Shaping the Future of Electrical Design and Combating Climate Change with Schneider Electric

Vikram Dutt Vikram Dutt March 31, 2021

4 min read

Climate Change is driving innovation in energy generation, storage and consumption – impacting design and construction. That’s why here at Autodesk, we’re working with Schneider Electric to reimagine the future of sustainable buildings using Building Information Modeling (BIM).

As part of our ongoing efforts to refine our products to better serve you—our customers—and our planet, we are responding to the specific challenges and workflow issues that electrical engineers and designers face.

We recognize that electrical engineers are working within a rapidly changing landscape of standards and code requirements, and that disconnected and fragmented workflows force engineers to continue working in analog or 2D. What should be an interconnected, seamless design team is instead working in silos, with electrical stakeholders in a challenging position when projects start and pause or change goals.

To help address these challenges, we want to more fully bring electrical engineering into the BIM process by creating an overall more connected solution. We also want to go one step further by leveraging generative design and machine learning to maximize productivity and performance through these capabilities.

Doing so would enable engineers to spend more time on designing, optimizing and moving forward with sustainably-oriented proposed solutions—ideal for both engineers and end users. This new solution can help open up new opportunities for electrical professionals designing the next generation of energy efficient buildings.

So how does Autodesk intend to do that?

Together with Schneider Electric, we are collaborating on the development of a new cloud-based service leveraging Autodesk Forge™, Autodesk’s cloud-based developer platform. As a leader in electrical distribution systems and energy and building management solutions, Schneider Electric brings a deep knowledge of electrical codes and building systems. Schneider’s solution will enhance Revit capabilities, complete certain workflow gaps, and make Revit a more intelligent and connected tool.

What’s more, like Autodesk, they are a company that is deeply committed to sustainability. They have plans to reach CO2 neutrality across their entire ecosystem by 2025 and are committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions on their entire operational scope by 2030 and across their supply chain by 2050. More broadly, this new partnership reflects our commitment to foster a more open, collaborative environment in the AEC industry and to facilitate interoperability across platforms and companies.

“We come from the physical world, and that physical world does not exist without design. And there will not be a physical world—decarbonized, energy-efficient—that has not been designed as such, and we are here to build it together.”

Mark Nezet, SVP, Energy Management Software, Schneider Electric

This new offering, as I recently discussed with Marc Nezet, SVP of Energy Management Software at Schneider Electric at AU, will allow users to work from concept through schematic and into detail design with more connected and cohesive workflows.

The partnership with Schneider Electric will enable electrical engineers to leave behind disconnected workflows, with the goal of addressing some key design capabilities such as load distribution mapping, power balancing, equipment sizing and single line diagramming, enabling close collaboration with other engineers and architects.

Better outcomes with a dynamic workflow

Electrical engineers will also be able to employ machine learning and generative design, so new, more efficient solutions can be developed based on existing building data. By drawing on information obtained from existing building plans, known consumption inputs and energy efficiency performance on other similar projects, design teams may be able to more clearly determine objectives and goals for everything from energy-efficient new buildings to sustainable upgrades to existing infrastructure and equipment.

Autodesk’s collaboration will make for a more connected, dynamic workflow between electrical engineers and other project stakeholders.

Engineers will find that they’re not only able to work more efficiently through the design process, but that they’re better able to determine ideal solutions to their design problems, helping to increase both team and client satisfaction during and after the project.

It will engage Revit as the intelligent tool that it’s designed to be. Electrical professionals can more easily optimize processes, and will receive greater support during the design process across global standards.

Building a new world together

We’re excited about the time and energy this new solution will help to save and the silos that will help to break down through this new collaboration. But we’re equally enthused about the long-term effects this will have on building design and efficiency.

Since announcing this exciting partnership at AU, we’ve been busy working towards the development of a final product deliverable. Along the way, we’ve also been conducting customer research across northern and southern Europe, the UK, Ireland, and the United States — as well as engaging with leading industry associations — to better inform our product progress and confirm our improvements to electrical design product workflows.

Ultimately, this endeavor is a global one that incorporates efforts from teams across the United States, France, and the UK, helping us to more effectively serve our customers, no matter their location.

As Marc Nezet, Schneider Electric senior vice president of Energy Management Software says, “We come from the physical world, and that physical world does not exist without design. And there will not be a physical world—decarbonized, energy-efficient—that has not been designed as such, and we are here to build it together.”

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