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Carbon calculations and continuous updates in Tekla Structural Designer


The Embodied Carbon Calculator was released in 2021


We spoke to Trimble product manager David Sanderson about calculating embodied carbon in Tekla Structural Designer, and how the software continues to be enhanced with useful new features.

Trimble recently announced a collaboration with One Click LCA to enable users of Tekla software to calculate reportable carbon emissions at different phases of a project. While this is a significant development, the ability to calculate embodied carbon has been part of Tekla Structural Designer for some time, right?

Yes, that’s absolutely correct! Our existing carbon calculator tool within Tekla Structural Designer helps in understanding and optimizing the impact of different structural alternatives in the early-stage design phase. 

Now we’ve also added a link to One Click LCA that can be used at the end of the initial design phase to perform a complete carbon life cycle assessment. Having this ability in the design phase is key in lowering the lifecycle impact of a building.


Embodied carbon for piles


Furthermore, we’ve been introducing new functionality to the carbon calculator tool with each service pack update. For example, we recently added the capability to calculate embodied carbon for piles, including both pile caps and piled foundation mats. Another area that has improved is the reporting and grouping of the embodied-carbon results. These can now also be grouped by level and construction type


grouping of embodied carbon


In terms of improving interoperability, we added a function for exporting all embodied-carbon calculation results into external BIM applications such as Tekla Structures and Revit. In addition to these bespoke exports, the general IFC export now also includes the embodied-carbon values so that they can, for instance, be viewed as properties on collaboration platforms like Trimble Connect.”

Early-Stage Design Embodied Carbon Calculator in Tekla Structural Designer 2021: The new Carbon Calculator within Tekla Structural Designer equips engineers with insight into the embodied carbon in their scheme at the early stage of design. As the construction industry places more scrutiny on the carbon impact of a building, utilizing Tekla Structural Designer’s Embodied Carbon Calculator will make assessments quick and simple, so that different scheme options can be compared and embodied carbon can be broken down by structural material, member type, slab, etc.

The engineer can view where the most carbon embodied in the structure is by using the new “review” features for enhanced design utilization insight. The progress of refinements introduced to drive down the carbon impact can be tracked and reported.


What else have you developed recently in Tekla Structural Designer?

“I would first mention a new option for automated minimum lateral loads (MLL).

Minimun lateral loads in Tekla Structural Designer


This is a new functionality that automatically applies these loads as demanded in various building codes. In some Design Codes, MLL will be a minimum wind load case, in others it’s a robustness check. We have created default settings according to your head design code, but naturally, you will be able to adjust the load cases where needed.

We’ve also improved steel beam design with enhanced camber design settings and the ability to review enhancements. The settings and processes for camber have been updated to give you greater flexibility and make the workflow more intuitive.

There’s also an improved steel column base plate design for the USA region, and an improvement for checking wind drift.”


Today, already three service packs have been released for Tekla Structural Designer 2021 – what are the benefits to our customers of this continuous software update approach?

“The biggest benefit is that customers who use the software every day can start taking advantage of the latest features immediately, without having to wait until the next main version of the software is published.

For us at Trimble, the benefit is that we can start gathering feedback on new features sooner and enhance them where we see the need to do so. We typically introduce two or three new features in each service pack, and we are already working on the next one. Stay tuned!”

Check out the Release notes for more details on the recent development.