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Active managed Buildings with Energy performaNce Contracting

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AmBIENCe (Active managed Buildings with Energy performaNce Contracting)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-11-30

According to statistics from the European Commission (EC, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_1835) buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU alone. Therefore, energy efficiency measures of buildings are key to improve building’s energy and environmental performance, taking advantage of the availability of renewable energy but without compromising the comfort of their users. On top of that, especially with the anticipated electrification of heating, cooling and hot tap water production, buildings are one of the most valuable resources for the provision of flexibility at demand-side given their considerable energy consumption levels that also contribute to high emissions of CO2.
In order to fully unlock the potential of buildings towards energy savings, energy costs and CO2 emissions reduction, new smart energy services that aim at exploring flexibility from demand-side resources in different sectors must be identified. Given that many buildings in the EU are over 50 years old and a substantial part of them is energy inefficient, the use of ICT solutions and tools, relying also on big data provided by smart meters and sensors, coupled with the renovation of the existing building stock, will be able to trigger significant savings with reduced investment.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) schemes are an effective means to address this and provide energy efficiency services that can bring added value to the whole chain and contribute to the empowerment of energy end users through dedicated service providers such as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), aggregators or energy cooperatives that can increase the overall benefits through the grouping of several of these smart energy services.
However, recently, the ESCO market has slowed its growth in many EU Member States. Most of them face specific legal, financial and administrative barriers in the use of EPC by the public and private sector. The European EPC sector must overcome these barriers to enhance the energy efficiency in buildings. There is a big chance for the sector to offer new integrated and/or combined services (building maintenance, facility management) but also to provide multiple benefits (comfort, safety) and flexibility (demand response, user interaction, etc.).

By exploiting Demand Response (DR) actions and combining them with an efficient control of distributed generation, in particular those units based on Renewable Energy Sources such as thermal solar and photovoltaic panels, it is possible to increase the integration of energy from “zero-emission” power generation through the management and use of these resources locally. This will avoid potential constraints to the distribution grid.

Advances in different technological fields such as ICT, sensorisation equipment and automated control devices, should enable improvements in non-energy services, like security or comfort, but also energy savings and costs reductions by going beyond the passive buildings concept (typically involving measures affecting the building’s envelope, like better insulation and glazing) and adopting an Active Control of buildings approach. This approach uses buildings’ inherent flexibility to further reduce losses or costs and maximise the use of self-generated renewable energy.

The combination of this approach with the current EPC schemes, will bring to us the Active Building EPC, which implies the use of intelligent and real-time information that allows for new combined services, agreed performance criteria on comfort and safety and new levels of flexibility.

The AmBIENCe project aims to extend the concept of Energy Performance Contracting to Active Buildings and make it available and attractive to a wider range of buildings. AmBIENCe will provide new concepts and business models for performance guarantees of Active Buildings, combining savings from energy efficiency measures with additional savings and earnings resulting from the active control of assets leveraging for instance price-based incentive contracts. The willingness to invest in additional sensorisation, ICT and IoT will be increased by offering adjacent multiple benefits, e.g. related to comfort, security or maintenance.
Within the course of AmBIENCe, we will leverage the experience of the project’s business and research partners, and extend this through business area workshops where we will bring together various stakeholders to assess best practices and learnings. Based on this, an integrated modular concept will be proposed, and a proof-of-concept platform will be developed, to support the creation of Active Building Performance Contracts.
During this first reporting period we have started investigating the current Energy Performance Contracts (EPC) to support the development of an Active Building EPC that on his turn will be implemented and validated in two pilots.

At first, an assessment of energy performance contracts and building demand response services in Europe was performed, we have provided a detailed European view of EPC state of the art. This is described in the Deliverable D1.1 “Analysis of directives, policies, measures and regulation relevant for the Active Building EPC concept and business models” and the Deliverable D1.2 “Overview of actors, roles and business models related to Enhanced EPC and Building Demand Response Services”.
Then, an Active Building Energy Performance Contract (AEPC) concept note and methodology was developed, as well as a Proof-of-Concept of an Active Building Energy Performance Modelling platform. This work is described in Deliverable D2.1 “The Active Building Energy Performance Contract concept and methodology” and Deliverable D2.2 “Proof-of-Concept of an Active Building Energy Performance Modelling framework”.
All deliverables mentioned above are available on the AmBIENCe project website.

At the moment, we are trying to implement the AEPC concept and business model in two pilots, an office building in Portugal and an educational building in Belgium.

Through communication and dissemination of the activities done in AmBIENCe we aim to reach many stakeholders. Therefore, informational and promotional material is developed and available on the AmBIENCe website and shared via the online media channels of the project and the partners. We have participated in events and since the Covid-19 pandemic organised or contributed to different webinars to share our ideas and (preliminary) results. More information is available on the AmBIENCe website or with the project partners.
The main ambition of AmBIENCe is to go beyond the current state of the art by extending the energy performance contract to active buildings and making it available to a wider range of buildings.
AmBIENCe will provide new concepts and business models for performance guarantees of active buildings, combining savings from energy efficiency measures with additional savings and earnings resulting from the active control of assets leveraging for instance price-based incentive contracts (implicit demand response).
Within the course of AmBIENCe, the experience of the project partners will leverage and extended to stakeholders via workshops and digital outreach.
Based on this, an integrated modular concept will be proposed, and a proof-of-concept platform will be developed, to support the creation of active building performance contracts.
Picture taken at the second general assembly of AmBIENCe
AmBIENCe brochure
AmBIENCe factsheet
screenshot to the AmBIENCe project video