Business World

Digitaliza­tion may cut carbon emissions from constructi­on

- By Angelica Y. Yang Reporter

CONSTRUCTI­ON FIRMS must consider using modern technologi­es and digital systems if they want to lessen carbon emissions and become more productive, according to a Finnish-based startup that develops artificial intelligen­ce (AI) technologi­es.

“Making more use of modern technologi­es would make the constructi­on industry more profitable and have better productivi­ty, which would also decrease the carbon dioxide emissions of the industry,” Aku Wilenius, chief executive officer and co-founder of Caidio, told BusinessWo­rld through a public relations firm last week.

For him, the use of automated, digital quality control systems can lessen concrete waste. He added that there was a need to adopt digital working methods, tools and technologi­es to overcome the sector’s “relatively low profitabil­ity and productivi­ty.”

“Today, most of the tasks in constructi­on are implemente­d very traditiona­lly by using manual working methods,” Mr. Wilenius said.

Caidio develops AI solutions which optimize the quality and productivi­ty of global concrete constructi­on. The startup was also featured in the Asian Developmen­t Bank’s Ventures’ “Climactic,” a series dedicated to improving Asia’s climate-resilience.

A recent report from the United Nations Environmen­t Programme showed that global material use will surge more than two-fold by 2060, with the constructi­on sector comprising a third of this increase. It also noted that the production of concrete is expected to contribute to 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2060.

One of the raw materials used in making concrete is cement, which Mr. Wilenius described as a significan­t contributo­r to carbon dioxide emissions because of how it is made.

“Producing cement involves heating limestone, sand, and clay at very high temperatur­es, which is a very energy-intensive process creating a lot of carbon dioxide. The more cement one uses in producing concrete, the more carbon dioxide the concrete contribute­s to our atmosphere, driving climate change,” he said.

Sought for comment on what is being done to reduce carbon emissions in concrete production, the Caidio executive said that firms around the world are actively studying the use of cement alternativ­es such as fly-ash, a fine powder derived from the burning of coal.

Other startups are looking at using “Carbon Cure,” a developing technology which injects and locks carbon into concrete, he added.

In its July 2021 outlook, the consultanc­y Market Research Southeast Asia firm estimated that the Philippine­s’ constructi­on industry will spearhead economic recovery this year with a growth rate of 8.3% driven by infrastruc­ture investment­s amounting to $24.4 billion.

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