BIM to BEM: “Mission Impossible” or “Pursuit of Happiness”? – IBPSA-USA Research Committee

Date of Recording:
Long Description

This webinar is primarily targeted to individuals who regularly create building energy models (BEM) from building information models (BIM). You may be a consultant, internally or externally, to an architectural team and are asked to convert BIM models to BEM with regular update intervals concurrent with key project deliverables. This webinar walks you through common issues faced when translating geometry from BIM to BEM. Subsequently, the presenters offer a few workarounds based on their experience and workflows that “alleviate” the pain of creating “clean” BEM geometry from BIM. The key in this arena is accuracy and speed by which one can bring the 3D representation of a building into the energy modeling world, analyze/visualize the results while maintaining the continuity of analysis as project progresses and/or shift platforms as needed.

The purpose of this webinar is also coalition building around many commonly known geometry translation issues. The presenter’s perspectives are by no means all-exhaustive, they hope to solicit interested individuals to form a knowledge-sharing forum that convenes online on a regular basis (monthly or quarterly) to discuss best practices in dealing with BIM to BEM issues and move the industry forward as a whole.

Learning objectives:

  • Describe three common issues with translating BIM to BEM geometry
  • Get familiar with a few workarounds for better BEM quality translation from BIM
  • Compare three BEM software from the gbxml import quality standpoint
  • Identify how an energy modeler can influence the BIM model generation from beginning for better BEM

Event Sponsored By:


Amir Rezaei-Bazkiaei is an engineer, a PhD and a self-proclaimed energy data geek. As a High Performance Building Analyst at CannonDesign, Amir is continually pushing the boundary of performance modeling and analytics to support the design of high performance buildings. Specifically, Amir is advancing parametric modeling, optimization and data visualization workflows to enhance building design decisions during early design. Amir develops robust solution spaces that allow design teams and building owners to explore the energy/comfort implications of thousands of unique combinations of building design attributes.

Amir’s numerical simulation approach is complemented by his creative and collaborative approach to team integration. He is known for bringing design ideas to the table as well as simplifying the technical performance data of projects into actionable information for project stakeholders. His professional goal is help integrate advanced analysis methods within the building design process that would accelerate the adoption of net-zero and positive-energy design concepts.

Colin Hale is a mechanical engineer at CannonDesign. Colin also serves as the sustainability leader for CannonDesign’s St. Louis office, executing and supervising sustainability efforts including building performance analysis, energy modeling, life cycle cost analysis, and 3rd party sustainability certification for campus-wide and singular building projects.

BEM, BIM, building energy modeling, Building Information Modeling, translating BIM to BEM