Work Package Descriptions

Work Package 1: Building Envelope

Versatile high performance insulation materials based on aerogels for the retrofitting of existing buildings at a competitive cost level will reduce the energy demand for heating and improve comfort at the same time. Dynamic glazing will increase the use of daylight, foster solar gains in winter and reduce cooling loads in summer

Highly efficient materials for building envelope retrofit

In this module, we aim to develop tougher and cheaper aerogels as the base material for high insulating building materials to be used in novel building envelope retrofit solutions.

Dynamic Glazing and Multi-Functional Buildings Envelopes

Novel windows with dynamic solar gains will contribute to an optimal management of the energy and light fluxes in buildings. So far, the effective g-value of most windows installed today cannot be switched, shows only a relatively weak angular dependence and thus exhibits only very small variations between summer and winter. If the g-value could be varied, overheating in summer could be reduced while maintaining large solar gains in winter. This can be achieved following two main approaches, by novel glazing with angle-selective energetic transmission, or by a novel generation of switchable “smart” windows. The variation of the g-value can be combined with improved daylighting and glare protection while maintaining a clear view.

Work Package 2: Building Energy Management

Advanced predictive building control technologies will be developed in order to achieve significant efficiency gains by taking energy demand, supply from renewable sources, price fluctuations and grid services into account. Self-sufficient lighting systems will be based on optimally integrated high efficacy light sources and locally produced electricity. Thanks to building systems integration the overall efficiency of PV modules will be enhanced and the on-site use of direct current solar electricity will further improve the net balance.

Active Building Energy Management

Stochastic values like user behaviour and meteorological variables resulting from the combined activities of individual users and / or weather lead to stochastic fluctuations in the energy demand of buildings and processes as well as to stochastic variations in thermal comfort. This behaviour clearly defines the Energy “Fingerprint” of a building that can be predicted with a certain probability. The physical and mathematical modelling, taking into account the variability of supply and demand, but also weather and e.g. energy prices, is a fundamental step in the optimization of efficiency. Predictive building control technologies that ad- dress this problem are still at the demonstration stage. An optimal trade-off between the thermal comfort of users and building energy consumption has to be determined. This optimisation can be achieved through the clever combination of Perception-based Human-Building Interaction (HBI) components that can be en- hanced with machine learning (supervised and unsupervised) decision-making algorithms.

Self-Sufficient Lighting Systems

The optimal integration of advanced daylighting technologies with efficient electric lighting systems can mitigate this demand in existing buildings. Recent studies have shown that 70-80% electricity savings can be achieved in non-residential buildings by reducing the energy intensity from 20-30 kWh/m2.a to 5 kWh/m2.a. The integration of advanced daylighting and electric lighting systems together with advanced controllers for shading and lighting systems should allow reaching energy self-sufficiency for lighting systems fueled by on- site produced solar electricity. Simulation tools can contribute to the optimization of integrated systems in regards to energy efficiency and user acceptance. Compression methods can be used in order to facilitate the simulation and visualization of daylight fluxes through Complex Fenestration Systems (CFS) mainly consisting of shading and light redirecting devices.

Building Systems Integration

Using electricity that is locally produced on buildings is one of the cornerstones of a renewable and sustainable energy system. Buildings offer vast amounts of available surface area for solar electricity generation. However, owners and planners often disapprove of conventional roof-mounted PV systems because of costs, long periods of amortization or unpleasing aesthetics. Additionally, roof areas are increasingly scarce, especially in dense urban contexts, and therefore not always available for placement of conventional solar sys- tems. This concerns both rural areas with historic buildings and dense urban settings. A new generation of high-efficiency thin-film CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) Photovoltaic (PV) cells that reach up to 20% efficiency and can be mass-produced cost-effectively allows new integrations and applications on buildings, dramatically promoting the generation of solar electricity in the urban context.

Solar electricity generated on site is usually converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) to be fed into the grid. This requires inverters that incur efficiency losses; additionally they increase costs and their size poses design problems, especially for novel building-integrated solutions such as shading devices. Recent studies for residential buildings show savings between 5-15% for a whole DC building network and up to 50% for single appliances such as heating and refrigeration pumps. These savings are even larger for commercial buildings where better load matching between supply and demand can be achieved. Additionally, DC networks benefit from available local storage to improve load matching: we will investigate DC building networks in the context of zero-emission plus-energy building systems to address specific HVAC and lighting components that offer the largest potential energy savings.

Work Package 3: Urban Dezentralized Energy Systems

The effective technical and economic potential of renewable resources at an urban and/or territorial level will be assessed by a geo-dependent energy database providing accurate demand and supply data, as well as methods and tools. A co-simulation platform will be developed to model urban energy systems consisting of multi-energy grids and energy hubs in order to evaluate the potential of alternative energy distribution systems. FEEB&D will set up experimental planning tools and facilities for low cost technical proof-of –concepts and on-site evaluations under realistic operating conditions

Data Mining

The goals of the Energy Transition require the reduction of the energy demand in buildings and a substitution of fossil fuels by renewable energy. Local renewable resources are numerous (solar, wind, water, biomass, geothermal heat, subsurface heat and waste heat). However, each of these resources is characterized by specific spatial availability, as well as temporal dynamics and quality level (e.g. temperature), which limit its compatibility with demands. Exploiting these renewable resources needs a geo-dependent energy database, listing not only demand and supply, but incorporating the dependency on space and time. Such methods and tools are of primary importance for assessing the effective technical and economic potential of renewable resources at district and territorial level.

Focusing on a multi-scale methodological development of energy supply and demand, the following aspects of this module are complementary and mostly additional to the GIS-Energy of the SIA (Swiss Association for Engineers and Architects) plans: (1) The use of innovative big data mining techniques, particularly for extracing geo-spatial information of energy needs and energy resources from building to neighbourhood and from urban to territorial level. (2) The development of new techniques of GIS-energy analysis based on urban digital elevation models (DEMs) and geo-spatial statistical tools. These new techniques are very useful not only for accurately identifying and mapping a range of renewable resources (heat waste, solar, wind, water, biomass, and geothermal heat) but also as a means of simplifying the calculations and simulations in relation to energy potential of renewables, particularly the solar envelopes, over extensive urban areas. (3) Developing innovative scenarios for integrating renewables within building/street configurations so as to minimize energy demand and ease the transformation of the neighbourhoods, urban environment, and rural areas into decentralized energy systems.

Furthermore, harmonized methods for collecting, storing, and maintaining the databases are needed. The extrapolation of local results to the national level, by way of appropriate aggregated statistical methods, makes it possible to achieve comprehensive coverage. In view of the energy targets for Switzerland for 2050 and the SIA GIS-Energy plans, these scenarios will be compared with scenarios of non-integrated renewables so as to assess the potential improvements in energy efficiency in relation to renewables. The work in this module is split into two tasks related to energy supply and energy demand

Modelling and Simulation

This module is dedicated to the development of an open-source co-simulation platform, within which individual tasks will cover the modelling of urban energy systems. The linking of building and city energy programs to grid and heat network models has to be improved. Building data specification, use and exchange has yet to be achieved in an efficient, automated and reliable manner. Development of model interfaces and co- simulation methods is ongoing at several leading research institutes in Europe and the US. Such work is harmonized internationally in the IEA-EBC Annex 60 project. The general objectives of this module are to outline quantitative and qualitative advantages and disadvantages of urban energy systems compared to existing technologies and to other central generation strategies; to give input to module 3.3 for the development of design and planning guidelines and business models; and finally to provide academic partners and industry with an R&D instrument which supports their activities for integration of local renewable energy systems, site and district developments and retrofit projects.

Guidelines for Energy Infrastructure Realization

In order to meet the goals of the Energy Transition, technology transfer has to be fast and effective. Pragmatic guidelines for new components, systems, concepts and business models need to be developed to achieve a broad diffusion. However, these guidelines have to prove their practicality before they are launched into the market. Experimental facilities at academic institutions can provide low cost, scientific evaluation under realistic operating conditions, which can help to close this gap. Such facilities enable work on small-scale energy supply infrastructure and building construction, which perform similarly to reality but with reduced costs and risks. Such a facility will produce results that can be directly applied to lighthouse projects and subsequently to site development or district retrofit projects.

Work Package 4: Market Diffusion and Implementation of Technologies

WP4 evaluates how policy makers and business actors can accelerate the development and adoption of SCCER FEEB&D technologies. The timely diffusion and implementation of innovations is essential for achieving the goals of the Energy Strategy 2050. WP1 to WP3 evaluate the potential contribution of technological innovations such as aerogel insulation, building integrated photovoltaics, dynamic glazing, active building management, or urban energy-hubs, to the Energy Strategy 2050. At the same time WP1 to WP3 identify predominantly non-technological barriers, such as the uncertainty about the economic performance of technologies or the resistance to change by consumers, firms, and energy suppliers, as major barriers for the development, diffusion, and implementation of SCCER FEEB&D technologies.

Development and diffusion of efficient building technologies

Besides the economic performance of the SCCER FEEB&D technologies other factors such as the lack of standardization and the absence of corresponding business models hinder the diffusion of SCCER FEEB&D technologies. This module evaluates past energy efficient building technologies that have successfully emerged from niche to mainstream markets. The research aims at identifying the necessary policy measures and organizational innovations to accelerate the development and diffusion of SCCER FEEB&D technologies. The main deliverables of Module 4.1 include a database with the development pathway of selected energy efficiency technologies and best-practice guidelines for firms to successfully develop and diffuse innovative SCCER FEEB&D technologies.

Techno-economic assessment and socio-economic implementation of multi-energy-hubs

The design and implementation of multi-energy-hubs is highly complex because of the availability of multiple technology configurations and applications. In addition, major determinants of the technological performance and potential revenues are uncertain. This module identifies the effective technological configurations by developing a techno-economic model. Moreover, we evaluate early markets and organizational capabilities necessary for the successful implementation of multi-energy-hubs. The aim of this research is to overcome techno-economic and organizational barriers to the implementation of multi-energy-hubs. Main deliverables include a techno-economic assessment and guidelines for the successful implementation and operation of multi-energy-hubs.

Implementation of building energy efficiency at large scale

Given the low turnover of the building stock, retrofitting those buildings constructed before the introduction of the thigh thermal regulations is essential for reducing energy consumption. However, engineering calculations of retrofit saving potentials are often too optimistic and neglect important aspects in the usage patterns of buildings. This module evaluates the difference between predicted and actual efficiency of building retrofit. Considering this adjusted in the assessment of building retrofit assessment, the potential for large-scale retrofit programs is assessed. Main deliverables include a steering tool that improves the ex-ante assessment of the energy saving potential to retrofit and thereby guides large scale retrofit programs.