Online platform improves building energy efficiency

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An online platform designed for city planners, industry, and energy stakeholders can cut energy use in European cities…

An online platform has succeeded in cutting energy use across several European cities. The scheme, which was tested across a number of places, has already revealed significant savings.

The platform was designed for city planners, industry, and energy stakeholders. It allows buildings to be assessed and the energy behaviour of the structure to be monitored. Additionally, it can remotely control public street lighting.

Around €2m was saved in Ferrara, Italy due to energy certification costs for 10,000 buildings. Public buildings saw a total savings equal to around €450 per year in public buildings such as schools.

In Rovereto, Italy two pilot projects saw energy use cut by 19-21 per cent. Bassano, Italy saw some €74 saved per street light per year. This was a reduction of more than 50 per cent in energy consumption.

The project achieved estimated savings of some 10-30 per cent in Zagreb, Croatia, while Trentino, Italy saw savings of between 7-10 per cent off the city’s annual electricity bill.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is imperative, as they cause around 40 per cent of the total EU final energy consumption. The project team said many key stakeholders, such as public administration officials, do not have the knowledge required to reduce energy consumption in cities and urban areas.

To tackle this the platform has been developed to operate on three different scales. This includes:

  • The city scale – this involves mapping the entire cityscape
  • The building scale – creating an awareness of a building’s overall energy behaviour
  • The public street lighting scale – this saw the smart automation of public street lighting networks

The project created ‘ecomaps’ outlining the current energy consumption of an urban environment using public services data such as planning information. This information was then used to assess the area’s energy needs and identify where savings could be made.

The SUNSHINE digital platform also utilises localised weather data to plan for efficient use of heating and cooling systems within a building. This can help lower urban energy usage.

The platform has shown it can improve municipal decision-making and provide a platform for the creation of new businesses and start-ups. It has also shown it can stimulate further investment in energy efficiency.

The project partners are now hoping to develop training programmes for stakeholders and in the future aim to refine the SUNSHINE platform.

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