DIM4Energy - Digital Information Models for the Planning and Optimization of Buildings and Urban Energy Infrastructure

Digital information models (DIM) are playing an increasingly important role in urban planning and decision-making processes, from individual buildings (BIM) to urban information models (UIM). For the planning and optimal operation of plus-energy neighborhoods, valuable information could be obtained from these existing models, provided the appropriate data sources and associated software tools are properly linked.

Short Description

Initial situation

The implementation of energy-efficient and renewable cities and districts is a complex and cost-intensive process. Digital information models (DIM) play an increasingly important role in planning and decision-making processes as well as for the operational optimization of energy systems, starting with individual buildings and extending to entire cities. However, existing DIM have so far been considered and used mainly on an individual basis, interfaces between each other have only been implemented in isolated cases, in some cases only in pilot applications.


Within the DIM4Energy project, challenges and opportunities arising from the use of DIM for the integrated planning and optimised operation of plus-energy neighbourhoods and cities were analysed. Therefore, a stakeholder process with representatives from the Austrian building and energy industry, administration and applied researchers was carried out.


The central element of the vision presented is an Urban Information Model (UIM) that integrates existing DIM, such as the Building and Dwelling Register or Building Information Modeling (BIM) data sets and geographical information systems (GIS). A UIM is a central, virtual city and environment model for the data management of buildings and infrastructure over their entire life cycle. It provides a central database based on the CityGML data model, which can be linked to other databases and tools via interfaces. Within the scope of the project, the applicability of the UIM to different use cases was investigated: dynamic energy performance certificates from the perspective of the city and the building as well as planning and optimization of heating networks and local energy planning from the perspective of PV. The resulting added value of using the UIM described here can be illustrated as follows:

  • Automated analysis of the building status (need for refurbishment, CO2 balance) as well as evaluation of the performance in terms of energy consumption and identification of local energy sources and potentials.
  • Automated consideration of local boundary conditions and building geometries as well as urban planning requirements/conformity check
  • Iterative comparison of the planning processes of infrastructure and buildings including the analysis of technical variants by integrating calculation / simulation tools and using a consistent database and communication interfaces
  • Generation of suggestions for improvement, derivation of (building) regulations / specifications


In order to realize the above-mentioned added value, the DIM4energy project derived comprehensive recommendations for action in the dimensions processes, tools and data. As a central result of the project, a guideline (in German) is available for free download at www.ait.ac.at/DIM4energy.

Project Partners

Project management

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

Contact Address

Dr. Edmund Widl
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Center for Energy
Giefinggasse 2
A-1210 Wien
Tel.: +43 (505) 50 6034
Fax: +43 (505) 50 6613
E-Mail: edmund.widl@ait.ac.at
Web: http://www.ait.ac.at/profile/detail/Widl-Edmund