Avineon and Tensing power digital twins for Belgian housing renovation

12 April 2023 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

A Belgian consortium of researchers and technology companies is working to use data driven digital twins to enhance the way how houses are renovated to meet the country’s climate goals. Consultants from Avineon and Tensing are powering the project.

The global built environment sector is the source of almost 40% of global carbon emissions. As a result, a great deal of scrutiny is now directed towards new projects, and ensuring that buildings created today reduce the scale and source of carbon emissions generated during their lifespans.

As important as this is, however, it does not address the buildings which have already been built in the past.

Avineon and Tensing power digital twins for Belgian housing renovation

More than 40% of Europe’s current building stock was constructed at a time when energy efficiency was considered less important than it is now. As a result, many buildings are no longer conducive to meeting international and national climate objectives – leaving housing authorities scrambling to accelerate renovation projects.

That is easier said than done, however. Alongside private owners, housing authorities can face a range of challenges, including ensuring their renovation drive is cost-effective.

Enter digital twin technology, which is playing an increasingly important role in helping housing owners explore – and subsequently design – their options.

A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle. Using a digital twin, organisations can simulate scenario’s, and inject all kinds of intelligent factors to better understand decision-making. As such, digital twinning is playing an increasingly important role in simulating scenarios about the use of buildings in public space, and the resulting political policy options.

Looking to make the most of this technology amid Belgium’s push for its 2050 net-zero goals, DITUR is a project between several of the country’s leading research institutes, universities and industry partners.

To reach its goals, DITUR needs to achieve an annual renovation rate of 3% of its building stock each year.

Avineon and Tensing power digital twins for Belgian housing renovation

Avineon and Tensing

The DITUR consortium is underpinning its decision-making with data-driven methodologies and digital twinning, in this regard supported by consultants from Avineon and Tensing.

US-headquartered Avineon specialises in helping organisations modernise their IT infrastructure, with a focus on the fields of data engineering, application management, data integration and spatial intelligence. In 2020, the company acquired Tensing, a consulting firm specialised in spatial intelligence services.

Within the DITUR consortium, Avineon acts as a partner for 3D modelling. Tensing meanwhile is taking on the role of developing the digital twin infrastructure and data integration processes.

Since the work kicked off, the DITUR project has already yielded a digital twin, consisting of a detailed and accurate 3D model of Belgium’s building stock, enriched with additional geometry of windows, chimneys, solar panels. The model also contains attributes that contain information related to building energy efficiency.

All this building information is accessed through a platform powered by spatial intelligence using mapping software Esri and FME – a geospatial extract, transformation and load software platform. The two solutions in tandem provide a high-performance interface for quick 3D visualisations, queries and analysis of the enriched 3D building data, enabling housing authorities to plan quickly and accurately, as they look to manage building renovations with maximum efficiency.

Commenting on the project, a spokesperson of Avineon and Tensing said: “The digital twin concept and 3D modelling enables better informed decision-making for the different actors in building renovation, including city services, social housing authorities, and homeowners. We are proud to be supporting the consortium realise their goals.”

The DITUR Project

The DITUR consortium partners are AGC, EnergyVille/VITO, IDLab-UGent, IMEC-MICT-UGent, IMEC-SMIT-VUB, June Energy, and Zero Emission Solutions. The project is supported by Flux50 (a member organisation that helps Flanders gain recognition as a smart energy region) and VLAIO (the Flemish government’s Agency for Innovation & Enterprise).