Streamlining Green Building Design: Developing Requirements for the Sustainable Design Suite

EPA Contract Number: EPD05012
Title: Streamlining Green Building Design: Developing Requirements for the Sustainable Design Suite
Investigators: Kennedy, John F.
Small Business: GeoPraxis, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2005 through August 31, 2005
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , SBIR - Pollution Prevention


Green building design, at the planning and schematic design stages when sweeping decisions about sustainable siting, water efficiency, indoor air quality, materials, and atmospheric and energy technologies can still be made, is difficult at best. The building Design and Construction 2003 “White Paper on Sustainability – A Report on the Green Building Movement” identified significant barriers to green building design, with analysis cost, complexity, and knowledge being critical issues. This research project will identify and remove the key barriers that currently result in an extremely small percentage of new buildings being designed with sustainable green building components and strategies. Although existing programs such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System rate green building issues, these programs are applied in later building design stages, when products are specified.

The goal of this research project is to develop a framework and plan for integrating the engineering and environmental tools used to design green buildings in the Pacific Southwest. GeoPraxis, Inc., calls this concept “Sustainable Design Suite™.” GeoPraxis will evaluate the use of its existing Green Building Studio™ platform for integrated summary analyses. GeoPraxis also will evaluate the use of Green Building XML (gbXML) for interoperability between the building design, engineering, and environmental databases and tools. With the rapid emergence of intelligent interoperable computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering tools, as well as geographic information systems and regional/local environmental databases, it becomes critical that databases of siting characteristics, water table information, transportation alternatives, utility transmission and distribution infrastructure availability, urban heat island issues, etc., be integrated and widely used.

Design teams using these information sources spend far too much time and money―often propagating errors―by entering and re-entering the same common sets of building descriptions, products, and environmental data into these tools. Seamless interoperability between their primary desktop CAD software containing building design information, computationally intensive analysis processes, environmental analysis, and design optimization, is needed for these teams to carry out their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

GeoPraxis has devoted the last 5 years to addressing this fundamental problem in the architecture, engineering, construction, and building products industries. GeoPraxis has produced an open source XML schema (gbXML) and a computationally powerful Web service (Green Building Studio™). GeoPraxis has formed go-to-market partnerships in place with Autodesk, Graphisoft, and Bentley. With all of the industry’s most significant CAD software providers firmly behind this solution, GeoPraxis proposes that this is the appropriate time to realize the long-anticipated promise of interoperability.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, green building, pollution prevention, green building design, green building components, engineering tools, environmental tools, design optimization, siting characteristics, infrastructure, computer-aided design, CAD, EPA, RFA, Scientific Discipline, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Chemistry and Materials Science, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, green building design requirements, clean technologies, green design, sustainable development, waste reduction, climate control and illumination building, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, computer generated alternatives, energy efficiency, pollution prevention design, water conservation, architecture, sustainable design suite

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Streamlining Green Building Design: Developing the Sustainable Design Suite  | Final Report