Data could be collected for the purpose of reducing a building’s carbon footprint, for example, to make a building resource-efficient during use.
This starts with planning. Using digital versions of products with a full suite of data attached – as Kingspan produces in its digital product library – designers might model the level of natural light in a room throughout a day, reducing the need for electrical lighting. Creating a 3D simulation allows designers to coordinate structural, mechanical and environmental data, and spot problems which would be missed in 2D. Likewise, simulating the construction process allows project managers to identify errors or potential delays which would lead to increased costs and site waste.
Digitalisation is key to the ambition for autonomous, or "smart”, buildings: buildings with systems that monitor equipment and regulate their operation for maximum efficiency. A digital model, when linked to a physical asset, can respond to data on a building’s performance in real time. This enables diagnostics, dashboards and predictive capability to prevent failures, as well as improving well-being and reducing energy use.
As digital twins advance into the realm of autonomous, they will automatically adjust lighting, shading, airflow, temperature, air quality, and other parameters. They will diagnose and heal faults, and balance occupant well-being and energy use targets without any interference from human operators.