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Big data for buildings


Actions should focus on developing and demonstrating large-scale pilot test-beds for big data application in buildings.

More specifically actions should:

  • define a reference architecture for buildings data; and
  • develop and pilot an open, cloud-based data analytics toolbox.

The reference architecture should ensure compatibility with existing dataset formats across Europe, allow integration with legacy architectures, encourage replication and scale-up and be compliant with applicable EU standards (e.g. privacy, security, intellectual property). The data architecture should be modular in order to accommodate data from various sources including dynamic data from Smart Meters, Sensors and other IoT devices, Building Management Systems (BMS), energy market prices, weather data, currency exchange rates, as well as static data from existing databases such as consumer consumption data, Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) repositories and Building Stock Observatory.

Proposers should perform an extensive review of existing datasets across EU and take into account ongoing initiatives such as:

  • EC Directives and initiatives (e.g. EPBD, EED, Ecodesign, INSPIRE, Digital Single Market);
  • Reports and studies commissioned by EC on relevant topics (e.g. EU Building Stock observatory, Data Exchange Study);
  • Existing frameworks and architectures (e.g. Level(s), SAREF, BIM, legacy formats).

The data analytics toolbox should be able to process big and diverse sets of data and perform Statistical Analysis, Data Visualisation, Business Intelligence (BI) and Predictive Modelling. The tools used should enable the integration of state of the art data science technologies like Statistics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL).

The data analytics toolbox should support third party development of a wide range of services and business models with the objective:

  • to monitor and improve the energy performance of buildings;
  • to facilitate the design and development of building infrastructure (e.g. district heating and cooling networks);
  • to support policy making and policy impact assessment; and
  • to de-risk investments in energy efficiency (e.g. by reliably predicting and monitoring energy savings).

The toolbox should foresee communication protocols to be able to pull data from and push data to existing datasets (e.g. the EU building stock observatory) in an automated way without manual intervention (e.g. using APIs). The toolbox should be built on state-of the art technologies and be hosted at a well-known, stable, secure and scalable cloud service provider (IaaS/SaaS/PaaS).

Proposed actions should demonstrate that they have access to existing large-scale real datasets and should engage as many as necessary of the following actors: national and local governments, network operators, suppliers, ESCO’s, building managers & facilitators, the construction & renovation sector and software developers with proven experience in data collection and data analysis. Projects are expected to collaborate with EU-funded projects[[EU-funded projects on data (]] on big data as well as the contractor in charge of Maintenance and Update of the EU Building Stock Observatory[[EU Building Stock Observatory (]]. Proposers are expected to implement large-scale communication and dissemination campaigns in order to engage public authorities and the market actors.

Projects are required to follow the H2020 guidance on ethics and data protection[[]] taking into account digital security, privacy and data protection requirements including the compliance with relevant directives/regulations (e.g. NIS[[Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union.]] , eIDAS[[Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC.]], GDPR[[Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).]] ) and relevant National Legislation.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between 3.5 and 4 million EUR would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

This topic contributes to the roadmap of the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) cPPP.

European buildings are producing an increasing number of data on energy generation and consumption from various sources (e.g. smart meters, building management systems). Collecting and making available reliable data on buildings is a key challenge for the European Union. Enabling big data for buildings is key to achieving the EU targets. More and better data can lead to enhanced consumer information, contribute to an effective management of energy grids and support the creation of innovative energy services, new business models and financing schemes for distributed clean energy. Data is also a key enabler for reliable and effective policy impact assessments. The collection and analysis of building data, through data analytics tools, will produce statistics, business intelligence and predictive models that will enable reliable and effective policymaking.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Significant and measureable contribution to standardisation of European buildings data;
  • Demonstrated interoperability with data hubs at national or supranational level;
  • Creation of new data-driven business models and opportunities and innovative energy services based on the access and process of valuable datasets;
  • Better availability of big data and big data analysis facilities for real-life scale research, simulation and policy-making;
  • Tangible engagement of key stakeholders in building the database and contributing with real data;
  • A growing up-take of innovative data gathering and processing methods in the monitoring and verification of energy savings;
  • Effective integration of relevant digital technologies in the buildings sector, resulting in integrated value chains and efficient business processes of the participating organizations;
  • Strengthened links with the relevant programmes and initiatives aiming at building data collection and storage, supported by regional, national and European policies and funds;
  • Emergence of sustainable ecosystems around big data platforms.