Digital twin technology for thermal comfort and energy efficiency in buildings: A state-of-the-art and future directions

Victor Adetunji Arowoiya, Robert Christian Moehler, Yihai Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, the integration of digital technologies has grown rapidly in the field of thermal comfort and energy efficiency for buildings. The concept of a digital twin, incorporating multiple digital technologies, has gained increasing attention. The literature lacks a review of the digital twin concept in thermal comfort and energy consumption for existing buildings. This paper conducts a review of the current state-of-the-art in digital twin (DT) technology for thermal comfort/ energy consumption in buildings. The review employs a scientometric approach and examines various technologies used in creating DTs and a systematic analysis of the methods, technologies, algorithms, and approaches used in digital twin experiments. The results show a growing number of studies in this area, with a focus on thermal comfort monitoring, visualization, tracking, energy management, prediction, and optimization for existing buildings. Furthermore, the prediction of energy consumption using algorithms such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), Artificial Intelligence (AI), deep neural networks, and YOLOv4 have been used in buildings. However, the wider adoption of a DT that can facilitate occupants, and thermal sensations, enhance human-centered solutions, and improve energy prediction levels are necessary. There is a need for further international collaboration to expand the studies on digital twins for thermal comfort and energy efficiency. The review highlights the limitations and areas of improvement, such as the limited adoption of sensors for environmental measures, the need for more focus on the subjective perception of occupants, and the need for more comparative studies of algorithms for predicting energy consumption. Further studies can be conducted in areas such as understanding occupant psychological responses/behaviors to comfort in the digital world. This will enhance a more consolidated and robust validation for building performance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy and Built Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 May 2023


  • Buildings
  • Digital twin
  • Energy consumption
  • Scientometric review
  • Thermal comfort

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