Green Building Technology is a Game Changer

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Every now and then, a ‘disruptive’ design idea or technology transforms our industry – and indeed the world – forever. The invention of the passenger lift enabled skyscrapers, for instance, while air-conditioning led to expanded floor plates.

But innovation is distinct from invention.  Innovation is the incremental improvement that, step by step, leads to large-scale transformation.

Later this month in Sydney, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) will host the first of the Leading Green Thinkers – Innovation Series on green technology.  Some of Australia’s leading innovation specialists will share their insights into the latest platforms and tools, including smart buildings, digital cities, 3D printing and augmented reality.

Will Rayward-Smith is the Clean Technology Leader at Laing O’Rourke’s Engineering Excellence Group, and is focused on developing and deploying game-changing technologies that improve the sustainability of the built environment.

“Research and development spending in the built environment is low compared to other sectors and industries – yet as a society we spend the majority of our lives in this built environment and it has the biggest impact on the sustainability of our society. The sector is ripe for disruptive innovation,” Rayward-Smith says.

Rayward-Smith points to examples such as buildings that learn and optimise themselves, the application of building information modelling to facilities management, Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), augmented reality for greater digital collaboration, and 3D-printing that maximises material use to achieve multi-functionality.

“Historically, buildings have been dumb,” says Bruce Duyshart, Director at Meld Strategies.  He believes that two emerging game changers in the property industry will be building monitoring and transparency of data.

“Buildings traditionally operate using discrete stand-alone systems and monitoring, if it is done at all, tends to be very high level.  This is like looking at a photo with very few pixels in it. The image is blurry and it’s not completely clear as to what is going on in the big picture,” Duyshart explains.

“Today, technology enables us to measure environments in much more granular detail and to present this information on an easy-to-interpret, web-based, centralised dashboard. These fine-grained measurements lead to better insights and accuracy of information about a building’s performance, such as how much power is being used in which sections of a particular floor, whether meeting spaces are being used efficiently, and exactly how much power individual devices such as printers and copiers consume.  Just like a picture, the more pixels in an image, the higher the quality of that information.”

The second shift will be in the transparency of data resulting from the monitoring of buildings, Duyshart says.

“Currently, most occupants of buildings are blissfully unaware of how buildings are performing unless something is broken. Historically, this type of information has been kept in the realm of building managers and asset owners. However, in the world of open standards, web technologies and data transparency, it is inevitable that tenants will soon demand an understanding of how their tenancy is performing compared to other buildings and to ask for the detail behind the outgoing costs on top of the gross rent they are charged.”

Bruce Taper, Director of Kinesis, agrees.  “Big data and smart buildings are clearly part of our future, but how do you design the future?  The approach must not be building by building, but at a precinct and city scale,” Taper explains.

“The same types of data systems that are being enabled in buildings are capable of being implemented at a city scale. We can now model the future performance of precincts and cities down to the minute.  This gives city managers and city builders the information they need to make informed investments in sustainable design and technologies and deliver this information in sync with procurement strategies,” Taper adds.

“Using, integrating and interpreting the complex data is already changing the landscape for master planning communities and places across Australia,” Taper says. “Creating solutions based on that data is the big disruptive shift that will bring about productivity and sustainability improvements in buildings, communities and cities.”

“The same types of data systems that are being enabled in buildings are capable of being implemented at a city scale. We can now model the future performance of precincts and cities down to the minute.  This gives city managers and city builders the information they need to make informed investments in sustainable design and technologies and deliver this information in sync with procurement strategies,” Taper adds.

“Using, integrating and interpreting the complex data is already changing the landscape for master planning communities and places across Australia,” Taper says. “Creating solutions based on that data is the big disruptive shift that will bring about productivity and sustainability improvements in buildings, communities and cities.”

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Chief Executive, Green Building Council of Australia Romilly Madew leads Australia’s peak industry association responsible for creating sustainable buildings and places for everyone. Romilly is an experienced green building, sustainable communities and cities advocate, both nationally and intern...

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  1. Eser Usta says:

    I agree with all of the above comments, but I have been employed at Dincel Construction System for 4 years and have spent all of that time in trying to educate the building industry on our product which is Australian invented and manufactured which is changing the building industry with its credentials as a waterproof wall that meets all of the BCA requirements and some but is also environmentally friendly. I am still at a loss as to why the Green building council are yet to promote or actively support such a product and company. Eser Usta


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