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Seeking Healthy Buildings

Three business people working around a computer in the office

January 30, 2018

It wasn’t that long ago that building design consisted of traditional, two-dimensional technical drawings. Paper blueprints provided clients, contractors and developers with detailed views, design concepts and architectural notes to aid in construction.

The computer, with its associated platforms, has made traditional design almost obsolete, allowing today's architects to not only render complex designs but to incorporate a host of functions-plan, design, construct and operate-too.

However, significant decisions, including the selection of sustainable materials, still involved going outside the program to retrieve and insert product performance information into the file. Now, with the creation of SPOT, and the associated add-in for Revit, a design application for the architectural engineering community, access to over 50,000 green products is only a click away.

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Knowing the environmental or health impact of a product is a necessary requirement for architects seeking LEED or WELL certification for their design. For example, WELL certification touches on everything from lighting and solar shading to flooring and fixtures. Every detail needs to be minutely recorded to demonstrate compliance with the building standard.

“SPOT stands for more of a philosophy than an actual word,” says Mark Rossolo, public affairs director for UL Environment. “It stands for the notion that architects, designers, procurement officials and people looking for products with reduced environmental impacts need a single place of truth to find credible products. And, SPOT provides them with solid data.”

Download at the AutoDesk app store

With the SPOT add-in, Revit users can access the AutoDesk app store to download, activate and use the tool. A ribbon with all the SPOT icons appears when enabled and is incorporated into the project file. As the architect goes through the design process, he or she can select products based on the criteria available within SPOT.

“Say they wanted to add manufacturer specific, sustainable product information to a specific kind of chair within their project, they can now simply search, select and TAG the data to automatically update the selected chair,” says Mike Collins, technology partner for UL Environment.

“SPOT itself is a diverse mix of products like flooring, carpeting, insulation, paints, coatings adhesives,” adds Rossolo. “The database consists of product certifications performed by UL Environment, as well as other data partners we work with,” Rossolo explains. “So, technically, those would all be available through the SPOT app for Revit.”