The Engineer – Commentary: How AR/VR is making construction greener

David Mitchell, founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, explains how AR and VR are helping the construction industry reduce its carbon footprint.

Modern building is more than agile building and keeping costs low. The industry is expanding rapidly with an expected growth of $4.5 trillion[1] by 2030 and the advent of new technologies will be paramount to facilitate this growth. As important as these goals are undoubtedly, reducing emissions and building sustainably are also becoming an increasingly important consideration at every stage of construction projects.

Recent research by Faithful+Gould has found that buildings and construction are responsible for: 39 percent of all CO2 emissions in the world[2]† It’s an alarming figure that should force the sector to address and mitigate the climate crisis while continuing to deliver high-quality output.

The good news is that progress is being made, and not a moment too soon. Net Zero 2050 goals are getting closer and captivating the focus of construction professionals around the world. It is fair to say that there is now a clear need to not only build better, but to build greener.

There is still a long way to go, as the industry not only wants to change many of its entrenched traditional processes, but also pay back decades of high-emissions activity. Fortunately, digital innovation is helping to make this transition to a low-carbon economy as painless as possible, and I believe we have only just surfaced how technology can support the delivery of more sustainable buildings.


– Ben Allan via Unsplash

Essentially, the latest software and hardware to hit the market, especially advanced artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), will equip the sector to achieve its green goals, while also providing greater efficiency. and support higher quality. But, as mentioned, technology is only as good as the user, and reducing construction’s significant environmental footprint needs to start with active industry-wide collaboration to have a big enough impact both on and off the construction site. .

Collaboration to achieve common goals

Here at XYZ Reality, we lead by example and become one of the founders of ZERO[3]an ethical community of like-minded individuals and companies committed to overall sustainability in construction.

This move has enabled us to better understand the eco-landscape of the current industry and empower our team to deliver timely solutions to achieve more sustainable results.

The collaboration with like-minded companies that ZERO facilitates is invaluable as it allows individual organizations to come together and explore a wide variety of traditional and new ways to reduce waste and reduce emissions.

Working together under the same banner, with the same common goal, teams can fill industry knowledge gaps, combine efforts to increase process efficiency and develop solutions holistically.

As a pioneer in Augmented Reality, having developed our technical tool ‘The Atom’ specifically for the construction industry, our aim is to show how it, along with other systems and processes, can play a pivotal role in greening and making the construction phase more sustainable. slimmer. In particular, removing the scanning and reworking stage to save valuable materials, money and manpower otherwise wasted correcting errors and defects made during initial construction.

Eliminate rework to reduce waste

It is already well documented that digital technology helps improve construction by increasing operational precision, allowing contractors to build to exact specifications and validate works in real time, reducing the potential for waste.

According to government statistics, in 2018 around 137 million tons[4] of construction waste was only produced in the UK. By leveraging new technologies, such as Engineering-Grade AR, to eliminate errors, we can eliminate unnecessary waste and even reduce the costs associated with rework, all while keeping project schedules on track. Already deployed on construction sites around the world, our advanced AR solution, the Atom, is proving its worth by reducing rework to less than 1%. This not only saves projects time and money, but also significantly minimizes the use of materials and thus increases the sustainable reputation.

Rework is responsible for up to five percent of all CO2 emissions in construction, removing or at least reducing this process, an important step is to help construction become a carbon neutral sector.

Which digital innovations have we already seen?

We are already seeing technological progress in construction and the results are encouraging. Digital asset information management platforms are now firmly established in the industry with their ability to log large amounts of information online, such as waste levels and expenses, without the need for piles of paper.

Another high-tech solution is AI-enabled management platforms that we can link to sensors that monitor waste levels, reducing the resources spent on waste disposal

Bee XYZ Reality[5]we’re proponents of using out-of-the-box thinking to revolutionize construction processes, and I think there’s more standing in the way of digital advancement.

We pride ourselves on our contribution to implementing Engineering-Grade AR to achieve unparalleled accuracy, reduce material excess and avoidable defects, to deliver more sustainable projects. Developed specifically for the construction industry by construction professionals, this technology has been proven to reduce waste, improve quality and ultimately radically reduce carbon contributions.

Keeping all parties happy

Returning to the human factor, construction companies must not only harness new technology but also establish and implement solid green strategies to secure a good position for future performance in a competitive landscape.

This journey includes creating transparent sustainability statements, plans, actions and goals that provide insight into how companies will fare in markets.

To achieve this goal, construction industry experts must carefully consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria that play a critical role in helping companies monitor how sustainable their operations are and ensure ensure that they are working to steer their activities towards net-zero targets. 2050.

With a clear strategy, construction leaders can streamline investment and ensure long-term viability of plans, creating lasting value for workers, society and stakeholders. From a financial standpoint, industry players would be wise to keep a watertight record of their operations so that investors and stakeholders feel their money is safe.

There is no doubt that we will see more digital adoption growth as the green agenda becomes legally binding and business leaders realize that technology can help comply with stricter regulations.

We must all remain committed to reducing CO2 emissions in construction for the greater good of our environment and society. Construction companies around the world are already seeing the huge benefits of leveraging digital tools for sustainable initiatives. Companies that leverage the power of Augmented Reality and other technology that promote sustainability are proving to be a lot better than the competition.

By adopting sustainable building practices early, we can make a huge difference to the environment and be a leader in the green agenda. The adoption of technology that will help us get there should be openly embraced by all as we move towards a more innovative and greener industry.

David Mitchell is Founder and CEO at XYZ Reality

[1] https://www.marsh.com/tn/industries/construction/insights/global-construction-outlook.html#:~:text=Construction%20will%20be%20an%20economic,average%20about%203.5%25%20per %20 years

[2] https://www.iea.org/reports/global-status-report-for-buildings-and-construction-2019

[3] https://www.zeroconstruct.com/about

[4] https://www.constructionproducts.org.uk/media/557062/how-much-construction-waste-is-there.pdf

[5] https://www.xyzreality.com/

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