TwinLight - BIM-based implementation of daylight and artificial lighting controls

Project leader: Zumtobel Lighting GmbH

Project leader University of Innsbruck (Unit of Energy Efficient Building): Rainer Pfluger

Project assistants: Sascha Hammes, Daniel Plörer, Vincent van Karsbergen, Martin Hauer, David Geisler-Moroder

 Project partners:

  • Zumtobel Lighting GmbH
  • Hella Sonnen- und Wetterschutztechnik GmbH
  • University of Innsbruck, Department of Structural Engineering and Material Sciences
  • University of Innsbruck, Department of Computer Science

Funding agency: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

Funding program: Stadt der Zukunft

Total funding: 108.428 Euro (UIBK-EEB)

Project period: 01.10.2022 - 30.09.2025

Project website:


Starting point / motivation

Currently, the planning of IT-based control systems for non-residential buildings is carried out during tenders, based on functionality requirements. Based on this catalog of requirements, the selection as well as the installation of the control system is done purely on site and mostly trade specific. As a result, there is a lack of transparency regarding higher planning levels and other parties involved in the construction process, making it difficult to assess the quality and system performance of the implemented building control system. This problem is aggravated by the mostly missing post-occupancy evaluation. Furthermore, the manufacturer's choice of mostly centralized control hardware often results in limitations regarding interoperability with other systems, system extensibility, and variability, e.g., due to proprietary protocols.  As a result, the on-site commissioning of such control logics, especially for complex target applications, can be time-consuming and thus costly, and can lead to quality deficits that ultimately result in poor energy efficiency or insufficient user comfort in the operation of the building.Fig 1 - Communication EN

Contents and goals

In recent years, digital building models based on Building Information Modeling (BIM) standards have been made usable for all phases of a building's life, with the goal of improving efficiency in all phases, as well as increasing user comfort and energy efficiency. For the daylighting and artificial lighting trades, as the first central trades, there are opportunities to significantly simplify on-site commissioning and to exploit new opportunities for maintenance, monitoring and improving building operation. The project goal of TwinLight is to develop a BIM-based Digital Twin that elevates the entire lifecycle for daylighting and artificial lighting to the BIM level.


The TwinLight framework will also include model-based control of lighting technology in buildings, thus supporting the coordination of lighting designers, facility managers and manufacturers in the planning, validation, configuration, optimization, and maintenance of lighting technology systems. The logic of the control system will thus be elevated to a higher planning level, enabling new analyses and data-driven feedback loops, e.g., to increase energy efficiency and user quality in the building. As part of the project, the control software needs to be detached from proprietary systems, by designing a middleware built on a system-open, IP-based network topology. The project will be carried out in an interdisciplinary way in the fields of building services engineering (esp. daylighting and artificial lighting), energy efficient building and computer science (model engineering). The developed concept will be tested about applicability, system stability and functionality in test rooms as well as under real application. By including end users of all construction project phases in the conception and the evaluation, a high usability of the envisaged system architecture shall be created to make construction processes more efficient and to improve energy efficiency in the future.

Expected results

The goal is to create a BIM-based user tool for lighting control systems that ensures transparency between those responsible, enables ongoing system adjustments and automates the commissioning of control systems on site through the BIM2Control data transfer. Energy and process data are to be mapped across construction phases in the digital twin via information feedback from data from operation (Control2BIM). Advantages of integral concepts, potentials in personalization and ICT-technologies are to be utilized via an open system architecture.Fig 2 - System architecture EN


Project goals

BIM and integral controls are two significant topics for the building industry and offer potential in energy efficiency and user comfort. UIBK-EEB has already been dealing with both topics for several years in research projects and furthermore as a communication interface to the local economy. For this reason, it is the responsibility of UIBK-EEB to establish requirement criteria for a BIM-based control parameterization and, at the same time, to ensure a mapping of integral controls and to enter all necessary specifications in the BIM feature server. In addition, UIBK-EEB is leading the literature research in this regard. In addition, UIBK-EEB supports the development of integral control logic based on numerous past research projects (e.g., BIM2IndiLight, VisErgyControl) on control systems. Furthermore, the work area supports in the development of the bidirectional workflow and through expertise in the areas of energy and BIM in the implementation of the field studies.


"Stadt der Zukunft" is a research and technology funding program of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK). It is carried out on behalf of the BMK by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) together with the Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH (AWS) and the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT).


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