District Information Modeling and Management for Energy Reduction

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ICT is becoming a key factor to enhance energy optimization in smart cities. Thanks to ICT it is possible to access real-time information about building environmental characteristics and energy consumption. At district level, information about district heating and cooling and the electricity grid can be accessed. Middleware technologies enable a coming interface to monitor and control devices such that these heterogeneous sources of information can be put together in a centralized decision system. Furthermore, advancements in 3D modeling, visualization and interaction technologies enable user profiling and real-time feedback to promote energy efficient behaviors. To unlock the full potential of these technologies, the DIMMER project focuses on:

  • Interoperability of district energy production and consumption, environmental conditions and user feedback data;
  • Exploitation of effective visual and web-based interfaces to provide pervasive and real-time feedback about energy impact of user behaviors;
  • Integration of Building Information Models (BIM) with real-time data and their extension to the district level, leading to District Information Models (DIM);
  • New business models for energy traders and prosumers.

The DIMMER system integrates BIM and district level 3D models with real-time data from sensors and user feedback to analyze and correlate buildings utilization and provide real-time feedback about energy-related behaviors. It allows open access with personal devices and Augmented Reality (A/R) allowing visualization of energy-related information to client applications for energy and cost-analysis, tariff planning and evaluation, failure identification and maintenance.

DIMMER Pilot Districts in Manchester and Turin

In order to validate the DIMMER system, both public (university campuses, schools) and private buildings included in mixed urban districts are considered in two different cities, in the North and South Europe, Turin (IT) and Manchester (UK). As most energy usage of buildings throughout their life cycle is during the operational stage (~80%), the project gives special attention to existing and historical buildings.

In conclusion, the expected results are a consistent reduction in both energy consumption and CO2 emissions by enabling efficient energy distribution policies, according to the real characteristics of district buildings and inhabitants as well as efficient utilization and maintenance of the energy distribution network.


Fraunhofer FIT is responsible for the design and development of the DIMMER software architecture. FIT will bring into the project its extensive knowledge and experience in middleware development. It will employ and further develop the LinkSmart Middleware to allow integration of heterogeneous technologies and systems in the smart city districts. Furthermore, services to manage district energy efficiency will be developed on top of the LinkSmart Middleware.

The DIMMER project is co-funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Program.