Common Data Environments to facilitate information management in HVAC engineering

Mikki Seidenschnur

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Information management in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operation (AECO) industry is fragmented, which creates an information gap. This can be accredited to stakeholders working in a document-centric/filebased
manner. Consequently, stakeholders do not have access to the most recent information on the building project, and there exist several sources of truth.

The information gap significantly affects the Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) discipline. There is no single source of truth, meaning that Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) engineers have to acquire the information manually from all the stakeholders. To minimize the burden of information acquisition, HVAC simulation models are over-simplified and rarely reflect the physical reality of the HVAC system in the building. Due to the oversimplification of HVAC simulation models, most HVAC systems are oversized. Consequently, there is a gap between the predicted and measured performance of buildings, called the performance gap.

The overall objective of this thesis was to provide the HVAC discipline in the AECO industry a place to centralize project-related information in a Common Data Environment (CDE) providing a single source of truth. The purpose of the CDE is to enable the digital transformation of the AECO industry through a platform that can be organically extended using a modular system architecture. Furthermore, the CDE aims to close the information gap for HVAC engineers and, as a result, reduce the performance gap.

This thesis presents a CDE based on a microservice system architecture. The CDE can translate proprietary Building Information Modeling (BIM) models into an object-oriented database that provides a single source of truth for the project stakeholders. The database of the CDE is based on the Flow System Classes (FSC) and Thermal Zone Classes (THERM) object models developed in this thesis. Through the CDE’s microservice architecture, several microservices were developed, capable of performing whole-building simula tion, hydraulic simulation, dynamic hydraulic calculation, model validation, and serializing proprietary BIM models into object models created in this thesis. Most notably, the CDE contain tools capable of performing wholebuilding simulation and detailed HVAC calculations of systems.

The developed microservice-based CDE was used to evaluate the performance gap in different use cases. The use case of Frederiksberg school showed that the developed whole-building simulation microservice can simulate the existing
BIM model. The results were used with measurements from the school to evaluate the performance gap, which illustrated a large discrepancy between the predicted and measured performance.

The CDE provides the basis for the digital transformation of the AECO industry by replacing file-based BIM with a model-centric approach. Through Flow System Classes (FSC), Thermal Zone Classes (THERM), and Flow Systems Ontology (FSO), it is possible to represent HVAC systems and thermal zones as a single source of truth in the CDE. The microservice architecture in the CDE allows for an organically scalable system architecture. This was illustrated by adding microservices capable of whole-building simulation and detailed HVAC simulation in EnergyPlus (E+) and Modelica, respectively. In conclusion, the developed CDE combined with whole-building simulation and detailed HVAC simulation has the potential to reduce the performance gap by closing the information gap between stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages232
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7475-720-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesDCAMM Special Report


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