Sustainability based on economic motives - Autodesk report
Embracing sustainability is as much a commercial imperative as an environmental strategy for AEC firms with 86 percent saying it helps keep customers and 76 percent believing it provides an important competitive advantage, according to an Autodesk and Frost & Sullivan report.
Digital Sustainability: The Path to Net Zero for Design & Manufacturing and Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) Industries drew on 24 in-depth qualitative interviews involving 600 decision makers in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) and manufacturing industries.
Half of AEC respondents also believe sustainable practices improve project quality, and the use of renewable energy, better material choices and circularity approaches could lower the environmental impact of projects or products.
Over two thirds (64 percent) cited sustainability as part of the leadership's strategic vision and company goals and 83 percent of firms now have a dedicated sustainability team.
Leading the way are the Nordic countries where 91 percent have a dedicated sustainability team, falling to 81 percent in Benelux and 78 percent in the UK and Ireland.
The benefits of adopting sustainable practices include a better use of resources (less waste) for the AEC sector (70 percent) and 73 percent in manufacturing, followed by reduced energy consumption (64 percent) for AEC and 74 percent for manufacturing.
Another area of investment is in technology and software, with almost three quarters (74%) investing today, and 53% expect this to increase.
Mike Pettinella, EMEA Director, Autodesk said the findings indicate widespread acknowledgement of the need to enhance sustainability across the AEC and manufacturing sectors, and it’s clear that companies in the region are on the right path to sustainability.
"In the UK, empowering people to design, collaborate, build, and fabricate in ways that improve productivity – while also reducing waste, saving money, and staying competitive will play a huge role in achieving the objectives set out under the Government’s national policies, such as the National Infrastructure Strategy and the National Adaptation Programme," he said.
Fredrick Royan, Vice President, Sustainability and Circular Economy at Frost and Sullivan, lead author of this report, added the built environment in Europe has a crucial role to play for the realisation of the objectives of the Green Deal as it accounts for about 40 percent of the energy consumption and about one-third of CO2 emissions.
"Added to this about a third of the building stock is older than 50 years and more than three-quarters of the overall building stock is energy inefficient. The current disjointed nature of the AEC industry in Europe is witnessing a B2B partnership driven by the common strategic interest towards carbon reduction and net zero," he said.
“Evolving from the dynamic BIM process to digital twins - digital reflections of physical entities - will help designers, manufacturers and builders to predict, and support with informed decisions based on real-world conditions through sensor data and intelligent models. The operational and behavioural awareness of digital twins will help businesses achieve better outcomes for people throughout the lifecycles of products, buildings, and infrastructure."
How could drones be used in the construction industry?
The use of drones and drone technology including artificial intelligence in several industries has become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether it’s for security purposes or even a bit of fun, drones are a convenient way of monitoring situations from above. So, could this be beneficial to the construction industry? In short, yes, and here are some of the ways the industry can use them.
Whenever a construction project is complete, it’s always important to take images of it looking its best so that the project itself or even a business can be promoted. With drones, the ability to record aerial footage and take photos from the sky adds a new dimension to displaying a construction project. A drone, provided it specced correctly, can capture video and photos in 4K HD from unique angles and provide an interesting perspective on a building project. A drone could be particularly useful to estate agents who are looking to show properties that they are trying to sell.
Occasionally surveyors need to laser scan parts of a building for planning and design reasons. This can be particularly challenging when trying to scan higher parts of a building due to not having a laser scanning tool that can reach. However, laser scanning capabilities in drones mean that they are able to capture things like the exact detail of topography and buildings while also having the ability to point cloud scan, which was previously difficult due to the restricted access of high points on buildings.
In construction, there are often times when a high level of risk is involved. This usually means have to complete certain tasks virtually. Drones can help workers do this through the use of their First Person View (FPV) technology. With this, a drone can stream HD footage to the project team and provide them with a live view of what it is seeing. This can be enhanced further with Virtual Reality (VR) glasses.
Activities on-site don’t always go as planned and if it’s a large site, it can especially difficult for managers and other interested personnel to determine the location of their workers, tools, and vehicles. Thanks to a drone’s ability to be operated remotely, they can provide managers with a birds-eye view of the whole site, as it flies around to each individual area. That way, they can gain a better understanding and awareness of exactly where everything is.
Drones, therefore, have many uses for the construction industry from security to locating specific tools or vehicles, to laser-scanning features, all in 4K HD video. Maybe drones will become the future of not just the construction industry but many others, too.