That phrase used to mean something. Now there is a software application for every possible human activity available on every existing device. Apps are supposed to save users time, but searching for the right ones can take more time than it may be worth. The sustainable A/E/C industry stands to benefit from software applications that are directed at productivity and data management, but the ever-expanding volume of apps is not easy to navigate by specific need. Here is a sampling of the latest releases, based on user and expert reviews (click through the slideshow).
1. GSA SUSTAINABLE FACILITIES TOOL
In July, the U.S. General Services Administration released the second version of its free GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool (SFTool). The new version expands on the documented success of the SFTool technology platform to present new content including whole-building systems, integrative design, and life-cycle approaches. Enhanced search, an updated interface, and new interactive user guides make it even easier for agencies to adopt SFTool as a project and training resource.
2. 123 ZERO BUILD
123 Zero Build is a free tool for calculating the performance of a market-ready carbon-neutral office-building design. The calculations are based on Net Zero Co2urt, a very low-energy, market-rate, Class A office building in St. Louis, designed by HOK with the Weidt Group. The Net Zero Co2urt design is 73 percent more energy-efficient than an ASHRAE 90.1-2004 benchmark office building and features use of photovoltaic panels, daylighting, and solar hot water to achieve zero-emissions status. This application estimates the discounted payback for constructing a zero-emissions office building in any U.S. location. The payback calculations include estimated first costs for a highly energy-efficient building, photovoltaic costs, discount rates, and user-specified fuel-escalation rates.
3. LEED MOBILE APPLICATIONS
Green Education Services' LEED Mobile Applications purports to be the most convenient way to study for the LEED exams. GreenEDU now offers a digital version of its printed flashcards for LEED AP BD+C (365 flashcards, $14.99) and LEED Green Associate (352 flashcards, $8.99). Available for the iPhone and Android.