How is Virtual Twin Technology Reshaping Sustainable Building Design?

Discover the 3 key areas to consider for a sustainable building design roadmap for commercial and residential projects.

With commercial and residential buildings accounting for around 50 per cent of global emissions, 40 per cent of global energy demand, and a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it is essential that the construction industry becomes more efficient and circular with sustainable building design, mirroring the natural world.

If we look back, the scientific revolution made it possible to reproduce drawings as blueprints; the industrial revolution introduced the assembly line for mass-producing prefabricated materials and the digital revolution provided 3D CAD, cloud-based collaboration, and more. Critical to the future is the widespread sourcing, adoption and traceability of less carbon and energy-intensive materials.

Lifecycle assessments and project alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement and adopting sustainable materials and low carbon transition will soon be essential to get a permit and help anticipate long-term operations and maintenance performance.

With technology such as virtual twins now readily available, this transition is becoming second nature for the construction industry. In this article, we will explore the areas you need to consider when planning your sustainability roadmap, as well as how virtual twin technology can reshape Building Planning for a Sustainable Future and support you with your sustainability requirements and goals.

How is Virtual Twin Technology Reshaping Building Planning for Sustainable Building Design

How is Virtual Twin Technology Reshaping Building Planning for Sustainable Building Design

3 Key Areas to Consider with Sustainable Building Design

1. Sustainable Materials

In an age where consumers are focused on ensuring the products they purchase and the companies they engage with are making sustainability a priority, it is critical to ensure that as designers you consider using materials that are sustainable as well as considering the sustainability of the life cycle of your products.

A good example of introducing more sustainable materials into your buildings is to consider replacing concrete or steel with massive timber. Countries such as Norway are leading the way with their new innovations. The new North Pier at Oslo Airport Gardermoen is a good example of the innovative use of materials. The roof is made of wood, and the rest of the building is primarily of recycled materials, climate-friendly insulation and concrete in which a share of the cement was replaced with reused waste.

2. Changing Consumer Behaviours

It is also important to consider that consumer behaviours are shifting. People are now not only more environmentally conscious, but they are also concerned about the affordability of products.

It is therefore essential that you ensure that as well as offering a product that aligns with environmental concerns, you also need to be thinking about the best offering you can make that is in line with consumer concerns regarding costs

3.Circular Economy

In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste from being produced in the first place. Therefore, by looking to implement a circular economy in your own sector, you could reduce your climate disruption and in turn appeal to a larger customer base.

A circular economy can be achieved by following several simple rules.  

  • Ensuring that products are made using regenerative materials and modular design techniques will allow you to make longer-lasting items that are easier to disassemble and repair
  • Reuse and repair products so their life cycles can be extended, and they can remain in their original use for as long as possible Recycling
  • Recycle where you can, allowing your products to be easily separated into component parts and materials, enabling use in new products and displacing the use of virgin raw materials
  • Ensure that the manufacturing of your products is done with circular economy principles built in at design
  • Extend the lifetime of your products at the end of their ‘first life’ by repurposing them or enabling other, subsequent uses
  • Oversee the full lifespan of your products to create a truly stable business model, with a steady income

In order to improve your sustainability roadmap, you need to be aware of the challenges both you and your customer base are facing. This is where virtual twin technology can help.

What are Virtual Twins?

Virtual twins are real-time, virtual representations of a product, platform or even an ecosystem as complex as a city.

By eliminating the need for physical prototypes, virtual twins can help you reduce time to market and, by enabling collaboration and rapid design iteration in the virtual world, they can also reduce the risk associated with complex projects and improve regulatory compliance.

Virtual twins provide safe testing environments for radically disruptive green and circular innovation. By modelling entire value chains, virtual twins can improve the sustainability of products and services across the lifecycle, cradle to cradle: from designing for reuse to minimizing material use during manufacturing to estimating carbon emissions to modelling reverse logistics for circular economy systems.

What are the benefits of Virtual Twins for Construction?

Designed to help the industry cope with increased operational and regulatory challenges, virtual twins favour a systemic, circular, and modular approach that is lifecycle-focused and asset-driven.

In this era, construction virtualization is a reality where different scenarios can be simulated to enhance the smallest field execution details. With a focus on waste reduction and energy efficiency, virtual twins can help you ensure compliance with extensive sustainability regulations, deeper continuity throughout each construction phase and scaled-up sustainable innovation at every step.

How is Virtual Twin Technology Reshaping Building Planning for a Sustainable Future?

  • Visualization, simulation, and innovation: The virtual twin accelerates the transition from a paper-heavy industry to a digital design and process industry, where digital prototyping becomes possible. This redefines how you communicate with your stakeholders, creating the emotional connection consumers need as they visualise their future.
  • Fast-tracking the shift towards data-driven decision-making: With the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, data from multiple stakeholders can be accessed, aggregated, and analysed to ensure everyone has access to the same data and in turn accelerate the decision-making pace, lower the likelihood of rework on design and boost overall productivity.
  • Paving the way:for a systemic, less siloed approach for all stakeholders to collaborate around a common referential to simulate the evolution of buildings. With virtual twin technology, you can build virtually before they build physically, thereby reducing risk, waste, and enhancing safety and sustainability
Get in touch to find out more

It is clear that virtual twin technology can offer a range of solutions to the challenges faced by those concerned with sustainable building design.

Get in touch today to find out more about how virtual twin capabilities and our 3DEXPERIENCE platform can help transform your business and practices.

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