Towards energy efficient buildings: how ICTs can convert advances?

Michael David, A. Aubry, W. Derigent

This work is a positioning research paper for energy efficient building based on ICT solutions. Through the literature about the solutions for energy control of buildings during operational phase, a 3-layers model is proposed to integrate these solutions: first level consists in communication technologies, second level is about data modelling and third level is related to decision-making tools. For each level, key research topics and remaining problems are identified in order to achieve a concrete step forward. 1. CONTEXT AND PROBLEMATICS Through studies on ICT solutions for energy control of buildings, a 3-layers model is proposed to integrate these solutions and position a new way for energy efficiency. The building sector is the largest user of energy and CO 2 emitter in the EU, estimated at approximately 40% of the total consumption (Sharples et al., 1999). According to the International Panel on Climate Change (European Union, 2010), 30% of energy used in buildings could be reduced with net economic benefits by 2030. Such a reduction, however, is meaningless unless "sustainability" is considered. Because of these factors, healthy, sustainable, and energy efficient buildings have become active topics in international research; there is an urgent need for a new kind of high-technology driven and integrative research that should lead to the massive development of smart buildings and, in the medium term, smart cities. From a building lifecycle perspective, most of the energy (~80%) is consumed during the operational stage of the building (European Union, 2010) (Bilsen et al., 2013). Reducing building energy consumption may be addressed by the physical modifications which can be operated on a building like upgrading windows, heating systems or modifying thermic characteristics by insulating. Another possible path to reduce the energy consumption of a building is to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). According to the International Panel on Climate Change, a reduction of energy even greater than the 30% can be targeted by 2030 by considering ICT solutions. In support of this claim, some specialists believe that ICT-based solutions have the potential to enable 50-80% greenhouse gas reduction globally. In this respect, ICT innovation opens prospects for the development of a new range of new services highly available, flexible, safe, easy to integrate, and user friendly (Bilsen et al., 2013). This, in turn, should foster a sophisticated, reliable and fast communication infrastructure for the connection of various distributed elements (sensors, generators, substations...) that enables to exchange real-time data, information and knowledge needed to improve efficiency (e.g., to monitor and control energy consumption), reliability (e.g., to facilitate maintenance operations), flexibility (e.g., to integrate new rules to meet new consumer expectations), and investment returns, but also to induce a shift in consumer behaviour.

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