Construction industry must evolve to curb emissions

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WITH the construction sector contributing 38% of all energy-related CO2 emissions, research calls for integrated technology and Digital Twins if sustainable infrastructure is to become a reality.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Program found the construction sector is failing to reduce its emissions, curb climate change and play its part in the sustainability goals set out in the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Construction is falling behind other sectors that have managed to implement technological changes and refinements to processes, such as manufacturing, healthcare and the technology sector.

In the US, buildings contribute 40-70% of all CO2 emissions in cities, due to poor insulation and energy efficiency in older buildings, with 50% of all US buildings constructed between 1960 and 1999 and 21% being erected before 1960.

“To achieve transformational change in our industry, design, technology, and construction must be fully integrated. The industry must go further in embracing digital, advanced materials and new technologies,” said Paul Dunn, director of global architecture company, CallisonRTKL.

Additionally, 90% of all infrastructure projects globally were reported, by the Saïd Business at Oxforf University, as being late or over-budget. These longer construction times lead to preventable high emissions and are often driven by errors due to a lack of data.

“Technology and manufacturing will help evolve our buildings as products. We are living at a time when flawless quality is truly viable when digital models and simulations with real-world building data create endless possibilities for monitoring, machine learning, and human-centered design. We must secure integrated whole-building design from inception to afterlife,” said Dunn.

Digital Twins are collections of data, which represent a physical object. In the construction industry, Digital Twins could enable to use of more advanced 3D models that are connected to AI-driven analytics.

These analytics would better measure, predict and mitigate a building’s emissions output and allow planners and builders to better the efficiency of the construction process, reducing hours, costs and importantly, emissions.

Estimates from a Market’s and Market’s report show the Digital Twin market as growing from $3.1 billion in 2020 to $48.2 billion per year by 2026, for a compound annual growth rate of 58%.

“Objective and credible data has always been needed to make decisions on property portfolios and inform investment decisions. But agile, scalable, and dynamic workplaces are needed now more than ever. Digital Twins support these requirements by providing the data and visualizations needed to make more rapid and flexible decisions,” said Jim Whittaker, engineering services lead at JLL.

The property industry is already taking strides towards a more sustainable future, with recent moves including Schnieder electric signing on to 1000 La Trobe Street deliver a sustainably smart building, ISPT’s industry first achievement of carbon neutral certification and CEFC’s $75 million funding of Ingenia sustainability initiatives.

“With the impact of Climate Change looming, it is time to utilize Digital Twins within construction, modernize the industry and reduce emissions output,” said Michael Jansen, CEO of a leading Digital Twin providers, Cityzenith.

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