Project Details


AAU BUILD has been continuously digitalizing its teaching activities, resources and procedures over the last years. In the context of global E-learning trend and restrictions induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, AAU BUILD accelerates the digitalization of its teaching activities.
Hands-on experimental workshops in laboratories have always been a very important part of the education programs at AAU BUILD. However, laboratories are precious resources that are not always available for students (too many students for the size of the laboratories, important research studies carried out during the period of the laboratory workshop). Creating new experimental exercise setups for teaching is also very time and resource consuming. Digitalizing all or parts of an experimental exercise setup for teaching is thus a very attractive option.
In line with the latter, AAU BUILD is developing several digital twins of experimental exercises for teaching how to tackle specific or general problems related to energy in buildings, indoor environment and optimum operation of HVAC systems (heating, cooling and air conditioning).
In September - October 2020, a digital twin of a “balancing valve” setup exercise will be created for the course of “Building Heating and Cooling Systems”. This course is about the design, sizing, implementation, and commissioning of HVAC systems. An important task to conduct during the commissioning of hydronic systems is to regulate so-called balancing valves to ensure that the heat-carrier fluid flows at nominal rate in each of the legs of the circuit so that optimum operation is reached. Instead of setting up a real hydronic system in the laboratory, a digital twin (numerical simulation with interface) will be created. This digital twin will be based on the numerical model of a large and complex hydronic heating system. The students will have to adjust manually the valves to reach optimum operation. The students firstly follow a manual step-by-step guideline to perform the balancing of the valves (with steady-state and then dynamic boundary conditions). Then the students observe the same procedure conducted automatically by a balancing algorithm. Finally, the students observe the performance of automated self-balancing valves in a complex hydronic system with dynamic boundary conditions.
This digital twin and the graphical user interface (GUI) of this simulated experimental setup is developed with the LabVIEW programming environment (developed and commercialized by National Instruments). LabVIEW is a graphical programming language based on the dataflow programming paradigm. It is widely used to create computer interfaces for measurements, data acquisition, and industrial automation. It is currently used at AAU BUILD to create computer GUIs for experimental equipment and facilities in the laboratories in order to ease and automate measurement, control and data acquisition. LabVIEW has already been successfully used at AAU BUILD to create a video game for digital teaching purpose. It is currently used in the course “Control and Analysis of Building Energy Systems” to introduce students to automated control systems and building thermodynamics.
Effective start/end date15/09/202031/12/2020


  • E-learning
  • digitalization