To date, we have already reached the stage within the GrowSmarter project where practically all measures are completely executed and the corresponding monitoring phase has started. This has allowed the collection of the first conclusions and lessons learned from the last 2 years of implementation work required to make the proposed measures reality.
In total, 123 000m2 of constructed surface area have been refurbished in the three Lighthouse cities (including private and public buildings, tertiary and residential buildings), and local energy generation has been promoted by connecting buildings to District Heating and Cooling networks, on-site renewable electricity production, and advanced smart energy management of the local energy generation. The project has also promoted the deployment of Home Energy Management Systems to raise awareness on energy efficiency among the citizens. In this context, each Lighthouse city has implemented Smart solutions of different nature but with the same goal: the demonstration of measures leading to a more energy efficient city building stock.
In Barcelona, the partners involved in the Low energy districts work package have highlighted the importance of the following topics:
- Explore feasible business models behind the private building energy retrofitting in relatively low heating demand areas (Mediterranean zone): The industrial partner responsible for the demonstration of private building energy retrofitting in Barcelona highlights the general need for Public-Private partnerships and, in case of commercial buildings, the need for agreements between building owners and operators. In Barcelona, the feasibility of actions related to the energy retrofitting of private buildings by an industrial partner has been possible through the figure of an ESCo (Energy Service Company) that has promoted Public-Private partnerships in order to find a favourable funding for the building owners.
- Define the value proposition of energy consumption visualization platforms prior to installation: The two energy consumption visualization platforms deployed in Barcelona have shown different value propositions. The Municipality deployed the free Virtual Energy Advisor, which aims at empowering citizens to decrease the electricity consumption in the residential sector. The local utility GNF deployed a commercial HEMS (Home Energy Management System), which will increase consumers’ energy efficiency awareness while providing valuable information on energy consumption consumers’ habits.
- Consider the strong dependence on National regulation for the implementation of Self-consumption systems (Photovoltaics + Battery systems) with Smart energy management systems: Considering the existing regulation in Spain at the time of the GrowSmarter project’s implementation phase, a distributed photovoltaic (PV) energy generation installation can only feed a single consumer. Hence, in order to implement this measure, the PV systems had to be installed at the common rooftop of the residential building and can only satisfy the common end-uses of the building (i.e. elevators and lighting). Moreover, the current legislation does not allow any retribution from the injection in the grid of surplus renewable electricity generation. This limits the possibilities that the smart energy management can offer.