Multifunctional experimental building, laboratory, research project, workplace. In the presence of Governor Wilfried Haslauer and numerous guests of honour from politics and business, the new research building Twin²Sim was opened at the Kuchl Campus of the FH Salzburg on 20 June 2022. Twin²Sim combines test rooms, a facade test stand, measuring equipment, a manipulation hall and offers 20 high-quality workplaces for scientists.
The aim of the research activities in the Twin²Sim is to develop solutions for technical building systems, components, building envelopes and multi-functional façades, to test them metrologically in experiments and to develop them further. Thermal, hygric and flow behaviour, daylight quality, deformations of building components, sound insulation and the interaction of the prototypes with the room and the use in the room are investigated - all under real environmental conditions. This makes the investigations more complex but also more realistic. The data obtained in short-term as well as long-term measurements from hundreds of sensors are collected and mapped in a "digital twin". This enables the development of models and simulation on the "digital twin" - hence the name "Twin²Sim".
Twin²Sim is one of the largest research projects that the FH Salzburg has implemented in its more than 25 years of existence. With its diverse scientific possibilities, the experimental building not only corresponds to the current state of the art, but is also constructed as an energy-efficient, structural timber building. Together with the team from LP architektur, an architecturally high-quality building made of wood was thus realised - in keeping with the location of Kuchl.
Investment in application-oriented research
Great support came from the province of Salzburg, which co-financed 50 % of the project. Governor Wilfried Haslauer: "The FH Salzburg is an important partner of WISS2025, the state's science and innovation strategy. Due to the facilities located here, the Kuchl site is a real hotspot for sustainable materials development and thus forms the ideal environment for the new research building. I expect practical work in close cooperation with the local economy at the cutting edge. Combined with the mission to share the know-how gained, this will also sustainably strengthen Salzburg as a business location. The high level of interest shown by many companies from the region impressively underlines this. In this way, the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences is making a significant contribution to the expansion of the 'Kuchl Knowledge Campus' as a centre of competence and transfer in the fields of bioeconomics, alpine construction and wood, which is being promoted in the current government programme of the state of Salzburg."
FH Managing Director Raimund Ribitsch emphasises the importance of the investment in the FH research infrastructure: "The total investment volume amounts to 2.2 million euros, financed in equal parts by the State of Salzburg and the FH Salzburg. In addition, we have invested our own funds for equipment, operation and certification. Twin²Sim is thus the largest single investment in research at the FH Salzburg. Our great thanks go to the province of Salzburg for the co-financing as part of the WISS2025 projects." He also points out the importance of the research project: "We are proud that FH Salzburg is conducting cutting-edge research on globally relevant topics such as sustainability, ecology and digitalisation. FH Salzburg combines expertise and know-how in all these areas."
Strengthening the location through research
Hans Scharfetter, Chairman of the FH Supervisory Board, emphasised the importance of FH Salzburg as a reliable and innovative partner at the opening: "Research at FH Salzburg has gained enormous momentum in recent years. In the meantime, the research volume amounts to around 5 million euros annually. The research volume at the Kuchl location has risen from 750,000 to 1.4 million euros in the last five years alone and jobs have been created for 30 new research employees. The Twin²Sim project is another milestone in this development and contributes significantly to strengthening the location.
The two FH shareholders - the Chamber of Labour and the Chamber of Commerce - also confirm the importance of knowledge generation and know-how transfer. "Housing and climate protection are central topics of the future. It is about well-being and a good life - the challenges are great. With 'Twin²Sim in Kuchl, the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences is developing into a research campus of sustainability to better master these challenges," explains Cornelia Schmidjell, Director of AK Salzburg. WK Director Manfred Pammer adds: "The FH location in Kuchl with its focus on wood, biogenic materials and alpine construction is indispensable for Salzburg's economy and should be further strengthened and expanded. Twin²Sim makes a significant contribution to this."
Research for more sustainability and climate protection
"With Twin²Sim we can gain new insights into how building technology, building components, space and people interact," says project leader FH Prof. Michael Grobbauer, explaining the goals of the research project. "We can develop and test new components. As a 'small world', the test building and test stand are representative of the 'big world' of built reality and enable the investigation of solutions under real conditions. Together with companies, we can now develop new solutions and products for reducing energy demand, for climate-neutral and comfortable buildings and for improving building performance."
Knowledge transfer and cooperation
The research building with the planned projects is an incubator for ideas from business and research and a place for cooperation. The interest of companies has been evident even before the building was erected. More than 20 companies have supported the project with contributions in kind. There is great interest in further cooperation with the FH Salzburg in the non-university and university sectors. Cooperation with companies is an important factor in research at the FH Salzburg and a significant impetus for the initiation of Twin²Sim.
The Twin²Sim is currently undergoing a calibration phase. Full operation will begin in spring 2023. The first trials will start in late autumn 2022. A prototype from the Alpine Construction Centre is expected to be assembled on the test stand in November 2022.