The digital revolution is producing an unprecedented amount of data, with a strong potential to address sustainability challenges. Digital technology is paving the way for the design, construction and maintenance of buildings, technical and territorial networks and other infrastructures. Today, the resources required to build, operate, maintain, transform and destroy them generate significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.
A cluster to address one of ENAC’s 3 sustainability challenges
The “Digitalization of Infrastructures and Cities” cluster supports the transition to a sustainable, resource-efficient society by developing tools and methods for improved infrastructure and city management.
Three research priorities
This new “Baukultur” aims to design buildings and infrastructures with a net-zero carbon footprint throughout their lifetime (factoring in construction materials and energy consumption) while being aesthetically pleasing, versatile and adaptable to changing needs.
Digital advances offer exciting new opportunities for research and practice in the following areas:
- Digital design: parametric design, building information modeling (BIM) and generative design.
- Digital manufacturing: 3D and 4D printing for the recycling of construction materials, automated production and additive manufacturing.
- Digital operation: smart buildings, autonomous infrastructures and material passports for recycling and reuse.
This cluster also focuses on the emergence of new materials with alternative environmental footprints and lifecycles.
ENAC is setting up new teaching programs to provide future architects and engineers with the necessary digital and professional skills to ensure a transition to this new “baukultur”.
New sensing technologies enable the design and deployment of large data collection systems that gather amounts of information at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
ENAC researchers use cutting-edge modeling and processing methods to take into account the multiple factors needed to develop sustainable infrastructure management policies. This approach supports the development of strategies to maintain, operate and transform existing buildings and infrastructures (mobility, energy, water, etc.) as society needs evolve.
A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical infrastructure coupled with real-time sensing data. By adding simulation layers to it, engineers can predict how a given system will respond to different load scenarios. ENAC is developing augmented digital twins at different scales to support infrastructure design, operation and maintenance.
ENAC is also exploring ways to address uncertainty – a key factor in risk-assessment and decision-making models – by examining the potential value of analytical tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analysis and optimization, and mathematical modeling.
Interdisciplinarity in teaching
ENAC is setting up new teaching programs to provide future generations of architects, civil and environmental engineers with the skills they need to ensure ecological and social transition to digitalized infrastructures and cities.