The importance of monitoring a building’s performance in real time gained extra attention in the last year as buildings were running with a decreased occupancy yet any energy savings were elusive if not imagined. Traditional operational processes to save energy were still running as expected but doing so without people in the building was a waste of energy and money. Innovative companies addressing this challenge were recently recognized in the just-released Climate-Tech Startup Landscape, where Envio Systems was listed for increasing resource efficiency in building construction and reducing unnecessary emissions.
Digital twins are the key to efficiently running buildings and making a positive impact on global carbon levels. Digital twins, now recognized for their ability to monitor a building’s performance in real time, are a virtual replica of a building. These replicas store and display data, both static and dynamic, and leverage AI, IoT, blockchain, APIs, virtual reality, and more. These digital twins were born from BIM (building information modeling) which is very common in today’s design and construction industry. Fed nonstop by real time data, digital twins are the result of the metrics and analytics that BIM started. This allows building teams to effectively and efficiently make decisions about present and future problems and performance.
The global digital twin market was valued at almost four billion US dollars in 2019 and is expected to reach $35B by 2025. Gartner, a leading research group, predicts that half of large companies will use a digital twin in some capacity by the end of this year. As population increases, cities become denser and the effects and threats of climate change grow, it’s clear that buildings (which account for about 40% of carbon emissions around the world) have a responsibility to make a change.
Digital twins create a playground for testing and experimentation. Set up just like the building in question, building teams can test and experiment with new processes or automation and see the results without having to make the changes in real life and hope for the best. This is important as too often well-intentioned changes can have unintended consequences later on but by playing out scenarios ahead of time, those consequences can be avoided. Digital twins allow building teams with goals in sustainability, performance or cost-savings, to tweak processes until they’ve reached the perfect combination – not too unlike a chef in the kitchen but without the food waste.
The recipe to make a powerful and capable digital twin is, of course, rooted in the technology integrated throughout the building. Plus, the virtual model can only be as accurate and intelligent as the data that it is fed. This is impactful in two ways: one, the data must be precise and accurate, and two, the model must have access to as much data as possible. Fortunately, there is an opulence of data in and generated by buildings whether from HVAC, lighting, and access management systems to occupancy and indoor air quality sensors. Sensors and platforms are much more intelligent than they were just a few years ago and this level of sophistication leads to digital twins powered by complex, deep data.
With the right ingredients, buildings can use digital twins to readjust systems to peak energy efficiency and decrease carbon emissions. Additionally, they can also be part of an even bigger movement – using digital twins to make cities more sustainable. As these digital replicas optimize themselves and become connected to other buildings and city systems, we can enable cities that are truly smart, operating with more efficiency and regard to climate impact.
But, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves – we have to take it one step at a time to get to this level. Fortunately, the first step in creating the high-level digital twins we need for better buildings and greater sustainability practices worldwide is already available. Because we understand that your building is dynamic, we created a smart solution that takes into consideration how you interact with your building to keep it in balance. We have integrated continual monitoring and analysis so that our system learns, predicts, and optimizes indoor environments in real-time to enable the interactive, energy efficient, and fully autonomous building of the future.
Optimizing your building with a digital twin doesn’t need to be an intimidating process. Let us show you where to get started and what the positive sustainability effects of planning ahead can mean for you in the years to come.