Real estate redevelopment, circular construction, and leveraging digital technologies

Published on Monday, 17 October 2016

Innovation and sustainability are becoming key words that also distinguish the field of construction, particularly property redevelopment, energy savings, and changes that are underway.
Innovation and sustainability are becoming  key  words that also distinguish the field of construction, particularly property redevelopment, energy savings, and changes that are underway.´

A new approach to redevelopment is of even greater importance in Italy, where 70% of all buildings and industrial property  were built prior to 1976, when the first energy-efficiency laws were introduced, and 25% of these buildings have never been updated. This complex issue was discussed at the REbuild conference, which has been held in Riva del Garda for the last five years to sharie experiences in construction innovation. The event places the spotlight on new ideas in industrialisation and redevelopment searching for solutions to the challenges related to the construction and management of industrial properties. The hottest topics this year included circular construction, energy savings, and the use of digital technologies in design and planning.

Circular construction will be an increasingly discussed topic in the future. It refers to an approach to construction and property management that maintains value through recycling and reuse in order to reduce the consumption of materials and energy, thereby benefitting both the environment and the local communities. In short, it consists in making efforts to reuse materials as much as possible when redeveloping properties and to improve building insulation so as to reduce energy needs.

Over 50% of urban atmospheric pollutants is the result of the energy consumed by homes and businesses, particularly for heating in winter, so energy efficiency, together with renewable energy, is one of the best ways of applying circular economy to construction. One of the most promising trends consists in stimulating the energy-efficiency market through synergies between utilities and construction firms. Enel.Sì, for example, is offering a number of advanced services and solutions for energy savings, from energy-saving lighting systems to the design and installation of photovoltaic and solar-thermal systems, with the goal of optimising resources and respecting the environment.

The other major innovation concerns the use of technology in the construction industry in order to increase the efficiency of building design, construction, and management. For example, Building Information Modeling (BIM) platforms enable teams of architects and other industry players to work in synergy and adopt the best materials and solutions right from the start of a development project. This is helping to reduce both the difference between cost estimates and actual construction costs and the gap between the expected and actual performance of the property, which is leading to a more efficient and industrialised management of the construction industry as a whole.

Additionally, the use of social networking is making it possible to share information with the community and other stakeholders and to establish an ongoing relationship with both the marketplace and the community, while reducing both risks and costs by up to 30%.

All of these factors and emerging practices are helping to bring innovation and economic, environmental, and social sustainability to property redevelopment.