In principle, BIM ought to allow architects to evaluate the life-cycle impact of materials during the design and planning process – a laborious process if carried out manually. But models do not always contain sufficient levels of detail on materials at the design stage.
The Tally app for Autodesk Revit was developed by KT Innovations, a division of leading US architectural practice KieranTimberlake. The firm is currently making its UK debut with the design for the new US embassy in London, under construction in the Vauxhall/Nine Elms area.
It partnered with sustainability software consultancy PE International, which owns a database of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), and Autodesk.
Last year, Tally was released as a plug-in for Revit, allowing users to extend BIM’s take-off capabilities to create a bill of materials and gather insight into the carbon and environmental trade-offs of different design scenarios.
While the app is currently based on LCA data specific to environmental conditions in the US and Canada – and is aligned with eight life-cycle impact categories in the LEED building assessment system – PE International is designing additional Tally LCA databases to increase the accuracy of regional LCA data.
This means that a UK specific dataset may be a possibility in the future, although the app’s creators say Tally already has users in Europe.
Roderick Bates, associate and senior researcher at KieranTimberlake, told BIM+: “[Tally allows you to] quickly and easily conduct iterative and highly accurate life-cycle assessments on any scale, from component to whole building, as an integrated component of the BIM design workflow.
“We conceived the initial concept for Tally after experiencing an incredibly laborious process while conducting a longhand whole building LCA as part of a submission for the United States EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] Design for Disassembly competition in 2008, which included an analysis of embodied carbon and energy in a single family residence.
Tally is aligned with eight life-cycle impact categories in the LEED building assessment system
“The idea eventually evolved into Tally. After exploring multiple LCA databases, KieranTimberlake selected PE International as a LCA data development and collaboration partner.”
In the US Tally has been well received with strong uptake among the professional, research, and academic communities, says Heather Gadonniex of sustainability software consultancy, PE International: “Currently we are seeing the strongest commercial growth among leading-edge sustainable design firms, which is as one would expect.
“We are also seeing strong demand from manufacturers wanting to include product specific EPD data into the Tally LCA database.
“Also, the incredible level of use among college and university students around the country and globe absolutely point towards a long-term trend in which conducting life-cycle assessments as an integrated part of the architectural design process is the norm.”
As Tally was designed to be fully integrated into Revit it would be possible to fold the app into Revit, although at present there are no plans to do this. Gadonniex explains: “The level of integration does make folding Tally into Revit as an integral component easy to accomplish, however, what constitutes the Revit product offering is fully at the discretion of Autodesk.”
The current version of Tally is North American focused as the app makes calculations based on conditions in the US. However, Gadonniex says it is being used outside of the US. “Depending on a project goal and scope, Tally can be applied with success for buildings globally and we have users all over the world, from Asia, to the Middle East, Europe, and South America.”
[Tally allows you to] quickly and easily conduct iterative and highly accurate life-cycle assessments on any scale, from component to whole building, as an integrated component of the BIM design workflow.– Roderick Bates, associate and senior researcher, KieranTimberlake