1B: Buildings Old and New

Evolving Digital Twins to Optimise Whole Life Performance of Buildings, Fiona Bradley (Professor of Structural Engineering Design, University of Glasgow)

Moving towards net zero will mean step-changes in the way we construct, maintain and power our buildings and infrastructure Building better first-time round will ease the burden of having to decarbonise in the future. Transformational changes will need to happen in the Construction Industry to accelerate the shift away from a system that delivers the cheapest outcome to one with maximum value to society.

One potential innovation could be the adoption of Digital Twins across the sector and one project that has been funded by IUK is “eDigit2Life” - a collaborative R&D project that is developing and trialling a digital twin at the University of Glasgow to inform and improve operational performance, as well as cut carbon within buildings on the campus.

The University of Glasgow has declared a climate emergency and has set out a climate change action plan to achieve carbon neutrality and resilience, and contribute more generally to the sustainability agenda. The University wants to ensure that their estate and infrastructure is optimally organised to reduce their carbon footprint and minimise harm to the environment. It is working therefore across multiple University departments and services in a cross-disciplinary manner utilising this project as a strategic carbon reduction pilot, which leads and innovates on the use of cutting-edge digital technology.

The eDigiT2Life project is a fundamental stepping-stone in helping us to fully understand the performance of our buildings so we can make informed decisions about how to manage them effectively and make tangible progress to net zero carbon.  

The project partnership is developing a methodology to evolve a model created at design stage to meet building compliance codes (i.e. energy performance regulations, environmental rating, etc.) into a fully calibrated digital twin of the building for its operational lifecycle.  

This approach is being trialled on the newly constructed James McCune Smith Learning Hub, a £90 million state-of-the-art learning and teaching facility located at the heart of the University of Glasgow’s Gilmorehill campus. Data from the Building Management System, sub-meters and stationary and wearable IoT sensors installed across the building will be streamed into the digital twin, constantly updating the model in real time, so that informed decisions can be made on how to optimise energy performance, indoor air quality and the comfort of the building users.

The knowledge gained from this new build project will be transferred to inform energy efficiency measures being used in other existing buildings across the campus and it is hoped this project will act as a flagship for other Universities and other asset owners both nationally and across the world.

Fabric Improvements for Traditional Buildings, Moses Jenkins (Historic Environment Scotland)

This talk will examine methods and materials for the improvement of the fabric of traditionally constructed buildings. Potential improvement measures for the thermal performance of walls, roof spaces, floors, and windows will all be discussed. This will be informed by the wide-ranging programme of on-site testing conducted by Historic Environment Scotland over the last 12 years. The approach required to upgrading traditional buildings needs to take into account the specific moisture and ventilation requirements of traditional buildings, all of which will be discussed in the talk.