History & Philosophy

In the GREENbimlabs project, researchers at the chair for Construction Planning and Realisation of RWTH Aachen are developing a concept for ecological change in the construction industry. The international and interdisciplinary team develops experimental software products that make it possible to evaluate the recyclability of building materials in all phases of the building life cycle ecologically and economically. The simulations and optimizations make use of the object-based 3D modeling with innovative Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology that is becoming increasingly established in the construction industry. Hence the name "GREENbimlabs", the laboratory for developing sustainable BIM software products.

The software products are aimed at planners, manufacturers, construction companies, authorities, building owners and building operators who recycle valuable raw materials and at the same time want to increase the long-term profitability of construction projects. Users can use the software to perform automated evaluations and optimizations on their BIM model. The simulations running in the background compute the reusability, recyclability, waste generation and the resulting maintenance and life cycle costs of the materials and construction products used.

The idea for GREENbimlabs and the use of digital technologies to closed material cycles is based on research works at TU Vienna, ETH Zurich and RWTH Aachen, where solutions were developed focused on the synergy of the major trends sustainability and digitisation and their increased importance into the building sector. GREENbimlabs starts at the intersection of these megatrends. "The application of methods for digital building modelling such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) for sustainable building is still in its infancy," says project manager Stanimira Markova, "in contrast to energy efficiency or the ecological footprint, the recyclability of materials in particular is still completely neglected in practice."

Stanimira Markova and her team of engineers, computer scientists and business economists, supported by renowned professors and companies, have received start-up funding in 2016 through the prestigious EXIST research transfer programme of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and the EU for the research projects. The exclusive programme is for particularly innovative, demanding start-up projects that involve high-risk development work. In 2018 GREENbimlabs GmbH will be spinned off RWTH Aachen University from EXIST Research Transfer Program.