NASA Tests Autodesk’s Building Performance Monitoring Platform

NASA’s Ames Sustainability Base, a 50,000 sq. foot masterpiece of conscious design, recently announced a unique partnership with Autodesk. Together, the two entities will develop and test new a technology that can monitor and optimize the operational life-cycle of high performance buildings in real time.

Autodesk’s Project Dasher is an experimental Building Information Modeling (BIM) based platform that can continuously evaluate and verify building performance as energy usage, occupants, and function context fluctuates within it. NASA is no stranger to testing out futuristic technologies, and the Ames Sustainability Base was designed in-part using Autodesk software for BIM, making it the perfect living laboratory for implementation.

NASA, Ames Sustainability Base, BIM, building performance monitoring, energy management,

Image via William McDonough and Partners/NASA

In case you’re hearing about it for the first time, Ames is a state of the art green facility. Besides earning LEED Platinum, on-site power generation from photovoltaics and a solid oxide fuel cell provide more electricity than the facility requires and contribute excess capacity to the NASA Ames local grid.  Sustainability Base also uses landscape design solutions, remediated ground water, and water reclaimed using NASA technology designed to reduce its potable water footprint by 90 percent when compared to a traditional building of comparable size.

Most modern buildings have sophisticated control systems that allow building operators to monitor information about temperature and energy consumption. However, few if any of these systems allow for real time synthesis of the data so that occupant comfort and energy conservation can coexist.


Project Dasher acts as a visualization hub where collected data from various sources is intuitively aggregated and presented in 3D to enhance the building operator’s ability to infer more complex causal relationship pertaining to building performance and overall operational requirements.

“Our collaboration with NASA Ames is offering a unique opportunity for Autodesk to develop, augment, test, and validate the use of BIM as a process for building lifecycle management,” said Jeff Kowalski, Autodesk chief technology officer.  “Through this cooperation, we are actively improving and modifying the Project Dasher technology so in the future, facility owners and operators will be able to take a more integrative approach to maintaining the complex balance between energy-saving measures and occupant comfort.”

Learn more in the video below.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

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