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31 October 2016

Stockholm blog #4: from nothing to everything all at the same time

GrowSmarter is a complex project in which many solutions are linked to each other and both planning and implementation must happen in an integrated manner. This is very evident in Valla Torg, where the tenants must first vacate the buildings before the smart solutions can be implemented in and around the buildings. As this process didn’t start as planned in February 2016, but rather in August, we are now in a very hectic implementation phase where everything happens at the same time, as we still need to keep the original timetable. In this blog I will explain in more detail everything that will happen in the next few months to come.

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

What is happening in Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus area buildings?

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

For those of you who didn’t have a chance to read my previous blog posts, the smart solutions for low energy districts will be rolled out in three building zones, namely Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus area (see map here). For an overview of the measures being implemented, click here. In Valla Torg tenants began leaving the buildings in August and the first high-story building has scaffolding (pictured). Work on the façade will start in October. The walls will receive more insulation and new energy-efficient windows will be installed by Skanska. The interior work will also start at the same time. Old pipelines will be removed and new insulated pipelines will be installed. All these measures are part of the energy efficient climate shell (solution 1).

In the private condominia Brf Årstakrönet, the refurbishments (solution 1) and (solution 3) started in January 2016 with the installation of an adaptive control system by Veolia. Veolia will also install photovoltaics (solution 4) on the roofs upon receiving the building permit. The same solutions will also be implemented in the Valla Torg and Slakthus area buildings during later stages of refurbishment.

The real estate administration office (Fastighetskontoret) has made a procurement of a building contractor for Slakthusarea, but the decision has been appealed. As soon as the court has given its decision the work can continue.

Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

Installing smart LED-lighting

The installation of smart LED-street lights (solution 5) was finalised in June in Valla Torg. The adaptive LED-lighting will reduce energy consumption by 50% while still providing the same sense of security along walking and bicycling paths. Each street light features a radar detector that senses movement on the path (Picture). As soon as any movement is detected, the light is activated and the movement is communicated wirelessly by radio to a number of nearby street lights. As a result, cyclists and pedestrians experience normal illumination levels along their entire route. In Stockholm the lights are not fully turned off during periods without movement, but rather dimmed down and then activated to full light as soon a person approaches.

Smart LED-lighting in Stockholm

Waste heat recovery

Fortum’s open district heating (solution 6) will be implemented in two locations. Waste heat from Data Centres in Västberga and waste heat from Supermarkets in Farsta (some 5km South of the Slakthus area) will be integrated into the district heating systems. The agreements have been signed and the installations will begin in October-November. When operational, the waste heat collected will be distributed into the district heating system and provide heat and hot water to more than 1,000 apartments.

A smart connected city

In Stockholm the smart connected city will use the extensive fibre optic network provided and administered by Stokab, a company owned by Stockholm City Council. Several Internet of Things applications and solutions can be built on top of the fibre optic network. Together with different departments and city owned companies, we are defining ways to provide higher quality of life for citizens with smart connected solutions in a series of workshops. We will start the process with defining the users’ needs. We have defined three groups of users: inhabitants, visitors and companies. In the Slakthus area we are focussing on visitors and companies, while in Valla Torg the focus is on inhabitants. In my last blog I addressed some of the activities in the Slakthus area, so in this blog I will cover how apartments with simple installations can provide many new functions.

In residential houses, as the tenants change over time, we should install equipment which can be used by several end users and for several purposes. Let’s say we install a movement sensor and water meters in every apartment. If the inhabitant is old, maybe the relatives would like to have a way to monitor her well-being. For example, a simple alarm function could be built and an automatic message sent to relatives when the motion sensor senses the person is inside the apartment, but has not used water for 12 hours. We can also collect water use data and the housing company could, for instance, detect leakages when water is being used and no one is home. If we realise that people use water in different ways, from very little to very intensively, we can create individual water billing so that everyone only pays for the water they use.

IBM, who are responsible for the open consolidated big data platform (solution 8), are involved in two parts of the project: “Sensing City Scale people movement” and “Movement of Pedestrians/Bicyclists”.

In “Sensing City Scale people movement” IBM planned to analyze mobile phone data and create heat maps to show how people move in the city over time. This analysis was to be matched against other data such as public transport capacity, traffic measurements, weather, etc. to see how well the different transportation modes and capacities are optimised in the city. The project team, platform for data management, analysis tools and method are all in place. A subcontractor was identified and final negotiations for delivery of Telco data were in progress at the beginning of 2016, with the project start scheduled for 1 February 2016.

But an unexpected issue arose. Based on a thorough legal assessment of the current Swedish Personal Data Legislation (PUL) and the EU General Data Protection Legislation (EU GDPL), the subcontracted Telco cannot provide the requested mobile telephone data for citizens of Stockholm in a way that would make it useful to the use case defined by IBM Research Dublin Lab. The only legally approved way for getting access to mobile phone trajectory data is to ask the citizens to voluntarily participate in the project and thus explicitly give consent for the project to track the movements of their mobile phones over time.

The merits, challenges and feasibility of this alternative approach will be assessed by the City of Stockholm and IBM, and a decision on whether to attempt this approach - by consent will be made in 3Q 2016.

In “Movement of Pedestrians/Bicyclists” IBM will measure and study in detail especially how pedestrians move in the city. A prototype user interface environment has been developed in the Bluemix platform. Sample data sets from relevant data sources have been uploaded into the Bluemix environment and made available for the users, including vehicle traffic measurement data, bicycle traffic measurement data, bicycle accident data, and weather data for specific locations in the city. End user functions and graphical visualization tools have been developed, e.g. new work project definition, traffic data selection, report generation, and graphical data visualization.

A plan for implementing new sensor data sources in Aug/Sept 2016 has been agreed upon with the Traffic Administration. This will consist of 7 video sensors in the city infrastructure connected through the city fiber optic network to the Bluemix platform. Data from these sensors will be uploaded into the traffic planner user environment in Bluemix. These sensors will be able to measure the flow, volume and direction of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in the selected city areas covered.

Smart waste handling

The underground parts of the smart waste handling system (solution 7) provided by Envac will be implemented in October and November (pictures). The terminal and inlets will be implemented during the beginning of 2017. The waste is compacted right below the waste inlet in the storage pipe instead of upon arrival to the waste terminal. The compacted waste allows for smaller pipes and a reduction of the airflow by as much as 50%. These factors together result in a reduction of energy consumption up to 50%. The solution will consume less energy per tonne of collected waste than any other comparable traditional waste collection, including ordinary waste collection vehicles.

Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

Building logistics centre and delivery boxes

The building logistics center (solution 2) and delivery boxes (solution 9) will be implemented by Carrier starting in October and November. The location of the buildings logistics centre has changed and will now be in Slakthus area. Carrier has together with Skanska discussed which material streams can be best handled by the logistics centre. The construction logistics are part of the production process, so the better production is planned and organised, the easier it is to provide just-in-time deliveries of materials to construction sites. Typically the materials are delivered outside work hours (after 5pm) so that they are available the next morning at the construction site. There are several benefits of the construction logistics centre. First, there are fewer materials wasted and damaged at the construction site, along with less traffic to and from the construction site. The construction site can also be kept clean, as the packaging waste is regularly removed. What’s more, production is enhanced as materials needed for work are constantly available and it is always clear where the materials are and how much is in stock.

Delivery boxes (pictured) are installed in the entrance of the refurbished buildings in Valla Torg next to the post-boxes. Tenants can order packages and other deliveries straight to their homes instead of retrieving them from the nearest service point. The delivery from the service point to the building is done by cargo bikes.

Smart Traffic Management

Insero, together with NOAE (Network of Automotive Excellence) and Global car OEM, is implementing an information system for drivers (solution 10). In Stockholm around ten traffic lights will be equipped with software that can communicate and inform users about the status of the light and when it is about to change. This is achieved through a data connection between the traffic light, the cars’ onboard software and GPS, and a central computer handling the calculations. Through a special device in the car, the driver will receive information on what speed to adopt in order to reach a green light at the next intersection. This information tool will be tested in two cars for a few months’ time. Effects on travel time and the drivers’ experiences will be evaluated.

Alternative fuel driven vehicles

As part of the GrowSmarter project, Fortum has planned to install up to 10 charging stations and one fast charger (solution 11). The fast charger will soon be installed in Årsta. The location has been selected and the charger has already been delivered. The normal charging stations will be installed in Valla Torg, the Slakthus area and Årsta.

The first refuelling station (solution 11) is up and running (picture). The filling station in Årsta is expected to be established in the beginning of 2017.

Citizen engagement

A citizen engagement event was organised in Valla Torg in September. The event was very successful with around 500 visitors and positive feedback. The event was also the launch of the refurbishment in Valla Torg, and the audience had the opportunity to get information both on the GrowSmarter project and the different smart solutions from our partners, and to visit the exhibition apartments.

Mika Hakosalo

Site Manager, Stockholm

31 October 2016

Cologne blog #4: citizen involvement and integrated infrastructure

I am happy to share with you that Cologne has been recognized with an award for its participation in GrowSmarter by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy! Projects all over Germany related to intelligent networks were reviewed, and Cologne won in the category “cross-sectoral”. More information can be found in this article (in German)

Action area 1: Low energy districts

Citizen involvement: the Stegerwald Settlement

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

At the Stegerwald Settlement in Cologne, the first construction phase is underway and the second phase of construction started in May 2016. The planning and tendering process for the different local energy productions is mainly completed.

With photovoltaic modules installed on the roofs of the first four buildings, our progress is becoming more and more visible!

Smart Solution 1 Energy efficient refurbishment of the building

© RheinEnergie

As you can see on the map the scaffolding is now progressing and the construction of the next buildings is coming closer.

(Insulating of buildings, installing triple glazed windows) © RheinEnergie

DEWOG has started the refurbishment and is currently insulating the buildings, basement ceiling, and roofs as well as installing triple glazed windows in some of the buildings. The façades will be reinforced with an additional 10cm of insulation on the gable side, adding to the existing 6cm insulation. Houses which are not yet insulated are being provided with 16cm of insulation. Also the buildings in the Deutz-Mülheimer Street (which are in the second construction phase) will be insulated with 16cm after dismantling the existing 6cm. The insulation keeps the temperature of the buildings more consistent, whether during warm or cold temperatures. By doing so, we can significantly reduce the primary energy consumption for heating and cooling.

The old self-contained central heating has been replaced with central heating in two buildings. The two other buildings in the first construction phase will be completed soon. The installation of new energy efficient elevators is also underway. Furthermore, the stairway lighting in all renovated buildings will be replaced with efficient LED lighting.

(Preparation of the elevator shaft) © RheinEnergie

DEWOG will install modern, electrically powered heat pumps with high efficiency which will be powered by the PV-modules of RheinEnergie. Soon RheinEnergie will also add electric storage. The combination of these components will reduce the consumption of primary energy in the Stegerwald Settlement significantly.

© RheinEnergie

Until the modern heating components are finished, the tenants of the settlement must be provided with temporary heating stations. To this end, RheinEnergie has deployed three heating stations (two rented and one mobile RheinEnergie heating station) presently in use. We expect to complete the installation of the new heating components in October, just in time for the winter.

© RheinEnergie

Smart Solutions 3 and 5: Smart Home System and Smart Meter analysis and actuators

With the SmartHome application of RheinEnergie in combination with SmartMeter of AGT International, the tenants are able to track the current energy consumption of connected devices. As a result tenants are able to recognize devices which consume large amounts of energy and should get a better general overview about their consumption of electricity. This could motivate them to replace their electrical equipment, or parts thereof, with energy-saving devices.

AGT International and RheinEnergie are currently working on a joint venture to combine both systems into one. Since the Federal Government is currently deciding about the necessary IT-security (potentially to conclude by the end of 2016), the rollout of smart meters may begin mid-2017.

The SmartHome system was shown and explained to the tenants at an event in the Stegerwald Settlement in November 2015. Another event is planned for November 2016, where SmartHome will be presented to the tenants again.

In order to display the functions of the system, DEWOG in cooperation with RheinEnergie and AGT International is installing the Smart Energy Solution (hardware and software) in the Stegerwald Café.

© RheinEnergie

Smart Solution 4: Virtual power plant – “Siedlungsmanagement”

Virtual power plants for holistic settlement management have so far only been carried out as research projects. The RheinEnergie „Siedlungsmanagement” software leads to an autonomous self-sustaining development for communities. This would partially replace the supra-regional grid expansion as well as the construction of new conventional power plants. In addition, it provides the residents with the opportunity to influence their own energy consumption. The “Siedlungsmanagement” is a tool that is designed to be replicated in other city or town.

Based on the data provided by smart meters and smart home appliances, RheinEnergie is better able to offer attractive tariffs (“Mieterstrom”) and useful services to the tenants.

The holistic interaction of all components, such as power generation, storage, SmartHome, Smart Meter and consumption, will lead to a change in energy awareness as well as a social sense of community within the settlement.

© RheinEnergie

Smart Solution 11: Developing charging infrastructure

The City of Cologne, together with 12 partners, is working on a project called "colognE-mobil". This is one of the largest field tests as part of a program called “model regions for electro-mobility” launched by the German government. The charging infrastructure for GrowSmarter will be implemented together with the e-mobility.

The city government has now approved the mobility-stations, so RheinEnergie is able to start installing the charging infrastructure. That hasn’t been an easy task!

Lots of planning was required, including coordination with all affected city departments, transportation agencies, as well as with North Rhine-Westphalian legislation. RheinEnergie will install approximately 15 charging stations in the project area Mülheim.

© RheinEnergie

To promote the GrowSmarter project, we use opportunities like street festivals that are very popular in the summer months. One such festival, with a rich history of tradition, took place in Deutz, neighbourhood neighbouring district to the Stegerwald settlement and the location of one of the mobility stations at the Charles-de-Gaulle Square. With our partners KVB and cambio CarSharing we informed citizens about the trend-setting solutions in traffic, energy, and communication technology that we are launching within GrowSmarter. While discussing how to steer traffic flows and fulfil climate protection goals, many of the citizens decided to reduce their private car usage and signed up for carsharing and bike rentals. An important factor in this decision is the central location and the wide range of mobility options at the mobility stations.

© Stadt Köln

This demonstrates the importance of good promotion for GrowSmarter!

Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructure

Cracking open data - stimulating local entrepreneurs & traffic management

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

In our last blog we told you about our partner KVB, who provided their locations for the rental bikes as well as the actual position of each rental bike. A member of the open data community has now used this data to develop an application:

The application is not yet finished – at the moment it only works properly in Google Chrome - but it is a very good example of how open data can be used to encourage innovation. We are very encouraged to gather and provide more data!

31 October 2016

Barcelona blog #4: passive refurbishments in the residential sector and semantic data

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

Passive refurbishment in the residential sector by Barcelona Municipality

One of the refurbishment measures implemented by the Municipality of Barcelona within the scope of the GrowSmarter project is being carried out in the residential building of Passeig Santa Coloma 55-71. This building is composed of 207 dwellings with a total surface of 14,165m2, which will benefit from retrofitting to improve energy efficiency and comfort.

Aerial view of the building with 207 dwellings. Source: PMHB

The work will include the passive refurbishment of the entire building façade. This refurbishment involves the addition of external insulation on the North, East and West façades, as well as in the South façades that are not protected by a terrace, together with treatment of thermal bridges. Both EPS and wool insulation will be used, the former being applied on ventilated façades and the latter on the rest of façades. Insulation on each façade has been optimized in order to protect indoor spaces from weather conditions depending on the orientation and irradiation received. The benefits of passive refurbishment will be assessed by means of thermal imaging before and after the refurbishment.

Horizontal section of façade: current state (left), addition of EPS insulation (center), and addition of wool insulation in ventilated façade (right). Source: PMHB

This insulation technique is expected to lead to a reduction of the heating demand of the dwellings by approximately 43% due to the improved airtightness. The blinds of all the windows in the building will also be upgraded.

According to the calculations on energy savings prior to the refurbishment, the baseline total primary energy consumption of the building is 100.88 kWh/m2, while the same figure for the refurbished building is expected to be 53.36 kWh/m2. The fuel for space heating in this residential building is natural gas, so any reduction in space heating demand directly leads to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Current state of two of the façades of the building. Source: PMHB

The benefits for the tenants will not only be the impact in their heating energy bills, but also improved comfort and other quality aspects of the building, such as noise and humidity insulation.

In order to monitor the impact of the refurbishment on the building’s energy consumption, 4 of the dwellings will be monitored to collect data from electricity and natural gas consumption of the apartments once the façade retrofitting is completed. In addition, the Municipality of Barcelona has also implemented a monitoring system for the existing 13 domestic hot water installations fed by a solar thermal system on the rooftop of the building. Finally, the assessment of comfort conditions will also be carried out in several dwellings by measuring the indoor temperatures, humidity and CO2 concentrations. This experimental assessment will be carried out by means of a survey to the tenants.

Data visualization platform of the monitoring of solar thermal installations. Source: PMHB

All the refurbishments in the residential building of Passeig Santa Coloma 55-71 are being promoted by the public body responsible for social housing in Barcelona, Patronat Municipal de l’Habitatge de Barcelona - PMHB.

Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

Using semantic data integration to process city data

Cities and their citizens are producers of large amounts of diverse data. Diversity of many data sources is in fact one of the biggest issues in big data processing. Semantic data integration offers unique advantages as opposed to more traditional approaches, such as ETL (Extract, Transfer, Load), which create bottlenecks for data access and doesn´t scale as well as technologies that consume data directly without moving it around. It´s worth mentioning that semantic technologies and linked data are not a competitor for the role that databases play; they complement database technology to allow ad-hoc exploration and the integration of semi-structured and unstructured data (temporal, spatial, network, etc) that can be sparse and can hide implicit information. They model an open world in which data and metadata can evolve naturally and new implicit relationships may be discovered based on explicitly defined relations and constraints. Semantic technologies are about capturing variable, dynamic, linked schemas, regardless of where or how the actual data is stored.

Integrating Barcelona’s data sources

Barcelona´s big data integration solution is based on such a semantic approach. The idea is to provide a modelling layer (8.2) that reflects the concepts and relationships for the domains addressed in the GrowSmarter project (energy, mobility, and integrated structures), and to access the data instances through this model rather than directly. This makes it easier to integrate further data, as well as to explore and query it without having to understand what the real structure of the database is. It is also a powerful tool for quick data integration and access, which could be useful when porting it to a new city with different data.

A number of components must be in place to successfully deliver on this promise, as shown in the figure below:

The user should have access to the ontology exploration and query tool that enables him to find concepts of interest in the model via a local search starting from anchor entities identified by the tool. In addition, the user must be able to intuitively construct queries without having to learn the query language (SPARQL). In our implementation, queries are constructed visually and are translated into calls to the GrowSmarter Data Platform (Semantic Layer in 8.2). This process relies on the crucial step of retrieving the mappings between the data storage schema and the ontology concepts (8.3). It is a semi-automatic collaborative tool in which the domain experts must select from the recommended mapping those that best reflect reality. Once the API calls return results, these will be combined into a unique result and returned to the user or the application that formulated the semantic query.

We have finished the development of the energy ontology starting from the T.U. Wien ERO ontology and adjusting it in close collaboration with our energy domain experts, IREC (Barcelona). We are in the process of developing the mobility (and contamination) ontology. We have implemented the mapping tool based on LogMap from Oxford University, and we are in the process of hooking it up to a tool that facilitates visualizing the recommended mappings. The last implementation step will involve connecting the semantic queries to the GrowSmarter Data Platform and computing and displaying the final results on the city map.

Transferring results to other cities

The intention is to make this approach available to applications that work with data from the City of Barcelona, and to then select a subset of them - in collaboration with our partners from Köln and Stockholm - that could be ported to work with data from these cities. This can be a first step in demonstrating the viability and advantages of a semantic approach, and of our toolset, for data integration and seamless application access to different sets of city data.