UrbanAI for Green Buildings

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Objectives of the service

The biggest challenge in terms of green buildings is data integration into a common digital infrastructure as well as data gathering/aggregation from different service providers: energy, natural gas, water, satellite data, 3D model, etc. all in one place, while respecting all GDPR rules. There are no common and standardized ways to monitor green buildings. Furthermore, there are no common data models or standardized protocols for green buildings monitoring. Also, green buildings are mostly monitored by companies from sensors located inside the buildings and not from outside. In general, the green building industry needs a solution for area monitoring for the surrounding green building. It can be based on data fusion of remote sensing data with available green buildings external data sets. Drone imaging including thermal images of green buildings will bring added value regarding heat leaks information and conditions of insulation that influences the internal state of green buildings. It can help green buildings to solve the issue of data standardization since all satellite, drone or traffic will be in one place in the Green buildings Urban AI software.

Users and their needs

The cities of Tampere (Finland) and Tartu (Estonia) have committed to be involved as test pilot customers in this feasibility study. They are interested in applying innovative technologies such as earth observation data for accessing up to date state of green buildings and built environment. This will allow them to monitor the state of the urban areas remotely and have the full picture of urban environments in terms of environmental, energy, infrastructure state of urban areas. Proposed feasibility study by Zero Gravity will help the City of Tampere in its journey to decarbonization by 2030. The data aggregation and environmental impact calculator, which are part of Green Building Urban AI, will help Tampere to estimate emissions for sustainable housing constructions and develop nature-based solutions for infrastructure construction maintenance to increase the urban nature within the city to compensate the emissions as well as increase the diversity of urban nature and the comfort of residential areas.

By providing building digital twin from earth observation data and city energy grid, the City of Tartu can better plan and find location for green energies initiative and help to put milestones and monitor the progress towards zero emission city development while monitoring past and current emission state. 

Service/ system concept

The system architecture is centred around a user interface that takes the form of a web interface. This web interface communicates with the backend using several technologies. The original data coming from satellite, drone or other sources is stored in various format and is fetched by the backend using various protocol. It is the role of our backend to translate this data into a common format and transpose it in the same way towards the user interface. The analytics and AI algorithm is also located on the backend.

Space Added Value

We utilize optical satellite data as well as air quality data, urban temperature, from the Copernicus/Sentinel program and local sensor readouts from city municipalities and green buildings, high-resolution data from Airbus (e.g. Pleiades).  City energy data and optical drone imaging data is added to the data fusion. The plan is also to utilize thermal footage/RPAS sensor data provided by piloting cities as well as to utilize GNSS if possible. These data sources merged together with satellite imagery will provide closer to real time situational picture and increase the accuracy of green building digital twin as well as provide multidimensional information/knowledge layers of the area. 

Current Status

Figure: 3D model from the drone flight in Tartu Green buildings area. Data is acquired on 20.11.2020 from drone flights done by Zero Gravity Oy

 Image credit : Cedric Bodet

Figure: 3D model from the drone flight in Tartu Green buildings area. Data is acquired on 20.11.2020 from drone flights done by Zero Gravity Oy.

 Image credit : Cedric Bodet

 Figure: prototype interface visualization for Green buildings UrbanAI developed by Zero Gravity Oy

Based on user requirements and pilot cities feedback, Green buildings UrbanAI prototype software prototype is developed for the city of Tartu.  The prototype integrates several layers that have been flagged as interesting by the users include:

  • Air quality from satellite data (CO2, NO2, CH4, SO2, PM10, PM2.5 and available time series)
  • Data fusion of available satellite & drone data for green buildings 
  • Urban Surface temperature
  • Landcover
  • Drone imaging

Prototype goes beyond data aggregator and has traffic, sensor and environmental analytical dashboards that user can interact with. Dashboards utilize traffic, energy, air quality data provided from the city of Tartu and Tampere from the local city sensors network.

Prime Contractor(s)


Status Date

Updated: 04 December 2020 - Created: 04 December 2020