Great Portland Estates plc (GPE) has integrated digital twin technology into its refurbishment of The Hickman, a well-connected Grade A office building with an onsite café, agile workspaces, a courtyard and terraces.
The Hickman is GPE’s smartest building yet, recently being the first building globally to achieve the prestigious SmartScore ‘Platinum’ rating. Twinview uses sensors that are incorporated through the workplace and data feeds back to GPE’s award-winning smart workplace app, sesame™. This provides continuous, anonymous feedback on occupancy levels, temperature, light levels, air quality, noise and energy use. Through data analysis, GPE are able to implement further changes in their wider portfolio, bringing the entire organisation closer to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Sustainability, welling and technology are core principles of The Hickman’s design.
Through the application of integrated technology (such as Twinview's digital twin platform and GPE’s bespoke app, sesame) within buildings, GPE can begin to identify patterns in how people use the workspace. This process allows the property manager to rationalise and optimise space, resulting in happy employees and efficient use while reducing costs and carbon emissions.
The Hickman is a building owned and managed by GPE, with 5,100 sq ft of outdoor space, an on-site café, agile workspaces and over 75,000 sq ft of working space.
GPE acquired The Hickman in 2019 and completed redevelopment in September 2020.
Historically, the building was home to Buck & Hickman; a saw and tool makers. Buck & Hickman significantly redeveloped the micro-area, up to the famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry (best known for crafting the Big Ben and the Liberty Bell) down to the corner of Whitechapel Road.
The legacy of the site lives on and the former tool workshop is transformed for a new generation of thinkers, number crunchers and creatives.
Twinview is a browser-based digital solution for moving the property sector closer to net-zero.
By connecting existing building systems data together where you can view all your property data on a single dashboard, Twinview begins to optimise building energy performance, reduce costs and carbon, and even improves user experience and business outcomes. Working alongside Great Portland Estates, an intelligent digital twin was produced.
GPE can view a variety of data sources on a single dashboard for a unified source of truth and responsibility from all the integrated building systems, including but not limited to occupancy, temperature, air quality, light and energy consumption.
Twinview calls the history of all maintenance decisions or changes to the building a "digital golden thread".
“The process with integrating The Hickman with Twinview technology was straightforward. Naturally, GPE was provided with all the architectural drawings and files upon completion of the project. We took those files which generally need expensive and powerful machines to use and loaded them into our Twinview infrastructure allowing them to be used from any web browser.
"We linked all the building’s assets, granting GPE to access, manage and monitor any asset that is linked to IoT remotely.
"Recently we fitted over 1,000 QR codes and Bluetooth beacons to each of the building's assets so that when entering a room, you can quickly identify which assets are near that space.” said Ben Malone, Implementation Director of Twinview.
Twinview has already begun to identify opportunities across its client’s buildings resulting in a smaller carbon footprint, a reduction in operational costs and an improvement to occupier experience and efficiency.
James Pellatt, Director of Workplace and Innovation at Great Portland Estates commented: “For us, the exciting thing about the [Twinview] digital twin is to really understand how a building is used and how to predict energy – not just in this building (The Hickman) but for others in our development pipeline.
"The more we learn, the more we measure is the more we can improve and we’re always looking to improve.
"Since integrating with Twinview, we have seen some initial benefits. By just allowing engineers to understand the building before they arrive, they are able to look around (using Twinview), and understand what is there, and that’s really important – it’s underestimated.
"We have some really strong ambitions of achieving Net Zero and what we learn at The Hickman will help us get there.
"The relationship we have with Twinview is extremely important to us – it is how we like to collaborate and how we like to innovate. By listening to people who challenge us, but also respond to challenges is really key to us in onboarding and integrating technology. It is a strategy we use throughout the portfolio.”