Cloud Computing Helps in Green Construction Projects


Global green construction materials market is burgeoning and forecasted to grow from $116 billion in 2013 to more than $254 billion in 2020, according to a recent report by Navigant Research, a London-based a research and consulting team focusing on global clean technology sector. However, collecting the required materials to build the designed project can be a challenge when the availability in the market is quite scarce under certain circumstances. This is what happened with a group of architects who were struggling to find green building materials for their projects and decided to establish GIGA – the world’s first cloud-based platform for designers and developers to manage and archive their project materials. GIGA is based in Shanghai and Beijing, stands as an acronym for Green Ideas Green Actions, which expresses their intent to catalyze better and healthier projects in the building industry.

Cloud computing in green construction

A huge amount of construction projects are being kicked off and undergone on a daily basis around the globe, and managing these can be an arduous task for those who are working in a cross-country team. This is where cloud computing rose to help connecting distant individuals, enabling a more synchronized cooperation and organized archival. In this perspective, GIGA is aimed to provide materials & design solutions through knowledge and feedback sharing get feedback within the green construction professional network.

For developers and designers, GIGA makes it easy not only to restore the project data, but also to compare materials submitted by designers and contractors, saving then significant hours to spend on ensuring the material standards and to decide the best options. Meanwhile for building materials manufacturers, GIGA helps them to get targeted sales leads.

Ryan Dick, the Director of GIGA added, “Designers and Developers who use GIGA save time finding and documenting materials. They can also can track materials following construction to better inform future project specifications.”

A new way to reduce green building cost?

A recent report about the Business Case of Green Buildings published by World Green Building Council stated that in the aspirational construction projects such as those that aim for ‘zero carbon’ performance, there is a 12.5% increase in design and construction cost compared to a conventional building. Yet for the majority of certified green buildings, the cost typically ranges from less than 0% to 4%.

Cloud computing system like GIGA in particular, may serve a promising financial benefit. It can mitigate cost spent through a more streamlined process and capital costs reduction, as there will be no need to allocate big amount of money on hardware, software or licensing fees.

Green construction in the future

According to Ryan, the future of green construction will be about disclosure and transparency. The emergence of EPD’s (Environment Product Declarations), HPD’s (Health Product Declarations), and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 4.0 are all pushing the envelope for chemical disclosure and measuring green buildings in terms of health impact. Though manufacturing has become largely outsourced and fragmented over the past two decades, chemical disclosure will force supply chains to become more organized and accountable.

“Project management strategies are evolving from a Build and Sell model to a Build and Operate model which also has heavy bearing on the interest in green construction and quality design. As operators, developers have a vested stake in the built result of their properties which drives demand for healthy, quality materials”, Ryan said.

However, it takes two (or more) to tango. The development of technology-based support like GIGA also requires other stakeholders to help green buildings market grow. In China where GIGA is based, regulatory framework has been a main driver to spur the growth of the market. The Chinese government has set an ambitious target through its 12th Five Year Plan. By mandating to construct 1 billion square meters or 30% of all new construction to be built ‘green’ by 2020, it is expected that green construction projects will grow even more robust. In this regards, the GIGA Community plays its role in aggregating material information to build specification templates which can be used to comply with this green buildings target. ( – SA)

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