Green Innovations Shaping The Infrastructure

Infrastructure development serves as fuel for India’s journey towards a US$26 trillion economy, as per the India Brand Equity Foundation. India must invest USD $4.5 trillion in infrastructure to ensure proper societal well-being and enhance economic growth. At COP26 held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, India pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and reaching net zero heavily depend on the infrastructure sector. Looking at the present-day situation, infrastructure will be vital as India strives for sustained and equitable growth in Amrit Kaal, or The Era of Elixir, introduced by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the entire nation on India’s 75th Independence Day as a ‘Vision 2047 for New India.’ 

Sustainable infrastructure is crucial to India’s growth, with investment in renewable energy projects, roads, trains, ports, power, and urban infrastructure. The sustainable solutions will lower the country’s carbon footprint and foster a more environmentally friendly energy mix to drive growth in the next few years. As environmental concerns and the urgent need to combat climate change grow, the role of civil engineering in building a greener future has become paramount. Many companies have been able to achieve their goal of a ‘green future’ by following sustainable engineering solutions in infrastructure as follows: 

Tata Power: Install Solar Plants on the Roof 

Rooftops present a lot of empty space that can be used to install solar panels. Many companies have taken such initiatives throughout the world. Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, does it and generates green electricity by using empty spaces in buildings. In 2021, Tata Power spread its programmes across 90 cities in India and produced 421 million watts of electricity, equivalent to nearly 40,000 homes’ electricity used in the USA yearly. In the future, if energy and construction companies use such empty spaces effectively together, electricity bills will be reduced. 

UPS ORION: Improved Transportation Efficiency 

Since infrastructure is also supported by transport planning to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, enhancing transportation efficiency is crucial for organisations like UPS to remain sustainable. As a sustainable engineering solution, UPS adopted an AI system called ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimisation and Navigation), which minimises the number of turns during delivery. ORIAN saves UPS 10 million gallons of fuel annually, contributing to the company’s financial benefit. Additionally, it decreases UPS’s carbon footprint by 100,000 metric tonnes per year, which is equivalent to removing more than 20,000 cars from the roads. 

General Electric Digital Wind Farm: Producing Green Energy Efficiently 

Wind turbine productivity differs from designs, weather conditions, and location geography. Using IoT and digital twin (a cloud-based model) to garner data on each wind turbine helps companies manage their wind turbines in a wind farm more effectively. Today, GE Digital Wind Farm optimises 15,000 turbines using sensors and digital twin technologies. As per the Digital Wind Operations Optimisations report by GE Digital Wind Farm, each wind farm can create up to 10% more green energy, enhancing the worldwide green energy mix. 

Additionally, sustainable material selection is also a key to driving sustainable solutions in infrastructure and reducing environmental impacts. The recycled, locally sourced materials and lower embodied carbon contribute to reduced resource depletion and minimise waste generation in infrastructure development projects, ultimately leading to a more eco-friendly construction industry.  

As urbanisation and infrastructure development expand, adopting sustainable practices is vital to reducing environmental impact and ensuring a healthier planet for future generations. Amidst global uncertainties, increased emphasis on infrastructure-led economic growth ensures India is a substantial global leader in the market. The civil engineering industry in India may lead efforts towards a more sustainable and resilient country via adaptive reuse, innovative approaches, and green certifications. 

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