Digital Twin technology set to transform New York’s historic Brooklyn Navy Yard

Source: press release, 1 September 2021

Digital Twin technology set to transform New York’s historic Brooklyn Navy Yard (photo: BNYDC)
Digital Twin technology set to transform New York’s historic Brooklyn Navy Yard (photo: BNYDC)

A ground-breaking project at the iconic Brooklyn Navy Yard site in New York City will show how a Digital Twin platform enables buildings of any size, type, or age to significantly cut operating costs and carbon emissions.

An Ernst and Young report confirms that Digital Twins help commercial property and infrastructure owners reduce operating costs by a massive 35%, improve productivity by 20% and cut emissions by 50-100%.

Furthermore, ABIresearch tech intelligence suggests city planners and building asset owners are set to save a staggering USD 280 billion through Digital Twin technology over the coming years. This is in line with the US Government’s “Build Back Better” programme and its new USD 3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

The New York City Brooklyn Navy Yard project starts Digital Twin pioneer Cityzenith’s global “Clean Cities – Clean Future” initiative to implement the company’s SmartWorldOS™ software platform in major cities around the world committed to achieving carbon neutrality.

NYC took the lead through an alliance between Cityzenith (CZ), NYC 2030 District, and Agile Fractal Grid (AFG) to transform the energy footprint of the 225-acre (91-hectare) Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Phoenix and several other cities will soon follow the ‘Big Apple’s’ example and join the Clean Cities – Clean Future initiative. The announcement of the forward-looking navy yard project comes at a time when major American cities, including New York City, Washington DC and Los Angeles, are pledging to eliminate all emissions by 2050.

Cityzenith founder and CEO Michael Jansen is delighted with the ambitious Brooklyn Navy Yard opportunity. He says, “We are honoured to start our initiative in New York City with NYC 2030 District and energy resilience provider AFG. Cities produce more than 75% of the world’s carbon emissions (source: UN), and their buildings account for 50-70% of that – the figure could be as high as 80% in Manhattan. That makes buildings the single biggest polluter on the planet. Incredibly, of the 5.9 million commercial office buildings in United States totalling over 100 billion ft., fewer than 100,000 are green buildings (1.7%), and only 500 (0.008%) are net-zero buildings.”

“Here’s the big challenge we’re addressing – for commercial property owners, there is no single path to getting to net-zero emissions, so they don’t move. Achieving net-zero emissions in buildings requires simultaneous deployment of multiple strategies, including real time energy monitoring, onsite renewable power generation, and the purchase of carbon offsets. Property owners need a clear predictable engineering solution and financial structure,” he continues.

“Today, many property owners turn to green building retrofit consulting services which are labor-intensive, costly, and not risk-free. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Digital Twin project will seek to automate these currently manual services in a single easy-to-use solution that is more comprehensive, more accurate, and much less expensive. Digital Twin technology’s unparalleled ability to aggregate, visualise, and analyse 3D (space) + 4D (time) data and correlate efficiencies among multiple systems is ideal to solve this problem, providing an optimised net-zero building engineering solution that makes financial sense. This is what the market has needed for a long time – a green building calculator that any property can easily use,” says Jansen.

“Our goal is to show how an investment of USD 0.10 per square foot will unlock USD 3-5 per square foot in savings with a shortened payback schedule of 3-5 years on retrofit investments. We have a long way to go and a lot to do to get to carbon neutrality in our cities, and historically there just haven’t been any platform tools to help us get there. That’s why we launched the Clean Cities – Clean Future initiative. We have the answers our cities in America need to fulfil their climate promises and put words into action. We hope this foundational ‘Smart District’ Digital Twin project in Brooklyn will set an example for the rest of New York and the country,” Jansen adds.

NYC 2030 District Chairman Haym Gross responds, “We are proud to partner with Cityzenith to develop the Digital Twin model of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Bldg.77, a one million square-foot warehouse (equivalent to 21 football fields) recently renovated for commercial and manufacturing use. NYC 2030 District, a non-profit partnership, will work with Cityzenith, Brooklyn Navy Yard, CUNY Building Performance Lab, Buildee and others as a template for the district’s partners.”

“The Digital Twin, to be produced for a group of navy yard buildings, systems and infrastructure, will provide Brooklyn Navy Yard with the capability to comprehensively monitor building performance and plan energy sustainability and climate resilience projects. Expanding the model to the surrounding area will demonstrate the potential for including neighbouring properties and facilities in community-scale sustainable projects and urban-scale innovative planning,” Gross adds.

Energy resilience and security company AFG CEO John. Reynolds says, “We are so pleased to be working with Cityzenith on the Digital Twin for the New York City area, focusing first on the innovation complex at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The plan is to expand the initial project for a wider roll out across the entire country, to transform energy security and infrastructure.”