BIM - A driver for cost reduction within the BIPV industry

Alamy, Philippe and Saretta, Erika and Bonomo, Pierluigi and Adami, Jennifer and Pierret, Stefan and Valencia, Daniel and Alonso, Pablo (2020) BIM - A driver for cost reduction within the BIPV industry. In: EUPVSEC 2020.

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Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology has the potential to significantly contribute to the achievement of the demanding energy efficiency targets set by the EU. However, its market uptake has been hindered in the past years by the difficulties of the industry in providing holistic solutions complying with key demands from decision makers and end-users. This market deployment depends critically on the achievement of ambitious targets in terms of significant cost reduction, flexibility of design, high performance, reliability in the long-term, aesthetics, standardization, and compliance with legal regulations. Within this context, BIPV stakeholders currently dealing with design, manufacturing and installation, invest significant amount of resources and time (with an impact on the final cost) to translate potential clients’ requests and wishes into a BIPV project proposal with a technical layout, economic offer and feasibility analysis for energy production and installation (efficiency-performance, cost, building skin integration, compliance with regulations, etc.). An integrated and collaborative digital process where information is defined, stored and shared between stakeholders through a digital model and an integrated platform, would reduce efforts, time, repetitive work, risk of mistakes, information losses, etc., transforming an almost “manual” and fragmented work into an interoperable workflow along the value chain. Overcoming these challenges to support cost reduction of BIPV can be achieved by the implementation of BIM (Building information modelling/management) from the construction sector into the BIPV value-chain, in order to introduce a digital and integrated process, supported by methodologies and platforms, ensuring clear structures, efficient processes, less time, lower costs and higher quality across the entire lifecycle. In this purpose, the European H2020 project BIPVBOOST (, identified the need for a transfer of a BIM-based digital approach from the construction sector to the whole BIPV process, thus achieving a substantial reduction of the cost along the value chain (from design to installation). The overall ambition of this study is to highlight BIM activities developed within BIPVBOOST, providing clear definition of the reference BIPV process, including its information categories and KPIs for cost-reduction and developing, from the early design phase, the use of BIM-based software tools for the simulation of PV together with the building energy performance.

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