How to close the gap between designed and real energy consumption?

Jul. 24, 2019

Short story

Global greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector have globally more than doubled since 1970. Following the Paris Agreement that sets the objective of limiting global warming to “well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels, the EU committed to ensure that global GHG emissions fall to net zero by 2050. Buildings have a huge role to play in reaching this target as they are responsible for 40% of the energy consumption and 36% of the CO2 emissions in the EU.

As a result, there is a need to upgrade and renovate the EU building stock to dramatically improve its energy efficiency. The purpose of the EU-funded ExcEED project builds on the statement that there is a lack of structured and comprehensive set of buildings data which can be used to elaborate useful information and knowledge for market players and policy makers. Moreover, most buildings show lower energy performance than originally designed, because of their design and/or their use. By streamlining existing measured data series related to buildings and their contexts (meta-data), the ExcEED platform is raising awareness on how different kinds of buildings perform in practice and provide information on how eventually fill the gap between designed and actual performance, enhancing this way building’s energy efficiency, while ensuring healthy and comfortable indoor environments.

Several benefits of having good indoor environmental quality in offices, schools and hospitals (source:BPIE)

ExcEED endorses the importance of having a healthy and comfortable indoor environment by including in its platform an Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) survey, aimed at getting regular feedback from building occupants regarding their perception of the indoor environmental quality. The various criteria include thermal comfort, perceived air quality, visual comfort and acoustic quality, key factors to ensure a good quality of life and wellbeing. The information and knowledge provided by the survey results elaboration allow building managers and owners to improve the indoor environmental conditions and overall operation of the building, as well as give meaningful inputs to developers and designers.

Comfort, well-being, health and productivity: key factors for future-proof building brought by the EcxcEED platform! (Source:BPIE)

The indoor environmental quality survey asks simple questions on perceptions and experience when being in the office building: for instance, any symptoms the worker might have, what is the worker wearing, the ergonomic aspects of the furniture, the cleanliness of the working spaces, the rate of air quality and lighting, and so on. All these criteria, combined with information coming from the elaboration of the measured data, bring as a result a comprehensive overview of the building or buildings set performance.

The short survey, available on the platform, will evaluate your comfort level in your office room using several criteria

Casa Hoval,  ExcEED demonstration case and headquarters of the project partner Hoval, is a good example of a nearly-Zero Emissions office that is oriented towards the comfort and well-being of its occupants. It features a monitoring system which continuously feeds the ExcEED platform with measured data, to keep track of the performance and provide real-time analysis. It is often the case that buildings, especially offices, have malfunctioning systems such as air-conditioning that impact the occupants’ comfort and, to a wider extent, their productivity (see report). The ExcEED platform allows to design future better-functioning buildings thanks to the knowledge generated from existing buildings and districts, and Casa Hoval is an effective example. ExcEED users get insights on how to improve their office efficiency and indoor environment – and therefore work in better conditions – in terms of air quality, noise, temperature and lighting.

Casa Hoval,  ExcEED demonstration case and headquarters of the project partner Hoval

If you want more info on the benefits of indoor environment quality, download the full infographic. (Source: BPIE)

The survey is not the only functionality the ExcEED platform offers its users to close the gap between designed and real energy consumption. By adding building measured data and metadata, any user can access the powerful clustering and benchmarking tools, comparing building performance with reference values using dedicated indicators able to normalize different context conditions. The ExcEED platform responds to the need of handling actual buildings performance, extracting knowledge to improve building stock management, and consequently design more energy efficient buildings, in the framework of the transition to a decarbonized construction industry. All these analyses are done taking into account the security and privacy of the users’ data: for example, the benchmarking and clustering only use anonymised and aggregated building data.

ExcEED is the innovative platform offering its users, counting private real estate, public owners of building stocks, facility managers, decision makers, house owners and building practitioners in general, many different functionalities, including:

  • visualisation of the energy and comfort data of the building;
  • highlights of energy performance trends with several levels of resolutions;
  • comparison of building performance through the use of 27 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs);
  • benchmark of the user’s building with other buildings with similar functionalities uploaded in the platform;
  • cluster of buildings according to the selected KPIs using machine learning algorithm and visualization of the resulting clusters in a map.

By using the platform, you, as building manager or owner or occupant, will gain knowledge not only on your building(s) performance level measured against tailored benchmarks, but also on potential ways for cost savings and indoor environmental quality improvements. You will be able to check how energy efficient your building is and compare it to other buildings with similar characteristics in different contexts. Having in hand data from existing energy efficient buildings will also guide you in your renovation works.

You can contribute with your buildings data, while benefitting of the advanced tools for managing building stocks and planning and implementing a viable strategy for their energy efficiency and comfort improvements! The key is a novel collaborative approach, that enables to keep data anonymous, safe and trustable, while sharing information for an overall enhancement of knowledge.

Aren’t you curious about the ExcEED platform? Fill in the registration form here and start using it!

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European UnionThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723858. Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for the content of this material lies with the authors. It does not necessarily represent the views of the European Union, and neither EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use of this material.

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