A new European-funded research project seeks to address the need for decarbonization in the building and construction sector. The project will take aim at inefficient glazing as one of its goals.

Studies show that the built environment is responsible for more than 34% of energy demand and around 37% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide emissions, some of which are contributed by inefficient glazing. The ZEBAI project aims to mitigate increased carbon emissions in the built environment.

The European Union’s Horizon Program has provided $4.1 million to the ZEBAI project to mitigate increased carbon emissions in the built environment. The project aims to establish a materials database, address discrepancies between simulated and actual building performance and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to optimize material and system selection.

Studies show that the built environment is responsible for more than 34% of energy demand and around 37% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide emissions, some of which are contributed by inefficient glazing.

Anas Al Kassas, founder and CEO of Inovues, explained to USGlass magazine that experts estimate “as many as 70% of all buildings have inefficient glazing, contributing to more than $57 billion in energy loss in U.S. commercial buildings alone each year.”

Several organizations are contributing to the project, including Lurtis AI and the University of Oxford. Oxford’s Engineering Science and Physics departments will work to characterize and model how materials such as glass respond to temperature and mechanical forces. The departments will also use AI to select locally-sourced building materials suited to specific environmental conditions. Oxford officials will work with Lurtis to integrate AI modeling into the material selection process.

Additionally, officials will study the properties of building materials and how they behave under the influence of different forces. The analyses of mechanical properties of materials used in buildings across Europe will be used to create an AI simulation to incorporate the software into construction design platforms used by architects and engineers. The software will include a library of properties of materials based on their work and will be used to ensure that constructions meet net-zero targets.

Officials said these approaches promise more efficient and user-friendly design processes and the potential to reduce future buildings’ carbon footprint significantly. They explained that AI techniques will play a pivotal role in optimizing the selection of materials and systems across various aspects of building design. By integrating AI-assisted processes, officials aim to enhance the efficiency and user-friendliness of the design process.

There will be test cases in Ukraine, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The tests will enable officials to assess the methodology’s performance across climates, usages and building patterns.

Across the pond, the U.S. government is working to solve energy loss in buildings via several unique approaches, including implementing a secondary glazing competition. The American-Made Building Envelope Innovation Prize offers up to $2 million to promote affordable secondary glazing systems production. The goal is to improve the efficiency of commercial windows.

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