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Digital twin helps University of Liverpool cut energy consumption by 23%

The University of Liverpool have achieved operational cost savings of £25,000 and energy consumption reductions of 23% at a campus building using a new tool designed to optimise the operational performance of buildings.

Glasgow-based climate technology firm, IES, have been working with the university to evaluate the impact of an ongoing HVAC refurbishment project in real-time using a tool known as IES Live which connects live operational data from a building to a calibrated digital twin.

A digital twin of the campus building was created to enable the team to evaluate its performance and identify the improvements needed to enhance efficiency.

This was used to test various refurbishment scenarios and identify those that would be most effective in generating energy, carbon, and cost savings. Once the selected improvements had been made to the building, the digital twin was upgraded by connecting live data from the building management system and energy meters, enabling the model to be calibrated to match measured data on an hourly basis. The updated model highlighted additional interventions to optimise operational performance and move towards decarbonisation.

The university’s facilities management team is now using the digital twin to continually monitor and improve the building, tracking performance and gaining improvement insights for energy, carbon, and comfort. Additionally, the ongoing impact of the refurbishment can be measured and verified.

The live feature also helps to prevent operational drift, whereby the performance of building systems degrades over time, as any issues will be flagged and can be fixed before they begin to have an impact.

Replicable across the campus, the university plans to continue collaborating with IES to create digital twins for three more buildings in the next phase of work.

Tony Small, Head of Engineering Services at the University of Liverpool said: ‘Working with IES on this project has given us detailed insight into the impact of our refurbishment work and will enable us to continually monitor and update our operational systems to ensure that the building is operating efficiently. With building use, occupants and settings altering frequently, having access to this level of data means we can make informed decisions on improvements and ensure optimum performance doesn’t come at the expense of occupant comfort.’

Valeria Ferrando, Associate Director at IES, said: ‘Improving the operation of buildings is key to mitigating energy and climate risk, cutting costs and emissions, meeting sustainability objectives and increasing resilience, not to mention being a vital part of a successful net zero strategy. However, you can’t improve what you can’t measure and there was a gap in the market for a tool that can connect live operational data, providing continuous insights and giving energy management teams a holistic view of how their building is performing. ‘

‘It’s been a pleasure to work with the University of Liverpool to pilot IES Live and enable them to evaluate the effectiveness of their retrofit measures, verify predicted results and allow informed decisions to be made on building improvements. We look forward to replicating the work across the campus.’

 

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