Net-Zero Emissions & Digital Twins
October 22, 2021
What is Net-Zero?
Net-zero emissions means achieving overall balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and those removed from the atmosphere.
For decades, the UN has worked to bring countries to the table to achieve this ambition through the “Conference of the Parties” [COP]. COP26 president, the UK, is working this November with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle this challenge. Australia’s plan going into COP26 is seen as underwhelming in comparison to other attendees. The graphic below illustrates how much work Australia has to do.
Sources: National Public Utilities Council, Motive Powers, Visual Capitalist
How do we get there?
Natural initiatives include planting trees, whilst technological methods include carbon capture, or investment in clean renewable energy projects. In Australia, these include solar, wind, nuclear and hydrogen projects.
Disparities in policy and performance indicators between nations and states within Australia impede the implementation of global and national efforts. For example, the Electric Vehicle Program illustrated the variation in individual state’s goals with South Australia’s objectives being different to those of Victoria and New South Wales, illustrating a lack of collaboration.
How will Digital Twinning Australia contribute?
Digital Twinning Australia’s platform can help mitigate this disparity by collecting, curating and contextually visualising real time and historic data from any source to enable better decision making as the net-zero strategies unfold.
Many companies around the world have investigated digital technologies in efforts to utilise data and technology to reduce emissions:
- EY’s white paper has indicated that the adoption of a digital twin could reduce real estate operating costs by up to 35%, whilst decreasing carbon emissions and creating a healthier workplace.
- Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat pairs digital models to heating and cooling systems with IoT sensors, creating HVAC systems that respond to room temperature, humidity, usage patterns, optimising energy usage.
- Singapore’s Nangyang Technological University has used a digital model to cut the university’s energy consumption by 21% across 200 of its buildings, and is further expected to reduce up to 31% with performance monitoring.
- Arup’s Japan office uses a virtual live model to collect data through sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and artificial intelligence to recognise human emotions and thus improve employee satisfaction. The model can also track occupancy patterns to maximise value.
- Kognitwin is a virtual representation that provides open access to all data from the asset in one place through a virtual, customisable dashboard which allows the company to monitor their net zero emissions targets.
- Dezeen has found that carbon footprint of new buildings and structures can be lowered by optimising the energy efficiency of the construction process, through tracking and control of supply chains to reduce embodied carbon.
Australia must employ technologies like Digital Twinning to strategically map out a pathway and accurately track its progress in order to achieve its 2050 net zero emissions commitment.
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