The following article is excerpted from How Virtual Twin Drive More Sustainable High-Performance Buildings: The 4 Perspectives drives sustainability in the construction industry, a whitepaper developed by Dassault Systèmes. To read more about virtual twin in construction industry, download the full whitepaper here.
The construction industry is central to the world’s sustainability ambitions because it:
- Accounts for 13% of GDP, close to US$8 trillion, 7% of the world’s working population and 25-30% of all waste generated in the EU. The industry impacts the world’s sustainability agenda as it rethinks sustainability practices: more energy performance optimization, decarbonization, new bio-sourced materials and waste management practices;
- Is a key source of demand for materials and resources, creating significant environmental and energy resource strain and, consequently, a need for more efficient use of resources;
- Increases the spatial concentration of people and businesses, driving demand and supply challenges for urban systems such as water, energy and waste networks. This accelerates the need for affordable housing and safe infrastructure. But it also has potential upsides, making at-scale deployment of sustainable solutions much easier for new builds and retrofitting existing buildings;
- Lags behind other industries in digitization and productivity growth for the past two decades because each project has bespoke requirements combined with standard components that limit repeatability and standardization. By rethinking traditional models and adopting a systems approach, embracing new materials and leveraging cloud and virtual twin technology, companies can achieve rapid innovations and offset the persistent cost and margin pressure;
- Experiences major disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic from digitization, shortages in raw materials and substantial price increases in steel, timber and corrugated cardboard for packaging. For example, the wholesale price of a hot-rolled coil is 40% higher in 2021 than in July 2020. All of this adds to the margin pressure on building projects.
At the same time, public policymakers across the world are gearing up to renew economies. Extensive fiscal tools and green infrastructure spending in Europe and the U.S. provide opportunities for the construction industry to integrate shifts in market dynamics and drive competitiveness, energy efficiency and performance while adapting to new operating restrictions.
In the new norm today, the traditional linear take-make-dispose construction model is no longer relevant. The industry is preparing for a new model of how global buildings are planned, designed, built, renovated, operated, maintained, dismantled and disposed of.
The new model integrates the circular economy, namely waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems. It can then extract greater value and efficiency and transform the industry’s multiscale, fragmented ecosystems.
, a Dassault Systèmes whitepaper
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