New Revit extension introduces comprehensive BIM workflow for electrical engineers and designers

Avatar Steven Butler March 17, 2023

4 min read

[By Steve Butler, Autodesk and Daniel Stonecipher, Schneider Electric]

Advanced Electrical Design™ for Autodesk® Revit® from Schneider Electric and Autodesk is a BIM tool for a complete electrical design workflow.

An electrical design extension for Revit, created by BIM Electric —a subsidiary of Schneider Electric as a result of a strategic partnership with Autodesk — recognizes the increasingly prominent role of electrical engineers in building design.

Building systems designs are typically performed using traditional methods, often using ‘rule-of-thumb’ approaches that are subject to additional margins or safety factors to make allowances for errors.

With BIM and Schneider’s Advanced Electrical Design for Autodesk Revit solution, electrical systems can now be more accurately and confidently designed.

It helps electrical engineers play a leading role in designing high performance buildings with sustainability and efficiency in mind.

A new energy landscape for electrical engineers

With the built environment accounting for 40% of the annual CO2 emissions, it’s imperative to turn ambitions into action when it comes to energy efficiency, accuracy, and sustainability, which requires new ways of thinking and new digital tools to support, according to Daniel Stonecipher, VP, Chief Product Officer eCAD at Schneider Electric.

“Decarbonization is the new business imperative. But it’s also the new business opportunity,” says Stonecipher. “Together through this strategic partnership with Autodesk we are combining our respective areas of expertise to make lasting impacts for electrical design, our customers, and generations to come.”

The Advanced Electrical Design extension for Revit lets electrical engineers use building information modeling (BIM) to work closely with other professionals during the early stages of the process, which is critical to designing for sustainability.

It recognizes the fundamental shift in both the new energy landscape and the way high performance buildings are designed.

Amp up efficiency with BIM

With the Advanced Electrical Design extension, engineers can plan, analyze, optimize and document electrical designs all in one place.

Over the past few years, a growing number of architects and building designers have started using BIM, but “engineers and in particular electrical engineers have been slow to adopt. This has been primarily due to the lack of support for regional codes and design practices,” says Steve Butler, Senior Industry Strategy Manager for MEP at Autodesk.

“But given that their roles are evolving when it comes to building design, it makes sense for electrical engineers to be part of the BIM process, especially as we see the rise of smart energy solutions. The role of the electrical engineer is going to become increasingly more important, and digitization will enable this,” Butler says.

Electrical engineers can improve the efficiency of their projects with BIM capabilities.

For example, Advanced Electrical Design for Autodesk Revit introduces a new type of diagram for electrical engineers to conceptualize designs. With the Key Line diagrams, they can lay out the power sources, equipment and loads using a drag-and-drop diagram with high-level calculations.

It helps to see the bigger picture of the design during initial project planning, “with a focus on designing for sustainability, reducing oversizing and reducing carbon emissions using Advanced Electrical Design to model what-if scenarios, including distributed energy resources to optimize designs,” Stonecipher says. “It allows you to help your customers understand and predict the financial implications and energy savings of a more sustainable design.”

Autodesk has had systems in place for electrical engineers for many years, but the new extension allows electrical engineers to automate their designs to regional codes and standards.

Partnership boosts critical role in sustainable design for electrical engineers and designers

This strategic partnership combines the technology and expertise of Schneider Electric as an electrical manufacturer for over a century with Autodesk’s expertise in building design software.

As a result, BIM Electric helps pave the way for intelligent and advanced code-based electrical distribution design and analysis for the new energy landscape.

“Electrical systems are often the biggest consumers of energy in a building, but too often electrical consultants and energy assessments are not involved at the beginning of projects,” Stonecipher says. “Traditionally, when you’re looking at high-performance building design and sustainability, the people designing based on LEED or other green building criteria are the architect, mechanical engineer, and sometimes a commissioning agent who is focused on the performance of systems. By prioritizing energy insights at the beginning of projects, stakeholders can better understand the downstream effects of how these buildings will be operating.”

Advanced Electrical Design gets early positive feedback

During their early adopter program, Schneider has received high praise for the extension: “There’s a tremendous amount of positive feedback having the engineer and the designer be on the same BIM platform,” Stonecipher says.

April Kane, an electrical designer from the firm Gresham Smith, shared how she and her team re-engineered the electrical schematics of projects and related conceptual design workflow.

“As an electrical designer, I’m always identifying opportunities that will improve electrical workflows and leverage my time across all phases of a project,” Kane says. “I’m proud to be meaningfully involved in the early stages and creation of the Advanced Electrical Design software for Autodesk Revit, as it’s already filling gaps in my day-to-day workflow and will be impactful to others in the industry.”

Learn more about the strategic alliance between Autodesk and Schneider Electric.

About the authors:

Daniel Stonecipher is VP, eCAD Chief Product Officer at Schneider Electric

Daniel Stonecipher oversees the portfolio product and platform vision, growth, development, management, and strategy at Schneider Electric. Daniel is a technology and process development professional with over 30 years of experience in the AEC+O industry, providing breakthrough technology solutions, to leading AEC firms and Owners globally. Daniel provides industry thought leadership presenting nationally several times a year and is an active Board Member of the IFMA Information Technology Community currently serving as the BIM/GIS Chair and is the Immediate Past President, and currently also serves on the Geo Week Advisory Board and Building Smart International “FM and openBIM”

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Electrical Design Revit MEP

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