June 21st 2023

IES Digital Twin used to make Bertam first smart energy city of the state of Penang

IES Digital Twin used to make Bertam first smart energy city of the state of Penang

Working with the Penang government, the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) used IES Digital Twin technology to help make Bertam the first smart energy city of the state of Penang.

Malaysia has set out a National Low Carbon City masterplan which aims to achieve carbon neutrality for 33 of its cities by 2050. As part of this mission, the Penang government in collaboration with UKM and the National University of Malaysia has undertaken a smart energy pilot project for Bertam City. Key to achieving the project goals was the use of IES’ ICL Digital Twin technology to create a detailed real-world replica of the entire city to allow a large-scale analysis of the city’s energy consumption and carbon emissions and see where improvements could be made.

Bertam City is located in the north of Malaysia and has a gross floor area of approximately 3.6 square kilometers with a population of 271,642. The entire city was modeled using the IES intelligent Community Design (iCD) tool which is part of its Digital Twin technology suite. This allowed the project team to simulate the baseline and provide an estimate of the total energy consumption and carbon emissions generated by the city, which was calculated as 928 GWh of energy and 479,123 tons of carbon emissions.

To validate the iCD model results, actual energy consumption data was gathered for one of the city’s buildings; the Lotus hypermarket. This data was then fed into the software to calibrate the model, with the results showing that the simulated data was within 7.97% accuracy of the actual data.

Armed with the baseline model as scenario one, the team was then able to simulate further scenarios to optimize the city’s energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Scenario two looked at optimizing the city’s building envelopes to reduce the u-values of the building materials. Scenario three then considered ways in which to improve the performance of the buildings’ HVAC systems, whilst scenario four calculated the solar roof potential and predicted electricity offset from the use of PV panels.

Scenario 1 – Baseline

The baseline energy consumption and carbon emission for Bertam city is 928GWh and 479 123 tons of carbon emissions respectively. Breaking down the baseline model into different forms of energy consumption and zones by building type, the results showed that cooling energy formed the highest consumption across the entire city (36%), whilst the residential zone used the most energy (65.4%) in comparison to commercial and institutional zones.

Scenario 2 – Reducing U-Values

By making improvements to the building’s envelopes, the project team was able to dramatically reduce the u-values, thus reducing the city’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. The u-values were reduced by 10.1 or 49% from scenario 1 – the baseline. Hence, the simulation result showed an 8.6% reduction in the city’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Scenario 3 – Improving HVAC Performance

By moving away from Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems to fan coil systems, the energy consumption of the city could be reduced from 848GWh in scenario 2 to 595GWh. Thus, there is a 29.8% energy and carbon reduction in this scenario.

Scenario 4 – Solar PV Potential

The study found that by installing solar PV on the roofs of residential buildings, covering an area of 0.66 kilometers squared, 14.7 GWh of electricity could be generated. This could offset a total of 7623 tons of carbon emissions from the total 264,000 produced by the city. This project calculated the city’s estimated energy consumption to be 408.5GWh and carbon emissions, 186 854 tCO2e based on the residential area simulation data.

Overall Results

By combining all the strategies from scenarios 2, 3 and 4, the project team could predict a total of 69.7% savings in energy and carbon emissions.

“Using IES Digital Twin technology, in particular its intelligent Communities Design (iCD) tool, we were able to accurately predict the potential energy and carbon savings for the entire Bertam city, thus giving the council a clear picture of the city’s energy consumption and carbon emissions, and realistic strategies for making significant reductions.”

Prof. Ar. Dr. Lim Chin Haw, Principal Research Fellow, Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)