Image: 198113574 © Iurii Motov | Dreamstime.com

Technology

Costain-Winvic AI research cuts carbon on projects

1 December 2020

Costain and Winvic Construction are helping the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to develop AI and machine learning technology that can substantially reduce embodied carbon in building and infrastructure projects.

UWE Bristol’s Big Data Laboratory is leading the two-year, £800,000 project, which is funded by Innovate UK. The project team is completed by Edgetrix, a start-up that specialises in cloud and AI solutions.

Determining which low carbon materials to use when planning a project can be time-consuming and can take up to several man-hours: the new software will use machine learning to make that calculation and save time, UWE Bristol claimed.

Dr Lukman Akanbi, who is leading the project and works at UWE Bristol, said: “We are going to collect embodied carbon data from previous projects and machine learning models will be developed to learn the patterns from this data. The system will then be able to come up with alternative materials quicker.

“For a large scale project for example, instead of taking five to ten hours to work out alternatives, it could initially take only one to two hours, and further down the road, once more data is gathered, just a few minutes.”

The work, which started in November, will initially use Winvic and Costain’s commercial premises as test sites for the software. The plan is then to roll out the software to building designers and others working in the construction industry. 

Dr Akanbi: “The objective is to make the system available to building designers and enable them to use it as part of their existing design systems. This way they can implement embodied carbon analysis incrementally throughout construction projects’ delivery.”

Image: 198113574 © Iurii Motov | Dreamstime.com