The most solar-panelled, sustainable material-using, eco-friendly building can still leave an unnecessary environmental footprint. How? By forgetting to design the structure paperless. Engineers love to use paper, and an average residential structural engineer will use at least a ton of it every month.

This translates to millions of wide printing cartridges dumped and tens of millions of trees chopped down – just to do math. So why not use Jarvis or some fancy engineering relative software and help save the environment? Because, for most buildings, doing the math on paper is just more practical than using 3D modeling software, and Jarvis often doesn’t explain the computational process.

The best mathematicians always love solving problems by hand. However, the problem of using paper is not just environmental. Although engineering is not the most communal profession, sharing data still needs to happen. Having all of the work done on paper by hand means an immense amount of data is lost due to the challenge of deciphering another person’s chicken scratch. That’s really not safe when structural engineering is basically what keeps roofs from falling on our heads.

20150515_121825The solution to this daunting problem is remarkably simple. Combine a PDF editor with engineering software. Using this patent pending combination, Jay Shim, an experienced engineer and founder of Fiat-Tech, has developed a paperless, onscreen solution where you can do the math, see the math, and dynamically interact with the architectural blueprint all onscreen. The speed is stunning. A six hour Lateral Design project — which makes the building earthquake and wind safe — can be done in one. The info can then be continuously edited and reshaped with revision sharing becoming as simple as a click of the mouse. All this without the engineer wasting a ton of paper every month.



While the computational transparency and simple 2D interface, reminiscent of Microsoft Word, is old-school enough to be practical, it also brings its users smile-inducing levels of ease and mobility. Since it imports the architectural blueprint into the software, allowing engineering and editing to be done all on-screen, an engineer can travel light with just the software on his or her laptop or tablet. No more need to carry pencils, rulers and rolls of paper onsite. Forensic engineers can do sanity checks onsite and make notes directly onto the building plan. Architects can easily import and export their designs, facilitating communication with contracted engineers. And all of this while going paperless. Who knew going green made structural engineering so much easier?

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