Decarbonisation: The race to zero emissions has begun

Deliver on Zero-Carbon Targets

Turn on the news. Open a newspaper. We are witnessing the impact of climate change throughout the world today. As companies, communities, cities, countries and citizens – we need to avert from the norm and make real, substantial change. The technology to make such change is here. We call it the Intelligent Communities Lifecycle (ICL). Find out how it can make your zero-carbon commitments a reality. The clock is ticking… 

The Role of Digital Twins

Smart communities are the building blocks for zero-carbon cities. But this requires understanding of the complex interactions between buildings, energy, water, waste and transport. Digital Twins present exciting opportunities to navigate the route to carbon zero, sustainable and healthier communities. They respond and behave like their real world counterparts, function as problem-solvers and translate data into essential decision support information to improve performance and reduce risk.

A Complete Zero-Carbon Process

With so many Net-Zero targets now set, the question is how do we ensure we reach them? Our experience over the last 25 years, in improving the performance of countless buildings, is that decarbonisation is very possible and readily achievable through Digital Twin technology that engages and empowers all to make a difference.

The IES Digital Twin works across the time-line of any community; managing the present, road-mapping the future, and learning from/logging the past.

Step 1: Create “Digital Twin” Baseline

Don’t just rely on generalised benchmark data or historic consumption figures affected by weather anomalies. Create a baseline model of your building or buildings that responds exactly how they do in real-life. The IES Digital Twin baseline model takes into account operational sensor and energy data, weather patterns and the actual thermal performance of the structure itself based on materials, HVAC systems, what it’s being used for and occupancy patterns. This Digital Twin model will become your most valuable digital asset in the fight against climate change, evolving and changing as your building(s) go through the Zero-Carbon process.

Step 2: Optimize Control & Operation

Attack your quick wins first and make savings that cost you nothing. Investigate all the time-series operational data from your building or buildings. If you have an estate or portfolio understand which buildings are performing badly and where your attention is best focused. Then really understand where control and operational changes can eliminate energy waste and/or improve occupant comfort and wellbeing on individual buildings. You can revisit this step as much as needed throughout the life of the building(s) in order to stop operational drift and continually improve the performance of your estate. 

Step 3: Shallow Retrofit/Deep Retrofit

Use the Digital Twin model to virtually test, through simulation, the impact light-touch improvements or in-depth Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) might have. You might want to look at individual buildings in isolation or investigate the impact of mandating the same change across multiple buildings. Each option can be explored individually, or how a collection of improvements will interact together assessed. Evaluate which are the best options for you depending on your budget, building constraints, KPIs, ROI or required payback period. Implement the best options and then check, using the model, that the improvements were achieved through a Measurement and Verification process.

Step 4: Implement Local Energy Network

At the end of the previous steps, your project should have a significantly reduced energy consumption; next, you are looking to meet as much of that reduced demand from local sharing as possible. Explore interactions and connections with other buildings or local resources, and discover opportunities for sharing energy across the local network. Whether that is in the form of heat, cooling or power. A Digital Twin can help here with understanding the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of different assets and the network as a whole, as well as mapping out interactions and matching supply and demand.

Step 5: Integrate Renewable Generation

Finally, the last step is to look at on-site generation opportunities through renewable energy production. The Digital Twin can identify suitable renewable energy strategies at the building level to part meet demand. Then you’ll want to look at the site as a whole, analysing its total energy demand, and seeing what site-level solutions will enable you to take that final step to Zero-Carbon. As Digital Twins bring together Energy Demand profiles, weather and site information with physics-based simulation of renewable technology performance, it is possible for them to calculate projected renewable generation profiles across the year and at different times of the day, so you can work out whether energy generation with sufficiently meet demand, and if storage solutions are required.

Gather & Visualise Data

Data is the building block of any Digital Twin and while there is much readily available data for single buildings or entire communities, it is not easy to incorporate this all into one system and make it accessible at the touch of a button for visualisation and interrogation. The IES ICL can accommodate any level of data, including:

  • Client held excel, word or csv files
  • Publically available OpenData, such as Open Street Map, that provides building type, floor area and use information
  • Time-series operational data from Building management Systems (BMS), smart meters, IOT sensors or utility bills
  • Physics-based building information from BIM or COBIE/IFC files or shape files from GIS systems
Empower & Engage

We spend, on average, 90% of our time in a building. Therefore, it is important we consider how our buildings impact on all of the people that use them. A Digital Twin works off shared knowledge and data to empower everyone - whether citizens, occupants, owners, and building or estates managers. Not only does it provide dashboards and tools to drive operational efficiencies, track progress towards targets, measure and verify results, and test which retrofit or improvement Investments are the best for that situation. It also engages with building occupants and citizens to guide action and inspire change, gather feedback on proposals/policies/targets, and inform on progress made.

zero carbon process graph

Got a Project in Mind?

Ask us how the ICL can help you reach Net Zero.

Please complete the form below. An IES representative will review your needs and you will receive an email / call to discuss further.

Deliver on Zero-Carbon Targets

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