The Energy Data Innovation Network (EDI-Net) started as an EU funded project in 2016 within a Horizon 2020 call of the European Commission. Since regional and local authorities of EU member states are developing Energy Efficiency Action Plans, it became clear there was only little knowledge about how to improve energy efficiency of public buildings.
Within the framework of SMARTSPACES, an EU co-funded project which can be designated as a preceding project of EDI-Net, a sound energy optimization strategy for overcoming this issue was developed. The SMARTSPACES service enabled public authorities in Europe significantly to improve their management of energy in the buildings they occupied by first analyzing smart meter data. This information was then combined with information from the users of many buildings to identify good and poor energy performance. As a result professional building managers were supported in optimizing the operation of the building’s energy systems and the awareness for energy consumption was increased.
The EDI-Net initiative takes up the approach of SMARTSPACES and aims on helping public authorities define and evaluate their energy efficiency and renewable energy plans in a broader range concerning time and quantity. It will directly engage with and influence over 600 decision makers, financial professionals and energy managers and over 3,000 public authority staff. It is even expected to reach many more – over 25 500 public officers, 0.5 million public staff and millions of people.
To achieve the initiative’s overall objective in terms of accelerating the implementation of sustainable energy policy three key pillars can be pointed out:
- a data analytic system with the capacity to analyse millions of meter readings,
- an online forum for Public Authorities to more effectively engage with building decision-makers and finance professionals,
- and networking activities which aim on boosting capacity building within the project and increasing involvement in the network and replication of the results.
Our two-way approach: Combining technical information with information from building users
In technical terms EDI-NET reports any malfunctioning or unsatisfactory elements of the energy and water performance of public buildings. The innovative aspect is the analysis of the increasingly readily available short time series metered energy and water data (typically hourly, half hourly, or quarter hourly). This leads to an increased knowledge and awareness of building users to the optimal operation of their buildings. By maintaining comfort parameters and energy consumption regimes a higher performance and reduced emissions are finally achieved.
Furthermore EDI-NET shares comparative information about best actions implemented. It enables local authorities to use this information to more effectively implement Sustainable Energy Action Plans and local Climate Protection Plans and more effectively set energy and water budgets.
So the initiative’s approach implies that smart meter data alone will not implement sustainable energy policy. When combined with online discussion forum, local campaigns, awareness raising and peer-to-peer knowledge transfer savings of between 5 and 15 percent can be achieved.
Our consortium consits of seven organisations from three EU member states (Germany, Spain and UK). In specific there are two University based research Groups involved (DMU and CIMNE), a leading European city network (Climate Alliance), a research and consulting company (Empirica) and three public authorities: the Generalitat de Catalunya (Spain) and the Cities of Leicester (UK) and Nuremberg (Germany).