGreen website is intriguing. For example, it makes me wonder about the next version of this... could Google Earth and Building Information Modeling (BIM) be combined? Or maybe BIM and Google Earth share the development of certain "layers"? The ability to point and click to various aspects of a building / site and learn about green features is compelling. It leads to a number of questions about merging applications and/or data such as:
  • Will SketchUp 6.0 become the new Computer Aided Design (CAD) for developers, designers and builders?
  • Is there a benefit to starting design directly on a (virtual) site? I mean, will architects, builders and clients have a better understanding of environmental context given tools like these?
  • Can we employ more complex modeling techniques (wind, solar, energy, water, etc.) given the resources and reach of our friends at Google?
  • Will doing "all of the above" create better buildings for people, profit and the planet?


M_Pinto said...

This is great! I developed a (more primitive) prototype of this project for The Skyscraper Museum's 2005 exhibition, Green Towers, mapping the new green skyscrapers being built in Manhattan using google maps. You can check it out here:

Inverdito said...

The EPA is now using Google to find out about the air quality in any neighborhood. The tool tracks the worst air polluters!

John said...

One of the greatest advantages I've found to designing "on site" with SketchUp is the ability to quickly assess the impact of my designs on the surroundings (or vice versa). It's an efficient reality check even when we're well within proscribed setbacks, daylight planes, etc.

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