As buildings aim to be smarter and greener, the construction process is digitizing to make this happen.

The demand for green building certifications — and therefore specifications — is rising fast. Sustainability is becoming an urgent goal for building owners and users.

At the same time, the method of delivering these specifications — alongside the volume of information that accompanies every project — is beginning to digitize. This task falls to Building Information Modelling (BIM).

BIM is not just a 3D design of a finished building. It is a data-rich, digital collaboration process. Its goal is to place every product and component within a comprehensive model which has ongoing value through the building’s life-cycle.

A growing urgency for green building

For both new builds and refurbishments, the direction of travel for construction is clear: smarter and greener. Motives for this shift are not hard to fathom. The UN Environment Programme estimates that buildings currently consume around 60% of the world’s electricity1. Addressing this with some urgency is critical to reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change.

The importance of “greening” applies to technologies deployed inside a building, too. This includes security and access control systems. In a survey for ASSA ABLOY’s most recent “Wireless Access Control Report”, 90 percent of industry professionals agreed sustainability would influence their future security commissioning2.

The return on investment (ROI) can be financial as well as ethical. In another recent study, property experts Knight Frank “found a positive and significant effect of Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding BREEAM ratings on prime central London office rents – ranging from 3.7% to 12.3% premiums.”3

And the benefits of greener buildings are not just about the asset value: They are more energy efficient, which reduces a growing and unpredictable running cost for businesses. They also promote healthier and more productive workforce and are future-proofed against the risks of future regulatory changes, according to the World Green Building Council4.

The value of BIM to green building projects

BIM makes the process of building design more intelligent and adaptive. In the relatively new field of green building, the transparency and knowledge-sharing that BIM brings is invaluable.

“ASSA ABLOY has local BIM and specification consultants based all over the world,” says Marc Ameryckx, BIM Manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA. “They can enhance any project team with specialist knowledge about door solutions and technologies; regional regulations and certifications around the door; and much more.”

This is especially valuable for security specification, which is often complex and can eat into design time. With detailed specifications supplied digitally at an early stage, architects can render door and security solutions accurately as soon as possible. This way, aesthetics and usability are not disrupted by last-minute details.

The value of BIM extends through a building’s life-cycle. The digital model — end-point of a successful process — becomes a centralized store for up-to-date information on specifications. This final resource can inform site audits, health and safety policy, maintenance schedules, refurbishment projects and more.

A range of support for green building certification

“Globally, ASSA ABLOY has expertise and experience in supporting green building projects,” explains Leandro Peraro, Sustainability Manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA. “As well as local support through the specification and BIM process, we have created a number of resources to support a submission to the most important global green building certification schemes.”

Detailed contribution sheets for six leading green certification schemes are available to download: BREEAM, LEED, Green Star, WELL, DGNB and HQE5. Each sheet identifies the contribution of multiple ASSA ABLOY products and technologies towards criteria or credits in each scheme. They cover electronic access control solutions; doors and door closers; mechanical and electromechanical locking systems; and accessories including handles, panic devices and drop seals.

“ASSA ABLOY is also an official partner in the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network,” Leandro adds. “This enables us to advocate for the transformation of buildings and the construction sector — and to help communicate the benefits of greener building.”

One project: energy savings with a wireless solution

As home of the renowned St Andrews Prize for the Environment, the University of St Andrews has sustainability at its heart. For student accommodation, managers sought an energy-efficient access solution which respected and reflected these principles.

Their new Aperio wireless access control devices integrate fully with both the university’s existing security system and their student ID card. Facility managers enjoy the efficiency benefits of controlling access from a single point, and in real time, for multiple buildings.

In comparison to a wired access control solution, Aperio devices offer significant energy efficiency benefits. Escutcheons are wireless, so can be installed with little energy use and no need for cabling to the mains. They consume no energy when idle and their standard batteries even consume minimal power during operation. Maintenance under typical use demands nothing more than a battery change every two years.

“Aperio gives us central access management and control, and contributes to our award-winning track record in energy efficiency,” says Pauline Brown at the University of St Andrews6.

“Here and elsewhere, a wireless access control solution can be an important part of the picture as we try to create buildings and businesses which meet the needs of a more sustainable future,” adds Leandro.

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Specification and BIM consultants can support green building certification submissions. To download contribution sheets for 6 important schemes, please visit: