BIMcollab Twin | Digital twin as a live real estate file

Complete digital property files with (static) information about buildings are nothing new. But an increasing number of systems can now also process dynamic sensor information of a building in property files and visualize this in models. This can contribute significantly to the efficient management of a building. What if a building could even become ‘self-managing’? Developments in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Twins are here.

What is a Digital Twin of a building?

A Digital Twin is the digital version of a real building. As more and more buildings are equipped with sensors that send data to a Digital Twin, property owners can receive real-time information about the building from that Digital Twin. Think of information about the temperature in rooms or the heating system in the building. Or even the number of hours the lights have been on or the amount of fresh air that flows through ventilation ducts. But how are you going to process all that information and connect it with static information from your designs, models and processes? How will you secure and store this information?

Sensors for signalling living environment

Let’s consider an example regarding ventilation systems. In new construction projects, a fully automatic ventilation system is built-in in the design. In 90 percent of existing buildings, a reference value is the basis for this design and is used for controlling the ventilation systems. Hence, most buildings have a heating and climate system that is designed and set according to reference values as stated in the Schedule of Requirements. The system does not work with factual measured values like CO2 and temperature, but from static determined values. As a result, in undesirable circumstances, system intervention is often (too) late and the system either provides too much or too little ventilation. After all, the system is not properly tuned to the required temperature and ventilation. This also leads to unnecessary energy consumption.

How a Digital Twin can improve the living environment

Purchasing a new climate system for a new building or replacing an outdated system during renovation is expensive. However, Signaling systems are relatively inexpensive these days and the their options are increasing thanks to smart innovations. These signaling systems can provide insights into whether the CO2 level is too high or will be too high in the near future and whether action is required from the system. For example, the system can automatically control whether the heating should be turned up or down.

What’s next? Predictive Digital Twin!

The innovation of Digital Twins is moving fast. In the near future installation systems of buildings can be controlled automatically from countless sensors. They thus contribute to an optimal indoor climate. Developments are even moving towards the Predictive Digital Twin in which sensors not only control, but even predict the smartest moment to start the heating (bad weather is coming), service the air treatment (there have already been x number of hours at maximum treated air and the filters x must be replaced within y days). A predictive Digital Twin could even tell you it is necessary to replace the lighting in rooms x, y and z on floors 1, 5 and 7, as the maximum number of burning hours will be reached in 10 days. The system can then automatically send a work order to a technician, who can carry out his job and report when he is finished.

It might seem far away, but there are already Proofs of Concept in various buildings like The Edge in Amsterdam. Smart building solutions are ideal for property managers who place a high priority on sustainability. Don’t forget how close the future is.

Looking for a solution to manage your building data? BIMcollab Twin offers a Digital Twin platform for model-based document and asset management to store, manage and share building and infrastructure data.