Our Planet is on Fire! Is Built Environment Pleading Guilty?

The Built Environment is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for nearly 40% of global CO2 emissions.

February 2, 2022
Team Hloov

The recent IPCC report outlines a dire warning, if we don’t make drastic changes in our emissions soon, Earth’s temperature will reach 1-to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100,making it catastrophically dangerous to life on Earth!

The Built Environment is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for nearly 40% of global CO2emissions. Of these total emissions, buildings’ operations contribute 28%, and the other 11% comes from building materials and construction (typically referred to as embodied carbon).

With these astounding numbers, is the built environment pleading guilty for climate change?

To further add to the problem, a recent study from Transparency Market Research projected that global construction waste will reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025. With growing populations, the scale of construction projects is constantly increasing; this trend will only continue with time, with more buildings being erected than ever before, clogging up our planet’s resources in the process!

“Landfills are already piled high with materials that have outlived their usefulness. As the world’s population reaches 9 billion by 2050, the challenge of minimizing waste will be come greater.” – Suhail Arfath

Clearly, the sector is not known for making well-informed decisions, typically attributed to data silos and proprietary data formats resulting in useless data or limited access to stakeholders for better decision-making. The cost of this loss of data can be astounding; according to a report from IBM, the US economy lost $3 trillion due to in accurate or dysfunctional information systems — 16% of America’s total GDP at that time!

One thing is certain: minimizing waste and achieve the ambitious emission reduction targets will require ground breaking changes in every aspect of the built environment. There is no simple solution to cut emissions while keeping business as usual. So it requires us all -designers, architects, engineers, facility managers, developers, owners, and other built environment stakeholders – to work together and make better informed data-led decisions!

In order to make better-informed decisions, data needs to be democratized and made accessible. The Digital Twins are a great way of bringing together different sources and presenting them in an easy-to-understand format that can help us all work with more clarity on our sector’s most pressing issues.

A digital twin is a virtual representation of real-world entities and processes, synchronized at a specified frequency and fidelity. With the Digital Twins, it is now possible to break down these silos, enable more transparency and better decision-making for all stakeholders in the built environment value chain.

The end goal of digital twins is to allow data-led decisions to place us on the right track towards a sustainable future. Then, it’s up to us to make a difference and help build a better world. – Suhail Arfath

Digital Twins integrate data from multiple sources to create a model that self-reflects how physical assets behave in the real world; it enables digital coordination among stakeholders throughout the building lifecycle for better decision-making to minimize waste and reduce carbon footprint.

In conclusion, the built environment is an important player in fighting climate change, and it is vital to reduce our industry’s emissions dramatically. Digital Twins can help break down the silos and make data accessible, which ultimately help make better-informed decisions; the key to minimizing waste of resources in the built environment and building the sustainable future we all want.

Built Environment