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Business Model Innovation for High Performance Buildings Supported by Whole Life Optimisation

Periodic Report Summary 2 - UMBRELLA (Business Model Innovation for High Performance Buildings Supported by Whole Life Optimisation)

Project Context and Objectives:
Due to barriers that exist when considering the sustainability of the built environment, optimising energy efficiency in buildings is often a management issue and not one of design. In many cases, it is the organisation responsible for the building that makes the decision with respect to where best to invest their limited resources. For this reason, decision support tools, providing information with respect to a building’s energy consumption and methods for implementation and incentivisation of the solutions, benefiting all stakeholders involved are required.

UMBRELLA addressed this issue through the development of an innovative, web-based decision-support application, which provides common independent evaluation tools built around new and adaptable business models. The interface uses guided navigation to ascertain key information from users such as: key stakeholders; building location; building type; new or retrofit build; owner objectives and preferences e.g. energy efficiency, carbon and budget requirements etc. Business models, specific to the project and stakeholders are then provided through the online dynamic web portal, which will allow users to explore and optimise different business models and the relating implications and recommendations for interventions to their specified building. This can be applied to any building at any stage of design or use. Once the initial assessment has been carried out by the end user, they have the option to perform a more comprehensive analysis, which creates a full Dynamic Simulation Model of their building, calibrated against energy monitoring data (where appropriate) in order to facilitate decisions with respect to design options, retrofit options and in-use system changes through an understanding of the impact of these decisions to the buildings, its occupants and comfort and the required investment and payback that would result.

The project has resulted in 2 software tools, available as prototypes, at the end of the 36 month R&D project. These are: a Free online web tool which allows end users understand the energy use of their building and the potential design/retrofit solutions which would be suitable to their building type and location; a Commercial tool which is a desktop solution offering the user a comprehensive analysis of their building from design, retrofit or in-use perspective allowing them to design to a better energy efficiency, understand the impact of a variety of retrofit options or optimise their existing building while in-use at minimum cost. Both the Free and Commercial tools offer advice to the user with respect to the appropriate business model that would allow them to implement the solution depending on their situation and the stakeholders involved in their project.

Subsequently, the project has also identified the potential for a third Hybrid tool, which will maximise the tools developed for both the Free and Commercial tools, and offer the end user a simplified commercial tool, which provides a higher level of accuracy of the Free tool, yet does not require all of the detailed information required for the Commercial tool. This is additional development which will take place during the commercialisation of the project, beyond the R&D 36 month phase.

The project has been demonstrated in 4 regional flagship projects located in the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland. The demonstration exercise has identified a number of changes required to bring the prototypes to products and an exploitation plan has been created to carry out these changes and identify the route to market for the products. The product strategy plan has identified the ownership of each of the components of the tools and put in place a sales strategy that maximises the potential for each exploitation partner while keeping the sales structure simple without complicated royalty agreements.

Project Results:
The project was split into 8 Work Packages with 28 deliverables. All deliverables have been submitted and all milestones have been met.

WP1 focussed on the Technical and Administrative Management of the Project. Good communication between the coordinator and the WP leaders and project partners was maintained through the project. The project had a dedicated document management and storage site, called Zoho and its own GoToMeeting conference facility for use for project meetings between partners.

WP2 characterised the value chain and best practices to be used with the UMBRELLA tools. This included a mapping of the building energy retrofit chains, analysis of stakeholder needs, motivations and drivers, examination of new and emerging technologies and the creation of a generic dataset of design/retrofit solutions to be used by the UMBRELLA tools. This WP helped define the interface for the Free and Commercial tools, identify the target end users and what they want to see from such a tool and identify which design/retrofit solutions should be integrated.

WP3 carried out a more thorough stakeholder analysis through a number of workshops, online questionnaires and face to face interviews. These activities were carried out with stakeholders from each of the demonstration sites as well as with the general public. The data from the stakeholder engagement was analysed and this was also used to define the tools and how they can encourage end user engagement for maximum impact.

WP4 generated New Business Models which will maximise uptake of Design/Retrofit/In-Use solutions for the next generation of high performance buildings. This involved a comprehensive Market Research exercise examining the Energy Efficient Buildings market, the tools that exist and how UMBRELLA can fit within this market. Following this a number of business models were generated to be used with both the Free and Commercial UMBRELLA tools. A detailed matrix of solutions, incorporating over 100 new business models was generated to automatically identify the appropriate business model based on the user situation using the Free Tool. The Commercial tool can then adapt and modify the potential business models based on more detailed discussions with the building owner.

WP5 developed the software components of the Free and Commercial UMBRELLA tools.

WP6 developed the user interface for the Free tool and the database architecture behind it. This allows the user to enter inputs into the online web tool; these inputs are automatically matched to a library of master templates and design options which then generates a box model, the box model is simulated via a cloud based simulation scheduler and the results are returned to the online web interface. The results include both the technical interventions and the appropriate business models to implement the solution.

WP7 demonstrated the use of both the Free and Commercial tools on 4 sites in the EU: UK, Poland, Italy and Spain. The UK site demonstrated the aspects of the in-use part of the tool, the Italian site demonstrated the aspects of the retrofit part of the tool and the Polish and Spanish sites demonstrated the aspects of the design part of the tool. The results highlighted a number of improvements that could be made before the software is released to the market and in particular highlighted the need for a Hybrid tool which goes beyond the simple analysis that the Free tool provides without the comprehensive data that the Commercial tool requires.

Finally WP8 conducted the dissemination of the project at 16 conferences and events, as well as the submission of 8 academic publications, the delivery of bi-annual newsletters, the generation of leaflets for general dissemination as well as a standardised project presentation and a two minute demo video. WP8 also produced standardization strategy paving the way to the standardization of the results of UMBRELLA and an exploitation plan which identified the route to market, the ownership of the various components of the tools, the ownership of IP and joint IP and the product and sales strategy.

Potential Impact:
The consortium, agreed at an early stage that the UMBRELLA tool will be made up of two offerings; a Free tool and a Commercial tool. The Free tool offers a range of energy efficient solutions using a selection of template building typologies (e.g. office building, dwelling, hospital and so on) through an online, user friendly and intuitive website, as well as the appropriate business model to implement the solution. The Commercial tool takes the user beyond the basic analysis delving into more complex analyses recommending solutions based on a very detailed and accurate representation of the user’s building. In the last few months of the project, the demonstration activities also identified a 3rd potential offering, that of a Hybrid tool which combines aspects of the Free and Commercial tools to offer a more detailed analysis but without the complexity of the data required for a full Commercial analysis.

For a greater socio-economic the consortium agreed to target specific countries based on floor distribution per country; these chosen countries are: Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain and Poland.

With the exception of Germany and France, the other countries are home to the UMBRELLA pilot test sites therefore we have already performed relevant stakeholder analyses and interviews to understand each of the different environments and have gauged the initial feedback on the proposed tool which has ultimately informed the design of the tool itself. It is expected that during the commercialisation period (i.e. prototype to product) there will be further stakeholder workshops in these relevant countries which will enable us to not only increase the exposure of the tool but gauge further the target market to enable a greater impact to the market and environment. In addition, the next countries to be added will also be examined.

The commercialisation phase will target 2% of the EU building stock within 5 years of commercialisation of project deliverables. This will result in an increase in the market share of energy efficient solutions of 15% within 5 years, resulting in reductions of 3.096Mtoe per year. This is a significant impact to the EU. The partners are confident that this impact will be met as a result of
• The quality of tools which have been developed
• The USP that exists with respect to the integration of a technical and business solution
• The route to market and exploitation plan which has been identified
• The exploitation lead already being a lead in software development and sales and having a strong track record in bringing R&D prototypes to commercial products
• The commitment of the exploitation lead and project partners to ensure that the UMBRELLA project is a commercial success

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