23 September 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

The Role of Data and Digital Twins in Advancing Sustainable Infrastructure

2 min read
The Role of Data and Digital Twins in Advancing Sustainable Infrastructure

As climate change continues to impact our world, the designers, builders, and owner-operators of infrastructure have a crucial role to play in leading the transition to low-carbon solutions, waste reduction, and energy conservation. Infrastructure is responsible for a significant percentage of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation costs, making it imperative that we work together to meet and exceed sustainability goals.

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) for humanity and the planet. Goal #17, in particular, focuses on strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development. By using a data-centric approach, organizations can empower effective implementation and collaboration through partnerships.

Data-centric approaches involve breaking down silos and providing open access to data in order to extract value for problem-solving. One method of achieving this is through the use of digital twins, which allow organizations to visualize and analyze data for more informed decision-making. Digital twins have been shown to reduce waste, lower carbon emissions, and conserve energy and water in the construction and operation of infrastructure.

For example, in Helsinki, Finland, the city uses natural gas to power its central heating system. However, aging infrastructure can lead to leakage events, causing service outages, energy inefficiencies, and water insecurity. To address this, the grid operator partnered with an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to develop a data-driven asset optimization service. By integrating data from various systems into a single view of pipeline health, they were able to prioritize maintenance activities and reduce water loss, blockages, and outages while lowering maintenance costs.

By embracing a data-centric and collaborative approach, organizations can work together to advance infrastructure for a sustainable future. Digital twins and AI provide the tools and intelligence needed to make informed decisions and drive positive change. By leveraging data and technology, we can design, build, and operate infrastructure in a way that reduces our impact on the planet and contributes to a more sustainable, environmentally friendly existence.

– Bentley Systems
– United Nations Infrastructure for Climate Action Report