How digital twins can help building and infrastructure owners make a contribution to reducing climate change

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If you live in London or have watched the news in the past month, you’ll be familiar with a particular international movement known as “Extinction Rebellion.” Using non-violent protests, they occupied parts of London for 10 days, putting pressure on the UK government to implement drastic changes to their current targets in reducing climate change.

All of this started just seven days after the Mayor of London introduced the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for London as an initiative to improve health and clean up the air. Claimed to be one of the toughest in the world, it is a move that sees the UK as being one of the world leaders in tackling climate change.

All within four weeks, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which offers independent advice to government on building a low-carbon economy and preparing for climate change, published a 277-page report titled “Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming”. The report recommends changes to the current UK emissions targets.

The CCC places resource and energy efficiency high on the agenda in advising the UK on reaching net-zero greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2050. In achieving a net-zero target, almost all heating of buildings must be low carbon. The government must establish a new approach that will lead to full decarbonisation of buildings by 2050. Currently, less than 5% of energy used to heat homes and buildings comes from low carbon sources. To achieve this target, the government will need to implement and enforce more effective policies.

The CCC estimates that an extra £15-20 billion will need to be invested in buildings by 2050 than would have without decarbonisation. In an ever-competitive market with low margins, this presents a challenge to the construction industry. There is a need to take up new tools and technologies to soften the burden and distribute costs via ways of making efficiencies and savings in other areas such as optimised design, construction, and operation.

The day prior to the publication of the CCC report, the UK parliament declared a climate change emergency, with the leader of the Scottish National Party declaring a climate emergency three days prior to this.

Large companies such as Siemens have committed to carbon neutrality. Unilever has declared their ambition to eliminate fossil fuels from their operations. Both companies intend to achieve this by 2030. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, one of the largest developers and asset owners in Europe, has made commitments to reduce the carbon footprint of both new developments and emissions of existing assets by up to 70%.

Part of the execution of these targets is to implement processes for measuring their carbon footprint. These are done via energy analysis using telemetry from mainly mechanical and electrical assets linked to either a Building Management System (BMS) or directly to the cloud. Through machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), the results of energy analysis allow for better decision making in energy use by producing actionable insights into reducing consumption.

At Willow, we are already working with some of the most innovative building and infrastructure owners in delivering these actionable insights as well as providing a platform whereby they can efficiently manage all of the individual assets across their entire portfolio. We do this by integrating static, geospatial, and live data into a single software platform called WillowTwinTM, whereby owners and managers can monitor and control their buildings and infrastructure networks with greater efficiency.

In the maintenance of buildings and infrastructure networks, decision making is led by the intelligent management of live and static information, which can prolong the life of particular assets and optimise their performance. With WillowTwinTM, owners and operators now have more control over their buildings and infrastructure networks, with the ability to implement and measure against specific targets.

Should the UK government introduce new legislation calling for building and infrastructure owners to report specific performance and usage, as well as report against the targeted implementation of reducing carbon emissions, it is the owners who manage their assets via a digital twin who will have the advantage.

The new breed of smart buildings enabled by a digital twin also contributes to climate change reduction through better management of the building’s occupants. By intelligently managing the occupancy space, a smart building can service more people who travel less, reducing the carbon footprint of both the building and its occupants.

The UK has already established itself on the world stage, being the first government to mandate the use of digital technologies in construction to reduce waste via the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM). We are now in the new age of digital twins where the resulting, better-managed information from BIM enabled processes is put to use within the entire asset lifecycle, matched with live data. The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) has recently published their information management framework for developing a national digital twin. The CDBB estimates that large companies who use digital twins can expect a 10% improvement in effectiveness of running their assets, establishing a sound argument for their value and return on investment.

In leading the charge for climate change, is the UK likely to implement new legislation for building and infrastructure owners? Will they set new, more challenging targets for the reduction of their carbon footprint? With the recent introduction of the ULEZ in London, pressure from Extinction Rebellion, the declaration of a climate emergency by the UK government and the recent publication by the CCC, it could be very likely. It is the building and infrastructure owners who have invested in digital twins who have the upper hand. They are best equipped with knowledge and insight into reporting their current emissions and energy consumption. They are also best prepared for using these insights to adapt and implement new legislation across their portfolio while remaining prosperous and profitable.

Lucas Cusack is the UK and European Digital Lead at Willow.

About Willow

Willow is the digital twin for the built world.

Our mission is to empower every person and organisation to connect with the built world in a whole new way.  

For more, visit www.willowinc.com

For media enquiries, email us at PR@willowinc.com

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Rachel Ebalan-Ramirez

General Manager, Manila

As the GM/Principal of the Manila Studio, Rachel leads the overall operations and general management of the branch office to ensure all activities are aligned with the company business objectives.

She serves as a key part of the Operations Executive Group with input into the strategies formulated for operational growth, practice improvements, efficient resourcing and project delivery, culture development, and structure across the whole business.

Rachel oversees all Manila-based Shared-Services Teams and manages the execution of an effective and collaborative approach in providing support to the global company operations.

Corporate Connect Stages 2 & 3

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    30,000 sqm (322,917 sqft)
  • Architect: WMK
  • Contractor: Taylor Construction
  • Developer: Goodman
  • Owner/Operator: Goodman
  • Engaged by: Taylor Construction
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

100 Queens Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    34,900 sqm (375,660 sqft)
  • Architect: Kirsten Thompson Architects
  • Owner/Operator: GPT Group
  • Engaged by: GPT Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

32 Smith Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    26,000 sqm (279,861 sqft)
  • Architect: Fender Katsalidis
  • Owner/Operator: GPT
  • Engaged by: GPT
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

567 Collins Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    55,000 sqm (592,015 sqft)
  • Architect: COX and Spowers
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™

Barrack Place, 151 Clarence Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    20,000 sqm (236,806 sqft)
  • Architect: Architectus
  • Contractor: Built
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™

Sydney Metro Martin Place

  • Sector: Commercial / Rail
  • Size/scale:
    20,000 sqm (236,806 sqft)
  • Architect: JPW, Grimshaw and Tzannes
  • Developer: Macquarie Group
  • Owner/Operator: Macquarie Group / Transport for NSW
  • Engaged by: Savills / Macquarie Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Tempo Drummoyne

  • Sector: Residential
  • Size/scale:
    4,000 sqm (43,055 sqft)
  • Architect: FKM
  • Developer: EG Funds
  • Engaged by: FKM
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Sydney Light Rail

  • Sector: Light Rail
  • Size/scale:
    12 KM Span 19 stations
  • Architect: Grimshaw
  • Owner/Operator: Transport for NSW
  • Engaged by: Grimshaw
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Summer Hill

  • Sector: Residential
  • Size/scale:
    24,789 sqm (266,826 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Developer: EG Funds
  • Engaged by: HASSELL
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Waterloo Road Campus

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    120,773 sqm (1,229,990 sqft)
  • Architect: Architectus
  • Contractor: John Holland Group
  • Developer: John Holland Group
  • Owner/Operator: John Holland Group
  • Engaged by: John Holland Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Global Switch Ultimo

  • Sector: Data Centre
  • Size/scale:
    40,000 sqm (430,556 sqft)
  • Architect: DEM
  • Owner/Operator: Global Switch
  • Engaged by: Global Switch
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Pittsburgh International Airport

  • Sector: Aviation
  • Size/scale:
    58,714 sqm (631,992 sqft)
  • Architect: Gensler / Luis Videl & Architects
  • Owner/Operator: Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Engaged by: Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

60 Martin Place

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    40,000 sqm (430, 556 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Contractor: Lendlease
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™ platform

480 Hay Street /
The Westin Hotel Perth

  • Sector: Hospitality, Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    48,000 sqm (516,667 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Contractor: BCG
  • Owner/Operator:
    Westin (Marriott Hotels)
  • Engaged by: HASSELL
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

The Sandstones Precinct

  • Sector: Hospitality, Conference
  • Size/scale:
    30,000 sqm (322,917 sqft)
  • Architect: MAKE Architects
  • Contractor: Built
  • Owner/Operator:
    Pontiac Land Group
  • Developer: Pontiac Land Group
  • Engaged by: Pontiac Land Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

The Star Sovereign Resort

  • Sector: Hospitality
  • Size/scale:
    148,644 sqm (1.6 million sqft)
  • Architect: HBA (Design)
  • Contractor: Built
  • Owner/Operator:
    The Star Entertainment
  • Engaged by: The Star Entertainment
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecuture (Lead Consultant)

The Ribbon

  • Sector: Hospitality, Residential (Serviced apartments)
  • Size/scale:
    54,800 sqm (589,862 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL (Design Architect)
  • Contractor: Grocon
  • Developer: Grocon
  • Owner/Operator: Greaton/W Hotel (Marriot Hotels)
  • Engaged by: Grocon
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, Digital Architecture

477 Collins Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    55,000 sqm (592,015 sqft)
  • Architect: Grimshaw
  • Owner/Operator: Mirvac
  • Engaged by: Mirvac
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Top Golf (various locations)

  • Sector: Hospitality
  • Size/scale:
    572,250-726,790 sqm (6,159,647-7,823,102 sqft)
  • Contractor: Arco Murray
  • Owner/Operator: Top Golf
  • Engaged by: Arco Murray
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Vanessa Iezzi

Head of People & Culture

Passionate about creating great workplaces and developing people, Vanessa is responsible for establishing the key foundations to scale Willow’s culture globally.

This includes overseeing global recruitment, talent mapping, people development frameworks, and driving engagement with Willow’s values throughout the organisation.

Tom White

Chief of Staff

Tom is Willow’s Chief of Staff. He delivers a full range of services across the business, developing business and project plans for initiatives that cut across the organization, including new offerings, partnership opportunities, improvements to internal operations whilst developing new programs to support the strategic direction of the organization.

Justin Gurney

Principal/Regional Head of WillowDigital

Justin is inspired by Willow’s vision and drive to transform the property industry. Justin made the decision to join Willow as Principal and Regional Head of WillowDigital in order to work on the delivery of iconic projects through smart technology. He is responsible for the delivery of complex and large-scale projects in the hotel, commercial office, and high-rise residential sectors while bringing to Willow over 25 years of experience in architecture and construction.

Dr. Michael Easson, AM FRICS FAICD

Chairman and Co-Founder

As Chairman, Michael guides Willow’s vision and strategic direction, provides corporate governance oversight and assists the company in fostering strategic long-term relationships. Michael’s experience in infrastructure and property is extensive across the private and public sectors, with over 35 years experience in real estate development and investment.

Adam Geha

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Adam is responsible for guiding Willow’s capital raising activities and regularly reviewing financial strategy and performance.

In addition to his role with Willow, Adam is the CEO and Co-founder of EG Funds Management, where he has led and supervised over USD 1.8 billion in commercial property investment and development for over 20 years.

Lee Fogarty

Principal & Head of Pre-Contracts

Lee takes a hands-on approach to managing and growing Willow’s international operations both as an architect and practice director.

Lee has been involved in a large number of projects from design phase into construction and operation. He knows how to harness the latest technologies to build buildings in the virtual world creating streamlined documentation that facilitates more cost and time efficient projects. In the future, Lee believes we will move completely away from 2D drawings into the 3D virtual world resulting in streamlined and more effective construction and procurement methods.

Shaun Klann

President - USA & Europe

Shaun leads the United States and European operations of Willow. With a background combining engineering, strategic consulting, and property development, Shaun has come to be recognised as one of North America’s most sought after smart building experts.

Shaun is our lead spokesperson for growth in the US and Europe.

Rani Adam

Chief Innovation Engineer

As Chief Innovation Engineer at Willow, Rani oversees the technical development and engineering on a global scale. His experience to date, having produced technology for a spectrum of sectors, is both visionary and practical. In creation of technology for e-commerce, rail, fintech, infrastructure and commercial real estate applications, Rani enables effortless user experiences. His experience in complex backend design has allowed for B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-customer), and P2P (peer-to-peer) interactivity and economy. In addition to realising universal applications for technology (spanning web and mobile), Rani is responsible for leading Willow’s Software Engineering Teams through complex and specialised project conditions.

Will Sessions

Chief Information Officer

Will Sessions is the Chief Information Officer at Willow. In this role, he oversees all aspects of IT operations, infrastructure, applications, and architecture within the business. He also manages the strategic technological roadmaps, not to mention new technologies, initiatives, trends, cloud technologies, data analytics and information workflow.

Will’s technical background is grounded in the infrastructure space including network, computer server, security, and virtualisation before moving into new Cloud technologies.

Prior to joining Willow in 2017, he held consulting and strategic roles at companies such as Versent, SunRice, and CIMIC.

Sallyann Allman

Business Development Director

As Business Development Director, Sallyann leads Willow’s new business development strategy and customer engagement.

Queens Plaza Park

  • Sector: Commercial Multi-Family
  • Size/scale:
    92,903 sqm (1 million sqft)
  • Architect: Handel Architects
  • Developer: Durst Organisation
  • Owner/Operator: Durst Organisation
  • Engaged by: Durst Organisation
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™ platform

Daniel Isserow

Chief Finance Officer

An experienced finance professional with 8 years investment banking experience together with 4 years working in the Big 4, Daniel brings the fiscal discipline required to successfully grow the business and ensure its operational efficiency. Daniel is responsible for the areas of Finance, Legal, HR, and IT across the business.

Daniel is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Master of Taxation from UNSW.

Daniel Kalnins

Global Head of Digital

As the Global Head of Digital, Daniel is responsible for the technical and strategic direction of the Digital Engineering Services Team. He is also a member of the Senior Executive Team in helping shape the path of the current and future business focus.

Gerard Francis

Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer

As Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Gerard is the co-head of the Executive Team (with the CEO) and manages the day-to-day operations of the organisation, its people and resources.

Gerard is responsible for implementing the strategy approved by the board ensuring that the organisation structure and processes meet the strategic and cultural needs of the organisation.

Gerard has utilised this depth of knowledge and leadership to provide strong governance, strategic direction and operational stability as Willow enters a new phase of growth and maturity.

Dale Brett

Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder

Dale Brett is the Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Willow, Australia’s fastest growing provider of smart technology for the built world. With a personal drive to solve complex and real-world problems with technological solutions, Dale leads the technology, product, and innovation at Willow.

In the last two years alone, Dale has led the ideation and implementation of groundbreaking technologies such as the WillowTwin™ Technology Platform, the Marketplace, and the WillowRail Operations to name a few. The technology is now being utilised by the world’s largest real estate owners, including Microsoft, AXA, and Investa Property Group. The common goal being, to make the world more sustainable, connected, intuitive, and innovative.

Joshua Ridley

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

As CEO, Joshua oversees the strategic direction, growth, and management of the company. He is passionate about culture, people, and growing a global company that has a positive impact on our world.

Joshua has built a reputation for his strong leadership and innovation with some of the largest and most admired owners of infrastructure and real estate including the Durst Organisation and Macquarie. He believes in building a global network of strong partners and has spearheaded partnerships with leading organisations such as Microsoft, thyssenkrupp, and Strukton Rail.

He has overseen the development of over $10B of projects through Design and Construction in a senior leadership capacity, and has partnered with preeminent architects, including KPF, Foster & Partners, Perkins Will, and Grimshaw. In Australia, he has worked on major projects with companies including Investa, GPT, Mirvac, Grocon, Brookfield, Multiplex, John Holland, CPB, Pontiac, Star, and NSW Government.

Joshua is our lead corporate spokesperson, covering the history of Willow, our vision for the built world, client engagements and breaking stories.

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