Build March Issue

Build Magazine 42 he global population is continuing to grow fast. According to the UN, it’s due to increase from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050. At the same time, there is continued movement of people from rural to urban areas. Unsurprising, this means the demand for more buildings is growing rapidly, with global building stock expected to rise by 24% between 2013 and 2023. That is a staggering amount of new buildings. Given that buildings already drive 40% of the world’s energy consumption, all these additional buildings will have a significant impact on climate change if we are not careful. In the past few years, we have seen a shift towards making larger construction projects more sustainable. However, it is estimated that only 5% of smaller construction projects are currently designed for high performance and sustainability. This presents a huge opportunity to create change across the industry. The good news is that there is now technology available to help design better buildings so we can tackle this problem. Advances in cloud computing and physics simulation have made software for high-performance building design more accessible and cost-effective. The cloud enables real-time analysis of all aspects of the building design, helping users to define, quantify and optimise the energy, water, carbon and financial benefits of relevant design strategies. This helps architects effectively balance between different strategies to maximise capital efficiency, minimise energy and water use and create high performing sustainable building designs, at low cost. Giving designers access to the real-time insights into the performance of their different design options is a powerful factor in the decision-making process. It means that questions such as: ‘What would happen to daylight performance if you changed that window here?’ or ‘How would energy performance of the building change if that window was made bigger or smaller?’ can be answered instantaneously. Previously, specialist consultants would be hired, often late in the design process, to retrospectively assess whether a given design was energy efficient and sustainable. By the time these recommendations were made, it may have been too difficult to make changes to a building’s design – especially given that other elements of the project had already progressed, pressing deadlines would need to be met, and budgets would not allow the suggested changes to be made. Now these decisions can be made early in the design process and a high performing building created as a result. With 60% of the world’s building stock due to be built or rebuilt between now and 2030, we have a great opportunity to have a major impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. If we use technology smartly, there is no reason why developers can’t make these buildings as efficient as possible. In fact, making smarter use of design software and techniques provides a savings potential between 42 and 87% of the energy required to keep buildings running. The challenge is understanding how to implement this change within the construction industry, and taking steps to make it happen. Attempts have been made to tackle this before, with governments introducing regulation, but none have been sufficiently ambitious or successful. With the cost of energy so low in comparison to both the price of global emissions and creating or operating buildings, more needs to be done to encourage developers to create more sustainable designs. Whether regulators choose to use incentives or rewards for companies exceeding efficiency targets, the tools and technology are available. In other words, now is the time to maximise these opportunities and create a more sustainable future. UnlockingCloudTechnology toCreateBetter Buildings T Mads Jensen, CEO at Sefaira