November 17th 2022

Showcasing innovation in the built environment on COP27’s Solutions Day

Showcasing innovation in the built environment on COP27’s Solutions Day

A sense of urgency is rising as the end of the COP27 climate summit nears. The past week has been plagued with reports that negotiations have been running behind schedule, with Reuters reporting just yesterday that countries were still far from agreeing the contours of a climate deal. This morning, a first draft agreement has emerged from the UN climate agency. However, this is likely to be significantly reworked over the coming days with a number of contentious issues, including a proposed loss and damage fund for vulnerable nations and the phase down/phase out debate on all fossil fuels, still to be resolved. The morning’s announcement has done little to quash fears that the final agreement reached at COP27 will lack ambition. Responding to the draft, Yeb Saño, Greenpeace International’s COP27 Head of Delegation, encapsulated the feeling of pessimism, declaring: “climate justice will not be served if this sets the bar for a Cop27 outcome.”

However, on a more positive note, today marks the Solutions Day of the programme, which promises to bring together government representatives, businesses, academia and innovators to share their experiences, ideas and best practice approaches to address the many challenges which lie ahead.

Sustainable cities, green buildings and resilient infrastructure are amongst the key themes up for discussion – a decision which has been welcomed by the climate conscious within our industry who pushed hard for a dedicated Built Environment day at COP26 last year in recognition of the crucial role that buildings, cities and infrastructure must play in combatting global temperature rises.

Our sector is already taking action to develop new standards, roadmaps and innovative approaches to reduce the climate impact of our built environment, and we have access to cutting-edge tools and technologies which are proving that the shift towards net-zero buildings is entirely possible. So today, we wanted to showcase a selection of project examples from across the globe, to demonstrate how IES technology is being used by both us and our customers, to deliver the high-performing, net-zero energy and low carbon buildings of the future.

VISON 2045 Documentary

Earlier this year, we teamed up with the VISION 2045 campaign to create a short documentary on the role that digital twin technology can play in delivering energy and resource-efficient, healthy, low-carbon built environments. The campaign sought to support the UN’s sustainable development goals by inspiring businesses and people to take collective action to insure a better future for all.

The video delves into three real life case study examples which have pioneered the use of digital twin technologies to improve the environmental performance of their buildings and help deliver on net-zero goals. The projects featured include: the University of Glasgow; a project collaboration with SSE on the SEC Campus; and the NTU EcoCampus in Singapore; all of which used IES technology to accelerate progress towards their zero carbon targets.

Watch the video here.

ASHRAE Headquarters Building, Atlanta

ASHRAE are one of the foremost industry pioneers in the decarbonisation of the built environment. Last week they, together with 24 other leading building industry organisations, issued a statement to government representatives attending COP27. In doing so, they pledged to assume a leadership role in decarbonisation efforts in the built environment and stated their collective commitment to meeting 1.5°C Paris Agreement targets.

ASHRAE’s new global Headquarters building in Atlanta, renovated to operate as a net-zero-energy (NZE) building, is testament to this commitment. The project design team, which included IESVE users, Integral Group, employed a range of innovative design strategies to achieve this net-zero energy ready building. From a simulation-aided design perspective, the project highlighted many innovative categories in which an IESVE building performance model was able to support.

Read the full case study here.

Pollok Country Park, Scotland

The city of Glasgow has an ambitious target to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. To support this goal, Glasgow City Council have teamed up with IES, utilising the very latest technological advancements to reduce energy use and carbon emissions of a 270-year-old mansion, museum and surrounding buildings within the city’s largest park.

IES created a live digital twin to provide greater understanding of Pollok Country Park’s complex eco-system, helping the council, citizens and other key stakeholders see first-hand how and where energy is used and generated across the estate. The digital twin is being used to inform decision-making on how to make the park energy independent and take it off-grid, generating energy and heat locally. It has allowed the council to test out different scenarios virtually to understand the opportunities and limitations of various net zero approaches.    

Watch the video.

Read the full case study.

Sharjah Humanitarian Campus, UAE

IES partnered with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to explore the use of its innovative Intelligent Communities Lifecycle (ICL) digital twin technology to help create a net-zero or positive energy block (PEB) (i.e. a group of buildings that produce more primary energy on an annual basis than they consume) for a new development proposed by the UAE government.

The project proved it was possible to reduce the total electricity demand of the campus by 95.4% compared to a business-as-usual case. The energy savings identified equated to 3,164 tons of CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions being avoided each year, roughly the same as the yearly emissions of 1,257 cars.

Read the full case study here.

These are just a few projects which exemplify how innovative solutions are already being implemented to great effect to help drive decarbonisation efforts across the global built environment. We have many more case study examples from IES and our technology users which you can look to for inspiration. However, we know that we are only just scratching the surface in terms of the widescale action that is needed to meet the global targets set and keep the 1.5C goal within reach.

Technology like ours can play a key role in facilitating the transition to a decarbonised built environment but we need more projects like these to ensure we get there. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can support your next net-zero building project today.