Water and Energy in Built Systems Innovation Alliance
The International Alliance of Experts and Industry Leaders Driving Clean Innovation Throughout the Built Environment
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Our built environment is energy- and water-hungry, wasting precious resources and heavily contributing towards our carbon footprint.
Buildings are responsible for 30% of Europe's water consumption, and the built environment - from residential buildings to airports and public transportation systems - accounts for 27% of energy sector emissions globally.
Innovation – in technologies, materials, business models and beyond – is critical for transforming our built environment for a cleaner, greener future.
And we can’t forget the role of human behaviour in achieving clean growth. This includes everything from how people use the buildings they live and work in to the pre-conceptions and beliefs that influence how organisations plan projects and engage with new technology.
A Systems-level Challenge
Deficiencies in systems-level coordination, stemming from a fragmented industry and disconnect between stakeholders, present challenges around integrating innovative clean energy and water-related technologies.
“Systems-level fragmentation reduces the capacity for trust-building and evidence-sharing”Prof. Rafael Sacks
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Digital twins, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and new materials, are key to tackling excessive water and energy consumption. However, because of fragmentation and a lack of evidence sharing within the built environment system, organisations are failing to engage and build trust in these solutions. If innovation is seen as a risk then nothing will change.
A New Alliance for Water and Energy Innovation
We aim to tackle the challenge of integrating clean innovation into the built environment through a new cross-sector, multidisciplinary alliance that takes human behaviour and structural coordination challenges as key. WEBS - the Water and Energy in Built Systems Innovation Alliance - is launching with initial funding from the British Council Wohl Clean Growth Alliance.
The WEBS alliance will explore how approaches, including those drawn from artificial intelligence and behavioural science, can help improve the resilience, sustainability, and performance of energy and water resources.
WEBS will aim to tackle structural issues and behaviour-based barriers whose impact and responsibility sit at the whole-of-system level, lying beyond any one sector or organisation. These include a prevailing construction project and procurement approach that fragments industry that causes organisations to overestimate risks associated with new technologies and processes, and creates difficulty accessing information about new approaches.
Events, research and network-building to arrive at implementable, scalable technology, policy, finance- and behaviour-based solutions are planned over the next year. WEBS welcomes participation from industry, research, startups, VC, and policy.
See our news story about the launch of WEBS here.