Making buildings smarter
Smart buildings, both renovated and newly built, have an important role to play in our future energy system. Thanks to Internet of Things and cutting-edge ICT-based solutions such as smart energy management systems it has become possible to effectively control and monitor the energy efficiency and flexibility of a building. Not only is this beneficial on your energy bill, smart applications also guarantee all needs of a consumer are met and a lower energy consumption and carbon impact is achieved.
Example of the benefits of a smart building including smart energy systems, a smart heat pump, solar panels, smart household appliances, etc.
To accelerate building renovation investments and support the smart, energy-efficient technologies in buildings across Europe, EnergyVille and VITO developed a first study for the European Commission on a Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) for buildings. The Smart Readiness Indicator aims at making the added value of building smartness more tangible for building users, owners, tenants and smart service providers. More specifically, it provides information on the technological readiness of buildings to interact with their occupants and the energy grid. Similarly it also demonstrates the building’s capabilities for more efficient operation and better performance through ICT technologies. By providing a common language for all main stakeholders, the SRI can support the uptake of technology innovation and smart ready technologies through the establishment of a credible and integrated instrument.
Three key functionalities of smart readiness in buildings.
The Smart Readiness Indicator methodology
The proposed methodology is simple. The SRI assessment starts with determining which smart ready services are present in a building. These are subdivided into multiple domains (e.g. heating, lighting, electric vehicle charging, etc.). Subsequently, an evaluation of the functionalities these services can offer is made. Each of the services can for example be implemented with various degrees of smartness (referred to as ‘functionality levels’). Let’s take lighting control as an example: this can range from the simple implementation of “manual on/off control of lighting” to more elaborate control methods such as “automatic on/off switching of lighting based on daylight availability”, or even “automatic dimming of lighting based on daylight availability”.
After the services present in a building are determined the impact score is assessed based on various impact criteria (energy savings, comfort improvements, flexibility towards the energy grid, etc.). Based on a checklist these impacts and functionalities are then aggregated into an overall score displaying the smart readiness of a building. The result can be presented as an overall single score, as a relative score (e.g. indicating that a building achieves 65% of its potential smartness impacts) or as a label classification (e.g. SRI label class ‘B’). Sub-scores can also be presented (e.g. 72% on energy savings and 63% on comfort).
Want to know what this practically could look like? To start the analysis of bringing the smart readiness indicator into practice, the methodology was tested for the EnergyVille office building in Genk, Belgium and a traditional single family house located in Manchester, UK. The results were shown in a webinar presented by Stijn Verbeke and Paul Van Tichelen. You can watch it here.