Software project could help construction go green
Published on 1 November 2023
Construction projects of the future could be significantly greener as part of a major new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) being undertaken at the University of Dundee.
a student working on a computer
Experts from the University’s School of Science and Engineering are to help develop new software capable of calculating and managing carbon levels produced throughout the design, building and refurbishment of any scheme.
Working with industry partner Project (EU) Ltd, and supported with funding from Innovate UK, the Dundee team will develop a carbon analysis tool allowing the sector to utilise data that will allow them to effectively calculate emissions generated throughout the lifetime of any construction initiative.
“The construction industry is integral to the modern world, but there are dramatic inefficiencies in the way that it operates,” said Dr Moray Newlands, Associate Dean for Industrial Engagement in the School of Science and Engineering.
“By identifying the carbon output of any new building or piece of infrastructure before the first designs are rendered would allow stakeholders to consider the environmental cost of a project from the outset.
“The industry at present is often driven by cost or time constraints, but there is now overwhelming pressure for emissions to be at the forefront of the industry’s activities.
“The IT that we aim to develop will identify tailored best practice for every project, allowing developers to know that every design that is turned into a reality is done so in the friendliest way to the environment.”
Construction and the urban environment are one of the world's largest sources of harmful emissions, prompting global efforts to make it more sustainable. However, last year the United Nations Environment Programme warned that the construction sector was not on track to meet its target of decarbonising by 2050.
Although there is a willingness within the construction industry to participate in sustainable building practices, no system exists that allows for meaningful carbon analysis that spans the building sector.
Project (EU) Ltd is a Dundee-based consultancy providing specialist business analytics and reporting solutions. It intends to become a leading carbon IT consultancy, utilising a subscription tool that will allow individual companies to utilise data from existing Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems to inform best practice when undertaking new building projects.
“We are delighted to be part of this successful KTP project, working alongside the University of Dundee team,” said Donna Butchart, Managing Director of Project EU Ltd.
“Project EU has a rich background in developing niche data solutions for organisations using large enterprise systems. As reporting requirements increasingly involve Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics, we have been focusing on the carbon metrics for companies.
“This project looks at carbon throughout the life of construction projects, from design to build completion. The technology will allow companies to compare and benchmark their performance against industry best practice - and against their own previous projects - to build in a virtual cycle of continuous improvement.
“We see this as an important aspect in becoming recognised as a leading carbon IT consultancy, and the carbon tool project is one of a number of carbon solutions we are involved with.”
Andrew Pratt, Development Executive at North of Scotland KTP Centre, said, “We have been delighted to support the University of Dundee and Project EU throughout their innovation journey together. This project is a great example of partnership working between the academic team and industry partner that has built a solid relationship from the initial Interface funded Innovation voucher through to the KTP project which is about to begin.”
You can learn more about Dr Newland’s research here.
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