Geo Week News

July 5, 2022

Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge To Partner With Cityzenith On New Project

The partnership will utilize digital twins towards goals around decarbonization.
Photo by Daisy Naranjo

At every level of government, from international organizations like the UN down to individual municipalities, decarbonization and sustainability in general is a main point of focus, and that is particularly true regarding urban areas. Estimates indicate that nearly three-quarters of global emissions currently come from cities, and somewhere from 50 to 70 percent of those city emissions come from buildings. Los Angeles is one of the cities looking to address those issues head on, and their Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge (LABBC) organization has recently announced a partnership with Cityzenith to use the latter’s digital twin technology.

The partnership, part of Cityzenith’s Clean Cities – Clean Future program, is going to begin in Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill area, and it will utilize the SmartWorldOS digital twin product from Cityzenith to create digital twins of the buildings in the area. With the technology, owners of the buildings will be able to reference these digital twins created from their spaces and simulate different scenarios and ideas, finding the optimum financial path forward in order to meet the zero net emissions goal laid out by the city

The LABBC is part of a larger Better Buildings Challenge group nationally in the United States, run by the Department of Energy, whose work challenges organizations to reduce their energy use by at least 20 percent over the next 10 years. The larger organization includes participation from 46 local cities and six states, as well as a bevy of private companies, who not only share their progress towards their goal but also share solutions for others to potentially follow. LABBC specifically is aiming to reduce energy and water usage by 22 percent by 2025, the mark needed to remain on the path to zero net emissions by 2050.

Los Angeles becomes the latest city to partner with Cityzenith as part of the latter’s Clean Cities – Clean Future program, whose participation has now reached double digit municipalities. The program started with a pilot program that included work in New York City, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh, and has grown to include other cities including now Los Angeles as well as Las Vegas. In the program, using Cityzenith’s SmartWorldOS platform, the goal is for city planners, building owners, and developers to see a 35 percent drop in operating costs, a 20 percent increase in productivity, and a 50 to 100 percent cut to overall emissions.

The LABBC will be utilizing the SmartWorldOS platform to build and manage their digital twins. It’s the first full release of an Urban Operating System (UOS) from Cityzenith, and is particularly useful for a group like LABBC given its ability to integrate with a variety of data formats and tools. With so many individual groups making up LABBC, that kind of integration is key. SmartWorldOS can be utilized by anything from managers of a single building, a campus, and entire smart cities, and can also be used for moving assets as well, such as people or cars. 

For zero emission goals to truly be met on the timeline laid out by the experts, cities – and specifically buildings in cities – are going to be a focal point. Michael Jansen, the CEO and Founder of Cityzenith, notes that there is a need to decarbonise almost six million buildings in the US over the next 10 years, and says, “A building’s data can be the key to enabling emissions reduction at scale, citywide.” It is that logic that led to this partnership in the first place, with LABBC director David Hodgins noting that with this kind of collaboration, “The wider potential for the rest of Los Angeles, the state of California, and nationally and globally, is enormous.”

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