DAISY is using AI to bring timber home designs to life, delivering a sustainable option for the future of construction


Focus area:
Construction, Building and Infrastructure, AI

Toronto / UK

The construction industry accounts for nearly 40% of annual global carbon emissions. Using sustainable building materials smartly optimized and scaled for each project can result in greener construction with greater cost savings. While timber offers a more sustainable option than materials like concrete and steel, it can be an expensive and complex investment with challenging design considerations and high material waste potential.

DAISY is modernizing construction and enhancing sustainability with the first fully automated timber design software powered by AI. The company uses genetic programming that both generates a vast number of designs and learns from each one to find the best configuration. The DAISY software can then identify an optimal design for any floor layout while factoring in such considerations as openings for stairwells, internal walls, decking sheets, and other design challenges.

This helps reduce structural design time from several hours to about 30 minutes, saves on average $700 in materials per house by more effectively determining where and how to use timber in flooring, and creates up to 80% less waste than traditional house design that use timber.

When DAISY joined the Autodesk Technology Centers Outsight Network in 2020, the team connected with Autodesk Research which further propelled their project. A research and engineering team in the UK also focused on cost and materials savings in sustainable building was exploring how generative design could be used to perform optimized structure analysis for buildings to determine where to place load-bearing walls.

Working together, the teams could more effectively determine where to place load-bearing walls, as well as joists and decking sheets, while leveraging timber usage in the floor layout to deliver a design that maximized space, cost, and material usage. The combination of these two platforms resulted in increased efficiency and sustainability, further reducing carbon emissions and material waste. In fall 2021, Autodesk Research and DAISY fully designed a home that was built in the UK.

DAISY now produces about 12% of the designs for timber housing in UK and recently entered the North American market. The company plans to incorporate Canadian and US building regulations into the tool to further expand in the region and has plans to scale the platform to midsize buildings, presenting a more sustainable option for designing larger structures. The DAISY team continues to work with Autodesk Research, exploring additional opportunities for AI in construction to develop more efficient structural design.

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