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​According to the UK Green Building Council, UK built environment accounts for 25% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last two decades there has been improvement, but this is largely due to a reduction in operational emissions rather than the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings. There is now a focus on delivering a built environment that can support the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy for 2050.

One major source of greenhouse gas emissions within construction is embodied carbon. To lower these emissions, companies must look at the materials used in construction and their impact. Dr Graham Kelly, director of BIM Academy, believes that taking control of data is key to helping create a more sustainable built environment.

Building Information Modelling (BIM), which delivers data-driven insights, can support product and material selection by using data from existing buildings. Digital twins can show what needs to change to enable it to performance better. Whilst the application of digital construction works well for new builds, it is more difficult for existing buildings. One solution that’s been suggested is to use smart sensors, which can collect environmental and operational data of a building in real time.

The option to create data is there. We just need to take control of it and use it to help make future builds more energy efficient.