With energy modeling at different complexity levels for smart cities and the concurrent data availability revolution from connected devices, a steady surge in demand for spatial knowledge has been observed in the energy sector. This transformation occurs in population centers focused on efficient energy use and quality of life. Energy-related services play an essential role in this mix, as they facilitate or interact with all other city services. This trend is primarily driven by the current age of the Ger.: Energiewende or energy transition, a worldwide push towards renewable energy sources, increased energy use efficiency, and local energy production that requires precise estimates of local energy demand and production. This shift in the energy market occurs as the world becomes aware of human-induced climate change, to which the building stock has a significant contribution (40% in the European Union). At the current rate of refurbishment and building replacement, of the buildings existing in 2050 in the European Union, 75% would not be classified as energy-efficient. That means that substantial structural change in the built environment and the energy chain is required to achieve EU-wide goals concerning environmental and energy policy. These objectives provide strong motivation for this thesis work and are generally made possible by energy monitoring and modeling activities that estimate the urban energy needs and quantify the impact of refurbishment measures.
To this end, a modeling library called aEneAs was developed in the scope of this thesis that can perform city-wide building energy modeling. The library performs its tasks at the level of a single building and was a first in its field, using standardized spatial energy data structures that allow for portability from one city to another. For data input, extensive use was made of digital twins provided from CAD, BIM, GIS, architectural models, and a plethora of energy data sources. The library first quantifies primary thermal energy demand and then the impact of refurbishment measures. Lastly, it estimates the potential of renewable energy production from solar radiation. aEneAs also includes network modeling components that consider energy distribution in the given context, showing a path toward data modeling and simulation required for distributed energy production at the neighborhood and district level.
In order to validate modeling activities in solar radiation and green façade and roof installations, six spatial models were coupled with sensor installations. These digital twins are included in three experiments that highlight this monitoring side of the energy chain and portray energy-related use cases that utilize the spatially enabled web services SOS-SES-WNS, SensorThingsAPI, and FIWARE. To this author's knowledge, this is the first work that surveys the capabilities of these three solutions in a unifying context, each having its specific design mindset.
The modeling and monitoring activity and their corresponding literature review indicated gaps in scientific knowledge concerning data science in urban energy modeling. First, a lack of standardization regarding the spatial scales at which data is stored and used in urban energy modeling was observed. In order to identify the appropriate spatial levels for modeling and data aggregation, scale is explored in-depth in the given context and defined as a byproduct of resolution and extent, with ranges provided for both parameters. To that end, a survey of the encountered spatial scales and actors in six different geographical and cultural settings was performed. The information from this survey was used to put forth a standardized spatial scales definition and create a scale-dependent ontology for use in urban energy modeling. The ontology also provides spatially enabled persistent identifiers that resolve issues encountered with object relationships in modeling for inheritance, dependency, and association. The same survey also reveals two significant issues with data in urban energy modeling. These are data consistency across spatial scales and urban fabric contiguity. The impact of these issues and different solutions such as data generalization are explored in the thesis.
Further advancement of scientific knowledge is provided specifically with spatial standards and spatial data infrastructure in urban energy modeling. A review of use cases in the urban energy chain and a taxonomy of the standards were carried out. These provide fundamental input for another piece of this thesis: inclusive software architecture methods that promote data integration and allow for external connectivity to modern and legacy systems. In order to reduce time-costly extraction, transformation, and load processes, databases and web services to ferry data to and from separate data sources were used. As a result, the spatial models become central linking elements of the different types of energy-related data in a novel perspective that differs from the traditional one, where spatial data tends to be non-interoperable / not linked with other data types. These distinct data fusion approaches provide flexibility in an energy chain environment with inconsistent data structures and software. Furthermore, the knowledge gathered from the experiments presented in this thesis is provided as a synopsis of good practices.