Open BIM for Energy Efficient Buildings

Ongoing (2023 - 2026)


The BIM (Building Information Modeling) methodology is an approach for integrated digital planning that carries the potential for significant improvements in building energy performance. The method foresees that information from stakeholders like architects, planners, modelers, constructors and even operators feed into the same data source – the BIM model. In the planning phase the model thus becomes the information hub for geometric data, thermal parameter of building elements (walls, slabs, outer shell etc.), the building energy systems (heating, cooling, building automation) and much more. BIM comes in two flavors: there is closed BIM, which restricts cooperation to a limited set of software tools with little to no possibility to cooperate outside a given software environment; and there is open BIM, which is based on the internationally standardized IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) Schema (ISO 16739-1:2018) and allows to interchange modeling data between different software tools from various vendors. Along with IFC there are further open buildingSMART Standards like BCF (BIM-Collaboration Format) and IDS (Information Delivery Specification) as well as IDM (Information Delivery Manual). This project is working with the open BIM methodology. This project addresses the research questions that bring forward the technology and the processes, which constitute successful BIM projects:

  1. A common library of BIM definitions to improve seamless data exchange between different software tools.
  2. Research on improving planning processes and development of guidelines for better collaboration.
  3. Gathering experience in use cases that apply the BIM methodology, including both planning and operation of buildings, with a special focus on thermal simulation.

The Annex project aims at achieving the following main goals:

  • Goal 1: Making energy efficiency assessment and optimization become an integral feature of open BIM
  • Goal 2: Building the foundations for open BIM processes and data models that are beneficial especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and which enable seamless cooperation of all stakeholders in a common open BIM project
  • Goal 3: Advancing the interoperability and harmonization of open BIM processes and data models both on national and international level

The main target audience for this Annex project are the stakeholders involved in planning, construction and operating buildings and districts: planners, architects, structural engineers, building physicists, construction companies, facilities managers, BIM managers, sustainability consultants and other expert disciplines. 

The challenge is to strengthen small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and enable them to participate in high-volume building projects with large stakeholders. The project shall reduce the technological barriers in large BIM projects, so that smaller companies can participate. Aside of the common open?BIM library and the reference model, this may include the development of tools and guidelines localized to each country’s language (since the construction sector often operates locally), the definition of requirements for open?BIM projects (like modelling guidelines and Exchange Information Requirements or IRs) and a register of service requirements for open?BIM projects.

Operating Agent

Gerhard Zucker
Thematic Coordinator
Digital Resilient Cities
Center for Energy
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Giefinggasse 6
1210 Vienna
Tel: +43 50550 6591


[Provisional] Austria, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, UK