Digital Twin: the SmartWins Project
First digital twin training course to assess energy performance of buildings
The SmartWins project, financed by the European Commission, aims to strengthen the capacity of Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania) in research and development activities on the topic of digital twin in the construction sector, and on methods and technologies for assessing the energy performance of buildings. The aim is to facilitate the transition to a smart, sustainable and zero-emission built environment.
Politecnico di Milano, represented by the Department of Energy, is among the project's five global partners. Our role is to contribute to the project by sharing knowledge and training activities.
Training activities have recently begun. Professors, researchers and laboratory technicians took turns with a series of speeches and lectures on key topics related to energy efficiency in buildings. The quality of confined environments; electrically and thermally activated heat pump technology; RELAB laboratory activities; technologies for controlled contamination environments; underfloor heating systems combined with displacement ventilation systems; assessment of indoor environmental conditions; phygital and cognitive buildings were discussed.
But what are digital twins? They are digital representations of real physical objects or objects to be built. Their purpose is to provide a digital representation useful for design, implementation, simulation, integration, verification, monitoring, maintenance, etc.
The main parts that constitute a "digital twin" are: the physical object and the context in which it operates, their digital representation and the communication channel between the physical and digital object.
Among the various sectors where the "digital twin" approach can offer great benefits is the construction sector, allowing operators to simulate various scenarios and assess their impact on building performance. For example, simulating the impact of using different building materials, technologies for heating, cooling, ventilation or visual comfort. This allows the most efficient solutions to be identified in the design phase and control parameters to be optimised in the operational phase.
This approach is not yet fully developed or widespread in the built environment sector, but it has the potential to revolutionise the way we design, construct and operate buildings. Communication and collaboration between the various parties involved in the building lifecycle can thus be improved: by providing a common platform for data sharing and collaboration, errors can be reduced, efficiency can be improved and it can be ensured that everyone is working towards the same goals.
The other project partners are: KTU, Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), Contecht, Innotrope.