A new study shows the growth of the green building movement in the United States is quickly propelling the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) software.

The report, “Green BIM: How Building Information Modeling is Contributing to Green Design and Construction,” was produced by McGraw-Hill Construction in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Electrical Contractors Association, Autodesk, and 13 other industry organizations. The report provides new insights on the convergence of two important construction industry trends: green building and BIM, now being called “green BIM.”

Green BIM is the process of generating and managing building data during construction and throughout a building’s life cycle. Typically, it uses 3-D, real-time modeling software to increase productivity in building design and in the specification of materials and construction techniques. This process encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information and the quantities and properties of building components such as structural integrity and R-values.

“Green building is already transforming design and construction in the United States, and BIM has the potential to increase innovation and design and construction efficiency,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of global thought leadership and business development at McGraw-Hill Construction. “Therefore, the intersection of BIM tool use with sustainability goals is a powerful practice that can be truly transformative in increasing industry productivity.”

Many industry experts agree that they are just beginning to tap the full potential of BIM to achieve their green objectives. Only 17 percent of green BIM practitioners are currently realizing more than 50 percent of BIM’s potential for their green goals, but a sharp increase in green BIM use is expected in the near future.

The use of green BIM is also being spurred by real estate investors and developers that want building durability coupled with high-energy efficiency to ensure investment as well as offer low energy costs and sustainability benefits to prospective tenants.

The report revealed the share of activity where BIM is being applied to help achieve sustainability goal is nascent and beginning to emerge. The outlook for the future of green BIM is optimistic. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents who are not using BIM on green building projects expect to do so within three years.