Bridges, roads, dams, and other infrastructure elements are intended to last for generations. Roman aqueducts still stand thousands of years after they were built; American roads look like moon craters and bridges literally fall apart in some parts of the country. Why the difference? What can be done to make infrastructure more sustainable?
In certain ways, technology can make a difference. The ISI (Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure) develops and manages Envision, a framework that encourages systemic changes in the planning, design, and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure through education, training, and third-party project verification. As an example, AIT Bridges, (a division of AIT (advanced infrastructure technologies), has gained accreditation for its employees and projects by becoming a member of ISI. For the last decade, AIT Bridges and ISI have both advocated for more sustainable practices in the infrastructure industry and this collaboration should help drive sustainability and resiliency.
Specializing in non-corrosive, advanced materials, AIT’s composite arch bridge system uses concrete-filled composite tubes and FRP decking, providing an alternative to traditional small-to medium-sized bridges. The company’s CT Girder Bridge System is a composite-tub girder substitute for steel and concrete girders. Both bridge systems were developed at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center and feature lightweight, sustainable materials, zero corrosion, and less maintenance over time, all key attributes to creating a more sustainable infrastructure for future generations.
Along with sustainability, the movement towards environmentally friendly building, the Green Building segment of infrastructure construction, has grown as a market. Allied Market Research published a new report showing the global green technology and sustainability market was estimated at $6.85 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $44.61 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 26.5% from 2019 to 2026.
The technologies reviewed in the report include the IoT (Internet of Things), cloud computing, artificial intelligence and analytics, digital twin, cybersecurity, and blockchain along with green building, carbon footprint management, and other applications.
An increase in environmental awareness and concerns, a rise in consumer and industrial interest for the use of clean energy resources, and growth in use of RFID (radio frequency identification) sensors fuel the growth of the global green technology and sustainability market. On the other hand, high product and solution costs associated with green technology and sustainability restrain the growth to some extent. However, initiatives to tackle climate change and air pollution are expected to bring opportunities in the future.
Based on technology, the IoT segment held the major share in 2018, generating more than one-fourth of the global green technology and sustainability market. This is attributed to the advent of green networks in IoT connectivity. On the other hand, the artificial intelligence and analytics segment is expected to grow at the fastest with a CAGR of 28.8% by the end of 2026. This is due to the increase in adoption of analytics technology in areas such as energy forecasting, energy efficiency, and energy accessibility.
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