BIM + BEM + CFD: how to save 6 million rubles a year on maintenance costs of buildings

Experience of “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”) in mathematical and energy modeling of on-site engineering of the building to solve “unsolvable” tasks.


CFD-model of the object “Ledovaya arena” (“Ice rink”)

* all the illustrations in the article that do not have references to the source are provided by “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”)

«Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”) - an engineering company, launched in Saint-Petersburg in 1991. There are over 100 employees, 76 patents and utility models, 250 successful projects. The main idea – to create an internal environment of buildings and constructions of the highest quality by key ready modeling – from the first draft to handing-over an installed system. The branded slogan is “Harmony is a matter of technology” precisely determines the main mission of the company.

“Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”) has also initiated the first Russian energy efficiency system GREEN ZOOM and specializes in design certification on energy efficiency and environmental performance LEED, BREEAM and GREEN ZOOM.

Vysotskiy consulting cooperates with “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”) for over 3 years. During that time we have designed BIM-system, solved numerous matters. Our specialists have completed training courses on Revit, visited trainings “BIM-manager” and “BIM for managers”, use online-resources. We share our experiences and give consultations on difficult BIM-matters."


BIM – building construction, but not engineering processes

BIM-modeling has revolutionized design, giving designers an opportunity to deal with a digital copy of the project. However, in “pure” BIM energy issues have been left behind –a model does not display energy processes inside the building.

In addition, engineering systems in complex projects do not work properly in many cases (e.g. air current from the grate stops short of the work area). Poorly engineered ineffective systems cause maintenance costs rise up to 70% for 20-25 years (that sum exceeds all the investments into the project).

Evaluation of energy processes of the designed object at the earliest stages allows to cut design and construction costs as well as maintenance costs. BEM and CFD technologies (that will be described in the article) are applied to solve the matter.

BEM shows power consumption of a building

BEM (Building Energy Modeling) – power consumption modeling (or “power balance”) of the building. BEM allows to understand energy performance of buildings, that is to see how much energy it will consume in operation.


BEM-model MFK “Slava”, office block 2A. See project design description below

valery   “Energy analysis with BEM and CFD is a project investment that has saved millions of rubles for our customers. BIM makes the implementation of these technologies faster and more efficient giving an opportunity to work over several variants of engineering solutions.”
– Valery Kirdeev, head of design in “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”)


Сравнение расходов на энергоресурсы

Comparison of energy resources costs for the building of 1700 m² in area.
The technology allows to define less efficient energy processes and optimize them. BEM-modeling is the most accurate and modern engineering tool that allows to take decisions on cutting time and costs on carrying out a construction project and operation of buildings.

BEM-modeling in “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”)  is also performed to certify construction objects on rating systems LEED, BREEAM and GREEN ZOOM. This procedure aims to compare basic decisions with project ones and to identify their energy-efficiency.

cut on maintenance costs
average number cost-efficient solutions for an object
rise of energy-efficiency through optimum choices
of  companies considerably cut the costs on connection to monopolistic networks


CFD – “what is going on with the aerial environment”

CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) – computational fluid dynamics, a set of methods to define current heat exchanging and mass exchanging processes in aerial environment of the target object. In simple words it is an opportunity to “foresee” air parameters (indoor climate) inside the building, understanding of air circulation.


CDF-model of pavilion “Elephant’s House”

Please find below the description of the design

CFD-modeling contains 3-5% of errors. This is the only tool for today that provides validity comparable to full-scale experiment and high quality in studying efficiency anticipated projects.

CFD-model considerably cut costs and time on justification and confirmation of technical solutions. State expertise authorities can accept the results of CFD-modeling.

на 23%

assessed value differs from calculation value and by a bigger per cent for the objects with larger daylight area

около 4
iterations are enough to find an optimal solution for ventilation and air conditioning systems

на 19%
ventilation system investments are cut down
на 17%
 indoor environment quality increase


BIM – basis for BEM and CFD


Example of preparing BIM-model for BEM-analysis

The illustration is provided by Autodesk company

The first solutions for energy modeling appeared over 30 years ago. For a  long time a 3D-model of a building has been designed directly in BEM or CFD-environment. A labor-intensive modeling process flowed simultaneously and duplicated architects’ work. The process was time-consuming.

However, due to the development of software, introducing of BIM and of a universal BEM-data format gbXML (Green Building XML schema) it is possible to interface BIM-models to BEM and CFD applications.

It has allowed to shorten the timeline to preparation of the model by 3-5 times. That is to save several working weeks.

Key benefits of gbXML

Preparation of BIM-model for BEM and CFD-calculations consists of 3 steps:

  • AS a rule a BIM-model contains excessive information for CFD/BEM. Therefore, 3D-geometry of a building is simplified and imported from BIM-programs to BEM/CFD environment.
    In energy modeling only surfaces that affect heat exchange (external and internal building envelope, elements of internal thermal inertia, shading elements of a building and environment.) are taken into account.

    Modeling constructs that influence the air flow, such as target devices and basic structures play an important role for CFD


  • Initial data job is performed in a calculation program. Basic BEM data – a weather file, system parameters, schemes and mathematical models of equipment. For CFD – airflow data, environment settings and other data. After that, calculations are performed.


  • Interpretation of calculation data and, if necessary, renewal of the model and recycling are provided.
    BIM-model shortens the process of model preparation for BEM/CFD calculation by 70-90%


How to calculate BEM

To calculate BEM a range of software is provided:

  • Autodesk Green Building Studio
    Is free, if you provide a license for Autodesk Revit. It perfectly suits a newbie in BIM-direction.


  • eQuest
    Is a free program with a wide range of functions. It has a long history and provides rich educational content in the Internet.


  • IES VE PRO (used in “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”) It is one of the most powerful BEM-solutions on the market. Expensive license ($4600/year) is refunded by the wide range of tools, operation speed and high quality results..


For self-study we recommend Autodesk Sustainability Workshop website that is about energy-efficiency, sustainable development and green technologies. There you can find theory, software and examples on solutions for buildings and constructions.

Sample information is available on

“Green” standard certification

To confirm the energy-efficient and environmentally friendly status of an object it is necessary to complete certification.

BEM –model of a building and calculations are provided for the analysis. After that energy-efficiency rating based on that data is attributed to the building. This rate guarantees up-to-dateness and cost efficiency of the object. High rating strengthens the project appeal for investors and consumers.

CFD, BEM and BIM in “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”) :

Using CFD, BEM and BIM simultaneously the company has saved millions of rubles for their customers. We will provided just several examples of some of the projects with key indicators.

BEM: Manufacturing and storage facility LLC “VILO RUS”


3D model (with the sun location) of manufacturing and storage facility LLC “VILO RUS”
Energy modeling to assess energy consumption and the following energy efficiency of the object as well as to get obligatory EAp2 credit “Minimal energy consumption” and to meet the conditions of EAc2 credit “Energy saving” of LEED system.

By applying 11 methods costs were cut by 30% and energy consumption decreased by 45%. That is about 6 million rubles saved annually.

Annual costs on energy sources for basic (initial) and project variants

Annual distribution of the energy consumed in basic and project variants, megawatt hour

BEM-model International Financial Corporation  “Slava”, office block 2A

BEM-model of International Financial Corporation, office block 2A

Certification to LEED as well as to assess the current energy efficiency and environmental performance.

Design features
BIM technology allowed to shorten 3D modeling of a building that is to shorten the timeline to energy modeling.

Solutions on increase of energy efficiency that have been implemented into the design resulted in the decrease of energy consumption by 30% and that of the maintenance costs by 16,6%.

Heat consumption charts in “standard” and energy-efficient variants. Pay attention to differences in vertical axis scale

CFD: Sports palace “Yubileyniy” (Saint-Petersburg)

CFD-model of the object. Flow lines from nozzle diffusers and temperature distribution over the ice rink
Engineering systems optimization of sports palace “Yubileyny” before Ice Hockey World Championship 2016.

Design features
The model has been designed with the help of Autodesk Revit. That shortened the preparation period down to 3 days instead of 1-2 weeks.


The research has provided high quality microclimate on the stadium stands as well as in the ice rink zone. During the reconstruction of the stadium for the Ice Hockey World Championship 2016 air distribution over the ice rink  has been optimized


CFD: “Elephant’s House”

CFD-model for “Elephant’s House” pavilion

To select an appropriate variant of air distribution for one of the project pavilions in the zoo “Elephant’s House”.

Design features:
A complex bent and a translucent structure of the roof defines the air flow inside the pavilion. That airflow would be impossible to define through an analytical approach.

Tools used: Autodesk Revit (designing am abject model and fulfilling it with utility systems), STAR-CCM+ (CFD-modeling).

Design results: in terms of research 3 variants of air distribution have been modeled:

  • through nozzles;
  • through nozzles and supply grille;
  • through nozzles applying displacement ventilation for the first floor.

Without CDF a fail-safe test would only be possible after the object has been assembled. For the first two systems it would mean to face the disassembly, designing and allocation of new solutions. CFD-modeling lets select an appropriate utility system – through nozzles applying displacement ventilation for the first floor.

CFD: Stadium “Ledovaya arena” (“Ice rink”)

Distribution of the air temperature and the flow line from the nozzle diffusers that service the ice rink

To solve the case of the fog over the pitch (ice rink) during sports events.

Design features:
The rink under question houses over 22 000 spectators. That fact defines higher level of heat and humidity during the sports events.

Autodesk Revit was used to design the model, STAR-CCM+  was used for CFD-modeling.

The following tasks have been completed:

  • control of ventilation and air conditioning in design;
  • defining reasons of discomfort and violation of technical conditions;
  • optimization of air distribution systems;
  • of heat and humidity parameters on the inflow.

Design problems have been defined: providing of the required parameters over the ice rink that leads to the fog over the ice rink during the sports events. After the modeling analysis a range of recommendations was offered.

CFD: residential area “Kremlevskiye zvezdy” (“Kremlin stars”) (Saint-Petersburg)

Static pressure distribution over the building envelope surface in residential area “Kremlevskiye zvezdy” (“Kremlin stars”)

Modeling of wind flow towards a multi-story business-class residential building under construction (~85 meters). Wind directions and the context area are taken into consideration.

Design features:
Model of the building has been made in Autodesk Revit. CFD calculations – in STAR-CCM+ / OpenFOAM. Preparation of the model in Revit has shortened the research down to 1.5 – 1 month. Accurate data on wind load have led to high-quality engineering calculations at the designing stage.


Obligatory wind design has been completed in a shorter span of time than an experimental analysis. Initial data in BIM-format have allowed to omit the preparatory stage of building of the simulation model.

Certification: innovation center “Skolkovo”

Innovative center “Skolkovo”, Moscow region

LEED certification of several objects of the innovative centre.

Performed operations:
Optimization of design solutions has allowed to cut the maintenance costs on energy and heat supply down by 18%.

Level claim:

Certification: residential area AFD “Plaza” (Kazakhstan, Almaty City)

Residential area AFD “Plaza”
Modern residential area; under the certification to BREEAM.

Performed operations:
Optimization of design solutions has allowed to cut the maintenance costs on energy and heat supply down by 29%.

Level claim:

Certification: congress and exhibition centre “EXPOFORUM”

Congress and exhibition centre “EXPOFORUM”
Certification to GREEN ZOOM in 2016.

Performed operations:

Optimization of design solutions has allowed to cut the maintenance costs on energy and heat supply down by 32,8%.

Certification level:
Silver, 47 points.

BIM BEM + CFD = + “engineering quality assurance” of the design

Today BEM and CFD are the most accurate tools to verify operation performance and efficiency of the design as well as to cut maintenance costs.

The experience of “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”)  shows  and guarantee that these modeling technologies allow to work out highly effective engineering solutions that are impossible to be calculated with the traditional design methods.

BEM and CFD-modeling technologies applied in the projects allow to increase the quality and refund and make the modeling more computerized.

On average, modeling technologies have allowed to cut the costs on energy and heating supply down to 20-40% that makes 10-30% of the total maintenance costs of the building.

Thanks to integration of BIM, BEM and CFD-modeling design period of energy model has been dramatically shortened and engineering accuracy of the design has been increased.

BEM and CFD cut down maintenance costs by 10-30%



If you would like to apply BEM and CFD in your design – please contact “Byuro Tekhniky” (“Engineering Bureau”):

Byuro Techniky (Engineering Bureau)
Engineering company
+7 812 777-79-79


If you would like to share your experience of modern technologies application or you are interested in new articles on the topic – mail us (Vysotskiy Consulting):

Vysotskiy consulting
Training and implementation   +7 911 826-98-94
of BIM-technologies