Digital Twins for Smart Buildings
Using Twins during Design, Construction and Operation
The Architecture, Engineering and Building (AEC) industry tends to use multiple disparate technologies, although projects rely on collaboration between many different parties. Building operation after construction is often still dependent on 2D drawings and manuals in paper format.
Buildings are one of the most common targets for digital twins. They are big consumers of energy and the target of much legislation around the world requiring them to become ‘net zero’. Among many other features, using the digital twin to track energy consumption and make sense of the very large amounts of data that can be generated makes smart buildings excellent digital twin candidates.
Beginning with the architect and building engineer, all of their 3D tools can be sync’d into a single digital twin and delivered to the client through a web browser.
During construction the contractors can also collaborate using the twin and upload building documents such as manuals and warranties. All of this can be included in the building ‘close out’ as a neat way to deliver the project to the client.
Once the building is operating, Building Management System (BMS) data can be integrated to show real time operation. Third party asset and maintenance systems can also be accessed through the twin. If building analytic software is being used that also can be integrated into the single user interface.
Finally, suitable data visualization techniques can be used to show heat maps of occupancy, compare simulated energy consumption vs actual, highlight the areas generating the most alerts, and more.