Construction projects are complex. Already today they involve many stakeholders: contractors and suppliers, governments, residential agencies, and infrastructure owners. The complexity grows ever more while a global challenge such as the energy transition (e.g. building an energy-efficient home and related infrastructure) emerge. Digitalization offers new ways of organizing construction processes, and might bring relief to the complex planning, engineering and construction projects. FiDETT investigates, trains and develops with the aim to support energy transitions in city districts though digitalization.
Improving our Approach in the Energy Transition
In FiDETT, we try to understand and define first what main phases exist when cities will make physical transitions from ‘old’ to ‘new’ districts. This will include not only the upgrading of houses with more insulation and other fossil-free energy supply, but it also necessitates that infrastructures in the public space (roads but also energy, water, and telecom lines) are amended or moved.
Once mapped out what the actual interdependencies are between the various stages of the district transitions, FiDETT aimes to develop and keep an overview and get actual insights about the data needs during these processes. Prototypical data collection and storage methods are then developed and used to support the data management during the transition.
FiDETT is a fieldlab; it researches while actual infrastructure and building projects take place. Meaning: learning as we go. Every project brings us new insights, new knowledge. That knowledge is used to build a model that we can use for other projects.
Regional Energy Transformation in Twente
The Netherlands has a regional approach to the energy transition. In each region, the aim is to build energy infrastructures that fit the local context. In FiDETT, we first research how city districts in Twente can be supported during this transition. Two specific neighborhoods in Hengelo (De Nijverheid) and Enschede (Twekkelerveld) are targeted for this study.
Determining Information Need
The project in De Nijverheid focuses on transiting the existing district towards a modern, fossil-fuel free district (which means removal of the gas network). Three workshop rounds were held so far, where first the research team explored the information needs of stakeholders; then discussed how the various stakeholders were involved during the physical district transition process – and how they expected information to flow between them. Third, a workshop round was held to assess to what extent the current educational landscape already offers ways to gain competences and skills to conduct district transitions.
Creating a Data Platform
The future goal is to build remote sensors and monitoring tools to develop a collection of digital tools and models to facilitate the transition. The big ambition is to include inhabitants there as well: citizens, governments and all other stakeholders could develop, use, consult and update the data on De Nijverheid.
Researcher: Léon olde Scholtenhuis and Karina Vink
Construction Management and Engineering Department, University of Twente