In the war on climate change, buildings are on the front lines: they are responsible for 40% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Hence the need for smart buildings, collective or individual properties that consume less and produce green energy. Two projects have taken on the challenge of scaling up to create energy-positive districts. What they bring to the table are software solutions that can assess and anticipate needs, while also sending the energy produced where it needs to go so that nothing is wasted.
A European programme that ran from 2012 to 2015, COOPERATE is an open-source, cloud-managed software platform. By collecting and analysing data from households on the same block, with each resident being free to provide their own information, this platform provides the most efficient energy management solutions. The goal is to find a way to predict changes in production and consumption to better manage eco-districts and reduce energy use or optimise on-site production.
“Cooperate was designed to be an overarching system that can pool, store, control and share energy based on needs, without being intrusive for building systems and infrastructure”, state the seven programme partners in a press release.
Tested on-site at the Bouygues Construction head office in Guyancourt (Yvelines) and the CIT campus in Ireland, the programme provided management models that reduced energy costs by 7-29% and 16-19% at the respective sites. An encouraging result!
Residents get involved
Another smart building management system, IO-Technology, is focused on private cloud networks. The platform designed by a Maisons-Alfort start-up contains a touchscreen interrupter that can be used to manage and programme the building as needed: controlling the temperature in one room or the air conditioning in another, closing the blinds, or triggering or shutting off the alarm.
Another key aspect of the device is the secure local server, which serves a dual purpose. First, to collect data so that it can create a detailed energy assessment for each household, and second, to ensure absolute control over the information provided by the residents themselves. From the energy used by connected devices to the energy produced by private wind turbines, solar panels or heat pumps, each individual has complete control over the data they share. That way, people living in smart cities maintain their independence.
To go further
Projects to control household energy use
2016 EDF Pulse AwardsDiscover the projects competiting in the Low Carbon City category