Solutions on BABLE are expert-curated proposals for efficiently implementable Smart City projects. Each Solution contains a list of benefits and a list of functions needed to achieve these benefits, as well as information on the business model, driving factors, relevant legal regulations, advices from experts and links to relevant use-cases and products.
District Heating & Cooling Systems
District heating and cooling systems distribute thermal energy in the form of steam, hot water, or chilled liquids, from central or decentralised sources of production through a network to multiple buildings or sites, for the use of space or process heating or cooling. For a lower environmental impact, a combination of recycled and renewable heat is the focus for district heating systems. Following the Paris Agreement in 2015 and the EU target to cut emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, there has been an increased effort from member states to foster district heating and cooling using alternative fuel sources and carbon-neutral heat producing technologies. This transition is challenging as district heating supplies only 12% of the EU´s heat supply, with most of the energy produced from CHP plants powered by natural gas and solid fuels such as lignite. Problems to be solved Carbon emissions Low-efficient heat supply Fossil fuel dependency GHG emissions
Building Energy Management System
According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. At present, about 35% of the EU's buildings are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient. Buildings are therefore the single largest energy consumer in Europe and have vast potential for energy efficiency gains. Currently, only about 1% of the building stock is being renovated each year. Renovation of existing buildings can lead to significant energy savings, as it could reduce the EU’s total energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%. One way to increase the energy efficiency of buildings is to implement a building energy management system (BEMS). BEMSs are centralised, computer-based systems, which provide real-time monitoring and integrated control of building services and equipment to optimise energy usage. They typically control the lighting, power, hot water, and HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems. The system monitors the information received from various sensors in the building (smart meters, occupancy, temperature, carbon dioxide and humidity sensors, etc.) and optimises the energy consumption while maintaining safety and comfort. These systems can also be used to improve the health and security of the inhabitants by controlling and monitoring the environment, emergency responses and regular maintenance schedules. The technology can be applied to both residential and commercial buildings and at varying scales from small independent buildings to complex sites with multiple buildings. (European Commission) Problems to be solved Energy consumption Energy cost Greenhouse gas emissions Power outages
Energy Efficient Retrofitting of Buildings
Improving energy efficiency of the building stock in a city needs strategic and long-term thinking. Complex ownership structures, market barriers, diversity of building typologies, consumer preferences and multiple stakeholders involved in the construction and retrofitting of a building makes energy efficient buildings a challenge even with the advanced technological developments. However, to realise positive energy districts and reach the ambitious climate goals set forward by cities, zero and positive energy buildings play a critical role. A variety of initiatives worldwide have proven that while a complex challenge, Energy Efficient Retrofitting of buildings is possible and has huge impact towards greener and more resilient cities. Problems to be solved Energy loss in buildings Use of inadequate materials Energy poverty Transition from fossil fuels Make technologies available Energy demand in buildings
Smart Home System
A smart gateway, as an essential part of the system, connects the smart home with the outside world. This allows the mobile control of devices in the house from remote places, often through smartphones and microcontrollers. External systems and services can be used for better energy usage regulation. Furthermore, the system can be connected to the smart grid as well as electric charging infrastructure to enable better energy efficiency and billing plans, for example, according to peak-time energy consumption or renewable energy content. ( European Commission, 2019 ) Problems to be solved Energy inefficiency is a huge problem in residential buildings. In Europe, 26% of the total final energy consumption is consumed in private homes. Smart Home Systems can reduce energy losses and increase the overall security and comfort of occupants while specifically improving the independence of elderly people. Inefficiency Insecurity Lack of comfort Dependency of elderly people High energy costs There are several solutions in the context of Smart Home Systems to solve these problems. ( Eurostat, 2018 ) Some marketable outcomes that Smart Home Systems provide are: Subscription-based services that can generate a constant stream of income Big target groups : It can be sold to hospitals and homes for elderly and disabled people, but also for those willing to increase their comfort in a smart home environment The gateways can anonymise and provide data to data platforms, to implement effective analytics and long-term improvement as well as product design. The data can be charged, and the analytic services and their results can also be seen as marketable outcomes.
Municipal Energy Saving Systems
For over a decade, European municipalities have been establishing initiatives, strategies and action plans to increase the energy efficiency of private and communal infrastructure. Municipalities of EU member states, enforced by the EU Directive on energy efficiency, must work collaboratively to ensure that by 2020 and 2030, an energy efficiency of 20% and of 32.5% are met, respectively. Initiatives, such as the Covenant of Mayors, have been launched to foster commitment towards energy and climate targets. Signatories voluntarily agreed to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. To achieve this, participating municipalities drafted and submitted a Sustainability Energy Action Plan (SEAP), defining their energy saving and climate measures. More than 6000 municipalities have developed and approved a SEAP since 2008; however, when compared to the total number of municipalities across Europe, there is still a long way to go. It has been identified that a municipality's building stock represents the single largest potential for energy savings. It is also expected that more than two-thirds of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050. Therefore, this solution aims to ease the conception and implementation of municipal energy saving measures. Problems to be solved Fossil fuel consumption Carbon emissions Detrimental urban air quality Wasted energy Unreliable energy supply Low energy monitoring
Energy Storage Systems
Global energy demand has risen sharply over the past decade. Economic growth, population growth and the industrialisation of developing countries are among the reasons for this. This energy demand should be covered as stably and sustainably as possible and with renewable energies ( Proton OnSite, 2016 ). Variable electricity generation is a common phenomenon when dealing with renewable resources e.g. wind and sun. Thus, there can be a mismatch between the energy generated and the consumption patterns, leading to the fact that the energy is not necessarily produced at the time it is needed. Furthermore, due to the decentralised and widespread energy generation by renewable sources, the energy is not necessarily produced in places with demand. Storage capacities decouple energy production and consumption and thus can support to balance the system by storing energy that is currently available but not needed, for later use ( Distributed Control Methods and Cyber Security Issues in Microgrids, 2020 ). Problems to be solved Indirect by increased renewable energy integration: Fossil-fuel energy production Carbon emissions Detrimental air quality Fossil-fuel dependency Directly through storage solutions: Voltage and frequency regulation Grid instability Geographical imbalances Peak shaving Efficiency of renewables Utilisation rate of renewable production