Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts
To see all the measures to be implemented, click here
Solution 1: Smart shell refurbishment
As mentioned in a previous blog post, this building is composed of 207 dwellings with a total surface of 14,165 m2, which will benefit from the passive refurbishment of the entire building façade. See the factsheet which provides an overview of this process here.
Insulation of the building is expected to lead to a reduction of the heating demand of the dwellings by approximately 43% due to the improved air tightness. The benefits for the tenants will not only be lower heating and energy bills, but also improved comfort and other qualitative aspects, such as noise and humidity insulation.
In order to assess the impact on user comfort, a survey and monitoring campaign was done in February 2017 for baselines, and a second survey and monitoring campaign will follow in 2018. Electricity and gas invoices will also be collected for baseline and reporting periods. The informational meeting with some of the tenants was held on 19 January, 2017 and was well received.
All the refurbishment work in the residential building of Passeig Santa Coloma 55-71 is being promoted by the public body responsible for social housing in Barcelona, Patronat Municipal de l’Habitatge de Barcelona - PMHB.
A successful case of public-private partnership in a residential refurbishment project
In March of 2016, after long negotiations, the first agreement for a pilot project of passive integral refurbishment was completed in a residential building in Barcelona. The refurbishment is being carried out within the renovation plan of Canyelles, a neighborhood built in the 1970s in response to a period of great migration.
In 2007, an agreement was signed between the City Council and the neighbourhood association to carry out renovation work on 65 buildings with a total of 2,524 dwellings in six phases, over six years. Each phase has been designed to carry out actions in different buildings, giving priority to structural problems and the improvement of thermal insulation, but also contributing to improving the urban elements. Phase 5 began in 2016.
Thanks to the public-private partnership agreement between the Housing Agency of Catalonia (AHC), which manages the renovations in the Canyelles neighborhood, and Gas Natural Fenosa, one of six residential buildings to be refurbished in phase 5 was included in the Growsmarter project at the beginning of 2016. It is a 56-dwelling building of about 5,000 m2 and the refurbishment is mainly based on passive criteria.
The European subsidy (GrowSmarter) and the participation of Gas Natural Fenosa as an Energy Service Company (ESCO) meant the refurbishments could be more ambitious than orginally planned, including: the additional installation of new windows and blinds in those dwelling sthat agreed to participate (77%) insulation of façade was increased, exceeding the current minimum requirements and further measures, like change of boilers, installation of efficient water taps (aerators) and home energy management systems have been included.
As part of the renovations, home energy management systems (HEMS) have also been installed allows the owners to monitor the energy usage of their home, becoming aware of their consumption and learning to reduce this by adjusting their consumption habits. In addition, the lessons learned from the installation of the HEMS will help Gas Natural Fenosa to develop customised value-added services for its customers in the future.
The monitoring of consumption through the HEMS’ installation started in July 2016 and will be carried out for two years from the end of the renovation project. Taking into account the limitations of the Organic Law on Data Protection, the values of aggregate consumption of the building will be available on the platform of the Barcelona City Council. In addition to this, within GrowSmarter, the dissemination of the results will be carried out nationally and internationally, with the aim of replicating this experience in buildings with similar characteristics.
Renovations started in June 2016 were completed at the beginning of this year. A technical-energy study of these passive measures carried out in collaboration with the Catalan Association of Architects (COAC) indicates that reducing heating demand and increasing thermal comfort in winter. Under these criteria, it has been estimated that the improvements proposed in GrowSmarter will allow a savings of 44% over current total energy consumption.
What are the advantages of the public-private collaboration within GrowSmarter?
Collaboration between the Housing Agency of Catalonia and Gas Natural Fenosa combined the efforts of GrowSmarter with the Aid for the refurbishment of residential buildings in 2016, published by the Housing Consortium of Barcelona (CHB). Thanks to this, both this residential tower and the other residential buildings selected in the project will be able to offer financial support to the residents for these renovations.
On the other hand, Gas Natural Fenosa has the opportunity to test a new business model, acting for the first time as an energy service company (ESCO) in the integral passive refurbishment of a residential building.
this business model the customers (residents) deal with a single company that completes the renovations and keeps track of energy savings over time. The residents can choose to pay for their share of the investments through monthly fees or a single upfront payment.
The project will improve the quality of life of the residents, providing improved comfort, reducing energy consumption, increasing the value of the dwelling, all with a reduced investment and a very affordable form of payment.
Lessons learned: difficulties and replicability
Due to the low heating demand in residential buildings in Barcelona and that only an estimated 40% of the heating demands are covered (PECQ 2011-2020 - Energy Plan, climate change and air quality of Barcelona), it is difficult to justify the renovations based only on savings. The aspects to be considered are rather the improvement of thermal comfort and the increased value of the property. But even so, the investment needed for the energy refurbishment are not affordable for the owners alone.
In the case of this project, the ongoing refurbishment project for the structural façade provided an an opportunity to tack on additional sustainable renovations, taking advantage of the fact that costs for painting, scaffolding, etc. could be shared.
The public-private collaboration is still a key factor in carrying out these measures: public administration has the role of proposing ways to favour the amortization of building refurbishment, for example through subsidies or tax incentives, and private enterprise can solve the problem of high investment costs for individual owners by acting as an energy services company (ESCO) to the community of owners of the building.
Smart solution 3: Stochastic model of appliance energy consumption
Among other research activities being carried out at the IREC (Catalonia Institute for Energy Research) is a GrowSmarter measure called the ‘Stochastic Model of Appliances Energy Consumption’. This is a tool that provides detailed load profiles of electric devices in a household.
In its current state, the tool is able to randomly generate the load profile of 15 different appliances according to the characteristics of the household, e.g. the building type (single family house or multifamily house), the number of occupants (from 1 to 5 occupants) and the appliance stock (type and energy labelling). This random generation of use profiles is based on the Spanish Time Use Data (TUD), a survey done in Spain by the Spanish Statistical Office (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE). TUD describes what people do at home over the course of the day, providing occupancy patterns and relating them to the use of appliances (e.g. if the activity is “laundry”, the “washing machine” will be used at that moment).
As an output, the model provides the following information: a) detailed profiles of each appliance’s consumption at 3-minute intervals b) a summary of the annual energy consumption of every appliance; and c) an energy comparison with more efficient appliances.
Impact of the stochastic model in the current trends of progressive electrification of households
The Stochastic Model of Appliances Energy Consumption is expected to be integrated in energy simulation tools and/or platforms to provide detailed information about the energy consumption of appliances in residential buildings.
From the point of view of the professional sector, this tool will generate detailed information related to electrical devices consumption. The aim is to design comprehensive strategies to reduce and manage energy consumption, including all types of energy usage in the residential sector, not only thermal ones (heating, cooling and domestic hot water).
From the point of view of the end-user, the tenants will have accurate and personalised consumption profiles at hand, enabling them to improve the energy performance of their homes. The most important impact of the model is to raise awareness about appliances’ consumption among citizens, in order to address appropriate strategies to improve energy efficiency in homes and to contribute to changing customer behaviour.
Action Area 3: Sustainable Mobility
To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.
Microdistribution of freight: On-board sensor units.
The on-board sensor unit deployed as part of the GrowSmarter project will be installed in the electric vehicles used in the microdistribution of freight measure in order to track different parameters (temperature, humidity, pollution, location …) while the tricycles are moving through the city. The information collected by the sensor units is transmitted to the GrowSmarter platform. These data can be lately used as input for different applications (e.g to determine the benefits of the micro-distribution of freight or to analyze the variation of pollution in a specific area)
2CAT has been working on the design and implementation of the on-board sensor unit that will be installed in several electrical vehicles used for the distribution of freight in a specific area of the city. This prototype is a multi-sensing wireless device that will monitor several parameters, such as temperature, luminosity, humidity, noise level, air pollution, and also the position at which these measurements are taken, so that it will be possible to map these parameters and monitor their variability during the full two years of the pilot duration. This monitoring solution will serve to:
• Explore the feasibility of tracking environmental parameters in a city in a mobile scenario with low-cost sensors to complement the information from the static environmental and pollution stations installed in specific places the city.
• Evaluate the environmental impact of the micro-distribution of freight solution through the comparison of the pollution in the delivery area with the one in its edges.
• Provide real-time tracking information about the path followed by the tricycles, which can be helpful to optimize delivery routes and, thus, improve the service and make it more competitive for the last-mile operator.
The sensing unit in the tricycles will be powered by the battery of the vehicles and will support cellular and WLAN communications to transmit the monitored information to the Growsmarter platform, where it will be processed and made available for the city services.
The mobile devices deployed in the project serve also as proof of concept to show the feasibility of using on-board units to monitor different parameters in a wide area (such as a city). This would help to reduce the expenses of installing and maintaining static and dedicated equipment for this aim.
During the next months i2CAT will work on the integration of the prototype with the electrical vehicles and on its on-field calibration and validation before the measure definitely starts. The microdistribution service is expected to be fully operational in early 2017.
Site Manager, Barcelona