A Digital Twin Environment (DTE) is an integrated, multi-domain physics application space for operating on Digital Twins basically for two main purposes: Predictive (the DT would be used for predicting future behavior and performance of the physical product) and Interrogative (DTI could be interrogated for the current and past histories. This would apply both for DTI and DTA).

To achieve this challenging environment, SPHERE will approach these developments in layers. Each previous layer will underpin the development of the following one, so the system of systems and their tools could provide a flexible and scalable solution for the future Assets Lifecycle Management of residential stock.

Digital Twin Prototype (DTP)

This type of Digital Twin describes the prototypical physical artifact. It contains the informational sets necessary to describe and produce a physical version that duplicates or twins the virtual version.

Digital Twin Instance (DTI)

This type of Digital Twin describes a specific corresponding physical product that an individual Digital Twin remains linked to throughout the life of that physical product.

Digital Twin Aggregate (DTA)

This type of Digital Twin is the aggregation of all the DTIs. Unlike the DTI, the DTA may not be an independent data structure. It may be a computing construct that has access to all DTIs and queries them either ad-hoc or proactively.



SPHERE will adapt the innovative Integrated design and delivery solutions (IDDS) as a general implementation framework to be more inclusive by incorporating the knowledge of the operational stakeholders based on the experience gathered by the future Digital Twins Environments. This implementation will provide advanced technology to improve, and drastically reduce, the time and costs needed to assess, design, manage the construction process, etc.

SPHERE uses IDDS framework, which has been developed by academia, industry, governments, and clients on five continents over four years involving several hundred professionals nurturing the research theme, being applied successfully in several H2020 funded projects. This methodology will integrate the necessary tools to take into account many important aspects in the design and construction of infrastructure, such as time planning (4D), CAPex and OPex (5D), energy efficiency, and environmental impact (6D), Facility Management (7D), etc. It engages people, technologies, and processes and provides the deliberate consideration of knowledge, lean construction, integrated project delivery, BIM, training, and other aspects.



A “Digital Twin” is a virtual representation of what has been produced. Compare a Digital Twin to its engineering design to better understand what was produced versus what was designed, tightening the loop between design and execution, but also during operation and even disposal. To achieve end-to-end integration of their data, businesses must first take the fundamental step of connecting their assets to the digital world. The raw data produced by machines, systems, and products cannot be comprehensively analysed without first being linked, captured, and managed. A cloud-based collaborative Platform as a Service ICT Architecture will be developed. This architecture will be central to the SPHERE Digital Twin Environment Operating System and will take the form of a cloud-based service of a platform as a service (PaaS).

Beyond the features and interconnectivity of the platform, any Digital Twin needs not only synchronization among systems but also proper integration of all the datasets. To achieve this challenging objective, the data architecture proposed in SPHERE’s Digital Twins will be linked by using an extended Graph Database Ontology, compliant with ISO standards and synchronized by the BlockChain Records Management Service.



Enables the SPHERE platform and tools, as Vertical Integrated Life Cycle Design based tools, by the integration of ICD methods and tools in the SPHERE platform. This includes allowing the main indicators of ILCD methods (Technical, economics, environmental) to enable the SPHERE platform to fulfill the market, user & contractor’s performance requirements on building materials and structures at early design stages.

SPHERE approach will leverage the existing DT structure to reinforce complemented an evidence-based Integration of contractors/users’ needs integration of socio-economic modelling with Eco-design and LCA:

  • Integration of environmental considerations into process planning for more sustainable manufacturing process selection and inventory management, 
  • Development of a feedback mechanism linking product design decisions (design tool/system) to actual manufacturing/ assembly operations in CAM with the ultimate goal of evaluating a product’s design without building an expensive physical production system.



The first row of tools will be adapted and used inside the SPHERE Digital Twin Environment in order to:

  • Predict future behaviour and performance of the physical building (once built or renovated)
  • Help into the decision taking by interrogating the current situation (Digital Twin Instances of existing buildings – retrofittings) or by benchmarking past histories (new buildings).

Stakeholders will interact with the platform through a dashboard where, depending on their rights and permissions based on their role with the real asset, will have access to a different set of services and apps.

BIM Bots and Intelligent Energy System Designer (IESD) will help attain such knowledge acquisition. Using multiple BIM Bots from other suppliers, combined with simulation bots to evaluate the predicted behaviour of the building, enables designers and engineers to focus on creating high-quality buildings. iESD is a decision support tool that permits to determine the optimal constructive actions and technologies to be implemented in a given building of the tertiary sector, based on its architectonic characteristics, climatic conditions, and operation profiles.



In order to manage the ICT operation and apps maintenance, four different tools will be used: Cloud BEMS (ENE), Human Thermal Model Building Automation Control ( VTT), Self-learning BIMbots (TNO), and Predictive Maintenance (EUT).

ENE: Enerit software covers all aspects of EMS since it fully complies with the requirements of the ISO 50001 international standard. Enerit software goes beyond the simple monitoring performances since it addresses all aspects of the decision-making process and guided implementation of the energy action plan for the specific sector or organization.

VTT: HTM control can improve both the thermal satisfaction of occupants and the energy efficiency of buildings. Thermal satisfaction of occupants is improved by a new demand-based thermal comfort concept.

TNO: the effect of user behaviour will be modeled in a black-box manner utilizing the historical data of existing buildings, e.g. meteorological data, energy consumptions, indoor temperature, and building design layout. The developed user behaviour models will be included in a library eventually accessible to the different parties involved in the design and construction phase of the buildings.

EUT: iPredict is a predictive maintenance module based on AI and machine learning which enables to minimize downtimes due to unexpected breakdowns and reduce energy waste due to malfunctioning or misuse of equipment.



SPHERE demonstration is based on an Integrated Design and Delivery Solution (IDDS) framework where partners will monitor, centralise, and share information in different ways for every stakeholder, including BIM models. The challenge for SPHERE is to organise the demonstration activities to perform and validate, as close to reality as possible, the whole IDDS inspired operation (including the relevant technology developments).

In each demonstration site (Finland, Austria, Italy, Netherlands) we associate the project team with local stakeholders who will be actively integrated with the design and choice of the optimal solution. We will therefore associate, at an early stage: a) the design and construction team demo partners will have chosen for the general refurbishment operation (architects, engineers, contractors) and b) building users. Here the strategy will be to implement innovative monitoring tools (including monitoring of real use of buildings) and HYBRID systems in real building projects.

Feedback assessment will be performed including technical, ergonomics, acceptance, costs, design improvements, and exploitation/replicability directions.