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LEVEL 2

MODULE 5.3: BUILDINGS

Improve monitoring and evaluation

Effective energy monitoring in public buildings  

Monitoring and then controlling energy is a central task within the overall energy management of public (and private) buildings. It has the function to systematically collect and evaluate energy data of buildings (electricity, heat and cooling) in order to identify effective measures for saving energy and costs (cf. The Basics in the 1st level Building Module). Monitoring and evaluation of buildings’ energy performance should be understood as a continuous process with measurements made at the beginning of the construction or after refurbishment as well as periodically during the entire use of the building.


Generally, the availability of measured energy data of sufficient quality in existing public buildings is low. At the same time the monitoring and evaluation of all components of a building usually requires a considerable budget for additional measurements and staff resources so that it is often not feasible. Since LGs in most cases have limited resources it is recommended to focus on a minimal data set that however, is able to reveal the characteristics of buildings’ energy performance without costing too much.


In the framework of the project Building EQ, an international group of acknowledged experts determined a minimal data set (see table below) to measure roughly, but effectively the overall energy performance of public building systems for offices, hospitals and lecture halls etc..

 

For the technical staff of LGs it is also valuable to understand the experts’ rational for the chosen set of data: The selected data set allows on a basic level to track the energy holistically throughout the building from delivered energy to requirements (indoor climate). The system signals are those that have great influence on energy consumption / comfort. The minimal data set minimises cost by exploiting sensors that are inexpensive or even readily available in most public buildings with Building Automation System (BAS). Reason behind:

  • Consumption data: To record the energy use for the analysis is self-explanatory. Recording the water consumption gives valuable information about the occupancy of the building.
  • Weather data: In order to identify the weather dependent part of a building’s energy performance the outdoor air temperature, humidity and insulation must be measured.
  • Indoor climate: As indoor climate (temperature and humidity) is the control variable for the heating ventilation and air conditioning system, it is important to measure at least some reference zones.
  • System Data: The system temperatures/moistures and control signals help to understand how the load is met. Furthermore, the global control schemes of the heat, cold and air supply can be examined with these measurements. This data set should be recorded at least hourly. This delivers additional information because the profiles e.g. of the energy use can also be examined and not only the amount of energy consumed.


SMART buildings – monitoring and metering incorporated

Smart buildings are automated buildings. This means that they are empowered by information and communication technologies (ICT) which (can) make their management and operation more energy and thus cost efficient, (if people living or working there are able to use the appliances smartly, too.) Building systems like lighting, heating and cooling, ventilation and shutters can be centrally managed and controlled. The automation allows the optimal energy use in response to  outside temperature, people in the house, day time, weather forecast etc. for the programmed parameters of comfort.


Through the ICT the monitoring of the real-time energy consumption of buildings is possible and makes its efficient controlling relatively easy. Problems i.e. sudden or unusual energy uses are diagnosed and detected automatically and alarm signals allows the facility manager to focus quickly on the most critical events.
A study group around the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found out that smart buildings can be established with an upfront investment of less than 10% of annual energy expenditure and with an expected payback period of less than 18-24 months. The study found that smarter buildings save about 10-30% energy. The bigger the smart public buildings the faster it pays off (Source: Energy-Smart Buildings - Demonstrating how information technology can cut energy use and costs of real estate portfolios).

 

The OPTIMUS project with the pilot cities: Sant Cugat (SP), Savona (IT) and Zaanstad (NL) verified that monitoring and optimizing the energy efficiency and renewable energy performance of buildings / districts / the city can be achieved by integrating different energy data streams. The application of OPTIMUS' advanced web-tools support decision-making of building and facility managers and reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and energy cost beyond BEMS up to 15-20%. The OPTIMUS tools and guidance is available here.

 

Access relevant specific information for local governments below:

  • Implementing Smart Information and Communication Technology concepts for energy efficiency in public buildings:  www.smartbuild.eu
  • Saving Energy in Europe's Public Buildings Using ICT: www.smartspaces.eu
  • Web-based Energy Management System for the Optimisation of the Energy Consumption in Hospitals: www.greenhospital-project.eu
  • Valuable Energy for a Smart School: www.VERYSchool.eu
  • EDISON Pilot Actions demonstrates, under real operational conditions, that a smart lighting system improves energy efficiency and encourages the use of small-scale renewable energy sources in public buildings: www.project-edison.eu

 

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