As every year in the second half of spring, the best Lithuanian BIM projects of 2022 were announced and awarded at the international conference “Digital Construction 2022. Vilnius”. This year, the digital twin of Kaunas city, created by the Center of Smart Cities and Infrastructure of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of KTU won in best BIM smart city category.
Creating virtual city copies or digital city twins is becoming part of the modern world and helping to address many of the challenges of urbanization. Digital twins successfully help to identify and solve problems not only related to, for example, traffic management, spatial or construction planning, but also sustainable energy use and so on.
KTU Center of Smart Cities and Infrastructure has created a digital twin for a part of Kaunas region, a virtual copy of the city, where part of the data is updated in real time. This model accommodates dozens of different projects: semantic BIM models, 3D models with surface geometry and textures based on photogrammetry and LiDar technologies, 360-degree photo fixation, integration of sensor-transmitted data, and more. The model is even used for the development and integration of several research projects with the results of the study process by uploading student-created building models. One example of the use is the search for the best energy solutions for buildings.
“Our university team has created a digital twin for the real city quarter, which provides an accurate 3D image of the existing quarter’s buildings and a detailed analysis of the electricity and heat supply options for the buildings using renewable energy sources. An accurate view of the roofs of the buildings allowed to assess all the real neighborhoods, i. y. shadows cast by buildings, trees, etc. In this way, it was possible to accurately calculate the potential installed capacity of solar power plants and the amount of electricity generated. The team of digital twins has assessed the potential for heat savings by renovating the buildings of the quarter and installing heat pumps, ”says Dr. Darius Pupeikis Head of the Center of Smart Cities and Infrastructure, about the values of the digital model and the environmental impact assessment.
According to Pupeikis, the proposed method of energy analysis of the city quarter is new in that by preparing a real 3D model of the buildings and their adjacencies, it is possible to estimate the amount of energy that can be produced on site from solar panels much more accurately. These factors, in turn, allow to prepare much more accurate energy supply projects for buildings, more accurately select the characteristics of the equipment: installed power, operating modes. The mentioned digital models have undoubted benefits in assessing the impact of the location of the buildings in the quarter and the environmental landscape, as well as the possibilities of vertical installation and balancing between different types of energy. All this allows to reduce the technical and economic risks of projects, reduce the volume of investments. What values such a digital twin provides only becomes clear when the data collected is actually used to solve problems or make decisions.
This project would not have been possible without the help of IMIC partners. The companies INHUS, Kauno tiltai, Staticus, Bentley Systems and YIT Lietuva contribute to the activities. The latter also provides models for its projects that are housed in the digital twin. Companies also provide their suggestions and ideas on how such models can be better adapted.
The team of KTU Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture plans to further expand the boundaries of the model and renovate some areas. Possibilities for the development of urban models in smaller district centers are also being considered, but this requires the involvement and assistance of municipalities.
The model can be found here – https://eu.opencitiesplanner.bentley.com/www_ktu_edu/kaunasdigitalcity-stage1