Innovative IT products – new markets CONCERTO as a market stall for forward looking solutions
Within the technical scope of energy efficiency measures, there is a strong trend to more complex systems, bringing different fields of city development and management together. With systems becoming more complex, there is an increasing need for greater user assistance. Solutions will have a market, if they manage to integrate more “intelligence” into the IT product and keep the interface to the different stakeholders or users simple and intuitive. As system borders expand, or are even dissolved, standardisation and interfaces will become necessary.
With the increasing share of renewable energy sources and progressive implementation of decentralised energy production, the IT-based management of supply and demand will become very important. New markets for IT solutions and systems are evolving quickly and CONCERTO has been a “test ground” for many of these solutions.
Although the CONCERTO projects have not been projects of fundamental research, but have a focus on demonstrating sustainable concepts for the future development of districts and communities, accompanied by research activities, they have shown excellent examples of IT solutions. The projects have proven, for different important solutions, that they work in real situations and that they are helpful for improving planning and operation activities and for reducing CO2 emissions from buildings, neighbourhoods and cities.
Intelligent grids with their various components have been an important theme throughout recent EU energy legislation and reference to management is being made. Tools to assist the implementation of, for example, GIS and simulation technologies clearly play an important supporting role in the planning process, leading to practical implementation of these technologies. Intense research and various field tests are going on across Europe concerning smart meters, energy storage and supply and demand management.
Monitoring is an essential foundation for proving and optimising the efficient operation of buildings, energy supply units or combined systems on a district level. The CONCERTO projects applied a wide range of monitoring solutions, spreading from the manual reading of meters to wireless networks and ranging from single parameters, such as heating energy consumption, to a large set of parameters including, for example, user comfort.
As a result, it became obvious that monitoring has to be part of an integrated planning process from the very beginning in order to avoid problems of installation and implementation, to make it work properly and ultimately, to save costs. GIS frameworks offer a complex programming environment to add calculation, modelling and simulation to the geographic representation of objects. These frameworks are very suitable for operating, managing and optimising integrated energy networks on community or city level.