Open standards-based foundation for integrating BIM, geospatial and smart meters for urban...

Open standards-based foundation for integrating BIM, geospatial and smart meters for urban energy performance optimization


The European Union has set itself aggressive goals to reduce GHG emissions by 20%, increase renewables share of energy generation to 20%, and to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. The EU seems to be on track for the first two goals, but the third remains a challenge. In 2020, the European consumption of energy is projected to be 25 trillion kWh. By 2040 it is expected to rise to 28 trillion kWh. In terms of primary energy consumption, buildings represent around 40%. In 2009, residential buildings consumed 68% of the total final energy use in buildings. Energy in households is mainly consumed by heating (70%), cooling, hot water, cooking and appliances. Gas is the most common fuel used in buildings.

SUNSHINE logoI have blogged about the European SUNSHINE project before. The SUNSHINE (Smart Urban Services for Higher Energy Efficiency) project is focused on energy efficiency for buildings in an urban environment. It is a European Commission (EC) funded project that started about a year ago and is intended to continue for 36 months.CityGML logo
Energy certification of buildings is a key policy instrument for reducing the energy consumption and improving the energy performance of new and existing buildings. It is expected to help increase demand for high performance buildings by improving the energy performance of the building stock in urban centers. SUNSHINE is intended as a step towards toward such a policy and a way to contribute to improving the energy efficiency of buildings. SUNSHINE is intended to be accessible to Web and mobile platforms. An interesting aspect of the project is is the development of an Sunshine CityCML energy ADEextended CityGML model for representing urban structures for energy performance modeling.
Three use cases are being considered.
1 Assessment of energy performance
The goal is to supports the automatic large-scale assessment of building energy performance based on publicly available data. The building energy performance models will be used for energy.density mapping ("ECOMaps") . It is intended that an ADE extension to CityGML for 3D building energy modeling will be developed.
2 Heating and cooling forecast and alerts
This focuses on existing buildings that have been selected for energy performance improvement. It relies on localized weather forecasts and other information to forecast heating/cooling requirements to optimize energy performance..
3 Optimization of power consumption by public lighting
The idea is to control illumination so that areas are only illuminated when people are present and the level of natural lighting requires it.
SUNSHINE is based on customizing and integrating other EC-funded smart city applications including

  • Smart urban services based on open standards to support energy efficiency of buildings
  • Open data hub for data distribution
  • eEnvironmental services for advanced applications within INSPIRE
  • 3D CityGML models for solar energy potential assessment and noise mapping & simulation
SUNSHINE will be piloted at nine sites across five countries that include 20 public buildings in Ferrara, 60 technical buildings in Trentino, and public illumination systems in several Italian cities.
At Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva this year as part of the GeoEnergy trac
k, Piergiorgio Cipriano, GI/SDI Project Manager at Sinergis, Italy discussed integrating energy usage data from smart meters with city models using the CityGML standard with the goal of improving the energy performance of buildings on an urban scale.
Sunshine ecomap Sunshine location

Location is essential for linking information from different providers and sources. The “ecomap” represents the “energy need” at building level. For this simple map, it is necessary to integrate at the very least the following data in order to predict building

energy performance with sufficient precision:

  • Building footprints
  • Building height (or number of floors)
  • Building use(s)
  • Building age and corresponding building envelope stereotypes
  • Stereotypes for heating/hot-water/ventilation systems

Building modeling for urban energy performance modeling

The fundamental concept is to exploit existing standards as much as possible to avoid reinventing the wheel. Two relevant standards for the energy performance analysis of buildings are the INSPIRE data specification for the spatial data theme Buildings (INSPIRE-BU) and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) CityGML with an Application Domain Extension (ADE) for the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB).

Convergence of BIM and CityGML

CityGML has strongly influenced the development of the INSPIRE BU model, both fSunshine BIM and CityGMLor 2D and for 3D profiles. The concept of a base model defining semantic objects, attributes and relations which are required by most applications has been adopted by INSPIRE BU (as core profiles). The concept of External Reference to link to more domain-specific information systems or to ensure consistency between 2D and 3D representations of buildings has also been reused in INSPIRE BU. The design pattern of Building – BuildingPart aggregation is also included in the INSPIRE applications schemas. Many attributes (e.g. RoofType, YearOfConstruction) have been included in INSPIRE BU profiles.

Many use cases that were considered for INSPIRE BU require a three-dimensional representation of buildings such as a building information model (BIM). Examples are noise emission simulation and mapping, solar radiation computation or the design of an infrastructure projeUrban building modeling SUNSHINEct. To allow for that, the building representation in Level of Detail (LoD1 – LoD4) of CityGML has been added to the INSPIRE BU model as a core 3D profile. The whole content of LoD1 – LoD4 including features attached to buildings such as boundaries, openings, rooms are the base of the extended 3D profile.

For large scale energy performance at the urban level, detailed interior elements of each building are not required. It is possible to work at a simple Level of Detail 3 (LOD3) and include elements like roofs, envelope walls, and windows. This can also be used to make a comparison with other data sources such as aerial thermal images.

Energy usage data exchange

Green Button energy usage data SUNSHINEGreen Button implements the common-sense idea that electricity customers should be able to securely download their own easy-to-understand energy usage captured by their smart meter. Not only does it provide the retail customer with access to their usage data , it also provides the ability to authorize a third party service provider to access his or her energy usage data directly. This architecture presents a consistent mechanism for authorized exchange of energy usage information.

To integrate electric power usage information from smart meters into SUNSHINE, the GreenButton specification defined by the NAESD (North American Energy Standards Board) was identified as the preferred implementation option for the meter data exchange protocol to be used in Sunshine. IEC 61968-9 was judged to be much more complicated and less supported in terms of practical examples and software tools.

Open, standards-based foundation for urban energy performance analysis

Together INSPIRE BU, CityGML with the energy performance ADE, and the Green Button specification for energy usage data provide an open, standards-based foundation for energy performance analysis for urban environments.