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How AI and LLMs will transform the way designers interact with data

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By Phanos Hadjikyriakou

· 5 min read

Artificial intelligence, particularly with Large Language Models (LLMs) and generative AI, is changing the way we handle data in the built environment. It’s making sustainability data easy to understand and use, helping industry stakeholders make environmentally friendly decisions.

The dawn of AI in sustainability

AI and LLMs are revolutionising how we handle environmental and product data in construction, making complex sustainability insights more understandable for everyone involved, from architects to managers.

Generative AI simplifies sustainability data, making it easier for all to use and promoting inclusive sustainable development.

The evolution of language models for environmental insights

Moving from rule-based systems to neural networks has greatly advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), boosting data analysis accuracy and our understanding of environmental impacts.

NLP, enhanced by AI, now interprets vast environmental data, offering profound insights into sustainability challenges and solutions.

Neural networks: The backbone of climate analytics?

Neural networks are key to AI’s analysis of complex data on building materials and their environmental impacts, outlining the basic principles and their significance for sustainability.

Word embeddings in neural networks map relationships between materials, properties, and environmental effects, enhancing our understanding of sustainability in construction.

Advancements in AI: Transformers leading the way

Transformers have changed how we analyze data sequences, making a big difference in sustainability and climate impact analysis by providing deeper insights.

The attention mechanism in transformers offers detailed context for sustainability data, giving a more nuanced understanding of environmental issues. For climate action, it’s key to prepare and customize datasets for the built environment, focusing on product lifecycles and impact assessments to train LLMs effectively.

Tweaking model parameters improves LLMs’ predictions on environmental impacts, highlighting the role of hyperparameter tuning in making accurate sustainability forecasts.

Pioneering research and cutting-edge applications

Current research is focused on improving how LLMs understand environmental data, with breakthroughs enhancing sustainability in construction.


LLMs are being used from design to operation in the construction industry, driving significant progress in sustainability through smarter building design, material selection, and operational efficiency.

They provide key insights, helping stakeholders from policy-makers to project managers make informed, environmentally friendly decisions, optimizing resources, cutting emissions, and boosting sustainability efforts.

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Phanos Hadjikyriakou is the Co-Founder & CEO of 2050 Materials where they focus on raising awareness and helping companies build more sustainably by using more environmentally friendly materials and practices. He is also an ETH Zurich environmental engineer graduate and versed graphic designer.

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