The world economy is becoming increasingly constrained by energy costs, energy availability, and energy-related environmental regulations.
Countries are looking to shore up their energy supply structure and identify measures to address energy demand issues. On a global scale, buildings (both residential and commercial) account for 35% to 40% of total final energy consumption, according to Navigant Research. Commercial buildings, for example, consume a considerable amount of energy related to HVAC, lighting, water heating, and various other building functions.
With the continued challenge of climate change, more countries are implementing measures that will reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions.
Now, city planners, industry and energy stakeholders can look forward to using a new platform which will help them better assess and map buildings’ energy behaviour, as well as remotely control public street lighting.
The new platform falls under the EU-funded SUNSHINE project [“Smart UrbaNServIces for Higher eNergy Efficiency”] delivers innovative digital services, interoperable with existing geographic web-service infrastructures, supporting improved energy efficiency at the urban and building level.
Energy efficiency delivers cost efficiency
According to the EU’s website, building and energy managers are a key target user group of the SUNSHINE Project and represent the individuals in charge of the energy management of the buildings or urban islands, having access to the heating/cooling system controls.
Several pilots have already taken place in Italy, Greece, Malta and Croatia.
In Ferrara, Italy, approximately €2 million was saved in energy certification costs for 10,000 buildings. Total savings achieved equated to around €450 per year in public buildings, such as schools.
Another pilot in Rovereto, Italy, energy use was cut by 19-21% in two pilot projects, the focus being on remote control of public lighting] while in Bassano, Italy, €74 was saved per street light per year – a cut of more than 50% in energy consumption.
In Zagreb, Croatia, the project achieved estimated savings of 10-30%. The pilot locations in Croatia are based on the “Assessment of energy performances”, “Real-time communication with building managers and/or owners", “Remote control of public lighting”. Regarding the third scenario, the pilot focused on the lighting system surrounding the HEP thermal power plant (HEP toplinarstvo) administration building, which consists of 11 lighting points with luminaires equipped with high pressure sodium lamps.
In Trentino, Italy, the city’s annual electricity bill saw savings of around 7-10%.The pilot in Trentino was based on “real-time communication with building managers and/or owners”.Public administrators and city planning department wanted to be able to rapidly estimate energy performances of buildings at urban scale so that they can better define energy-saving policies based on true requirements of buildings.
Digital energy efficiency
The SUNSHINE Project online platform was developed to operate on multiple scales: the city scale by mapping the entire cityscape, the building scale by creating awareness of a building's overall energy behaviour, and on a public street lighting scale with smart automation of public street lighting networks.
Data gathered based on public services, ‘ecomaps’ were created that are used to outline current energy consumption of an urban environment, before using them to assess the area’s real energy needs. The platform can also be used to plan for an efficient use of heating and cooling systems within buildings, using localised weather data.
In addition, the platform allows for the interoperable control of street lighting systems based on automatic meter reading facilities.
Project partners part of the SUNSHINE Project consortium aim to intensify training programmes for relevant stakeholders, including public officials and urban planners.
In the longer term, there are plans to further refine the SUNSHINE platform and advise more cities across Europe on how the platform can be beneficially tailored to their specific needs.
Open data has the potential to unlock bigger energy savings. It is flexible and innovative data solutions like these that will help countries meet their energy efficiency goals. [Creating An Energy Efficient Society Through Shared Data.]