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smart buidings

A central nervous system for buildings Helmut Macht, CTO, Siemens Building Technologies

Networked, energy self-sufficient, adaptable and, above all, smart — that is what the building of the future should be. Rapidly advancing digitalisation in building technology will soon make this vision a reality.


hether it is ICT, the automobile industry, media,

In essence, the building is constructed twice: first on the computer

entertainment, finance or pharmaceuticals, the

(virtually) and then in the real world (physically). This is referred

digital transformation has spread to virtually

to as the ‘digital twins’.

every sector and begun to change markets with

Since planning for the various disciplines takes place at the same

new competitors and business models. Now

time, it is possible to create coordinated multidiscipline solutions.

digitalisation is taking hold in building technol-

In the past, this was difficult to achieve because of the project

ogy, fundamentally changing the way buildings will be planned,

award practices in use. Virtual planning and the use of a common

constructed, used and, ultimately, managed.

data model allows early verification even of detailed variants in

The potential offered by digitalisation is enormous even if you

order to optimise the building.

look at nothing but energy consumption: buildings not only account

What impact does the choice of a specific type of facade have on

for more than 40% of global energy consumption and a majority of

the construction and investment costs as well as on maintenance,

all CO2 emissions, they are also one of the largest expense items

cleaning and user comfort later on? How does an additional door

in a company’s balance sheet. Operating costs make up almost

affect future evacuation scenarios, comfort and heating costs?

80% of the total costs across the entire life cycle. For this rea-

If such questions can be answered before ground is broken, it

son, efficient, automatic monitoring, as well as control of lighting,

becomes possible to make construction projects more cost effec-

ventilation, heating and security systems, are important levers. In

tive, straightforward and sustainable and to operate buildings more

new construction, this has already become a reality. But the true

safely, comfortably and efficiently.

revolution is taking place behind the scenes.

In the past, end-to-end building information modelling failed because the technical requirements could not be met. Cloud com-

The digital twin

puting — virtually unlimited computing power and storage capacity

In contrast to today’s practice of doing planning work while con-

as well as uninterrupted availability of networks and end devices

struction has already begun, Building Information Modelling (BIM)

— has eliminated the obstacles that made implementation difficult

is centred on planning the entire building with all its disciplines

before. At least in theory. Broad-based adoption is still hampered

all at once and then simulating, testing and, if needed, correcting

by the fragmentation of the various sectors encompassing many

it in a virtual data model. This makes it easy to eliminate errors

stakeholders with different interests. The companies and people

and inconsistencies in the software — instead of having to do it at

who work on the individual processes or disciplines within a build-

the construction site where it is a much more laborious process.

ing have traditionally acted independently. The close coordination

26 Sustainability Matters - Apr/May 2017


Profile for Westwick-Farrow Media

Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...