“Taking into account that almost 50 % of Union’s final energy consumption is used for heating and cooling, of which 80 % is used in buildings, the achievement of the Union’s energy and climate goals is linked to the Union’s efforts to renovate its building stock by giving priority to energy efficiency.”
“Buildings are becoming a factor in the generation of renewable energy and energy storage, but still the process should be accelerated.”
“While significant progress has been made, energy efficiency in the Europe is a battle that remains to be won. Buildings, as they represent the biggest energy consumer in the Europe, have a prominent role to play. New buildings consume today much less than they used to. This is due to ambitious policies: the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) has set a demanding framework for energy performance of buildings, which has fostered a rapid evolution of technologies and practices towards greater levels of energy efficiency. This also applies to systems and products that are used in buildings, such as lighting, space and water heaters, domestic appliances and ICT equipment; EU-Regulations on energy-related products under the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling policies are estimated to deliver energy savings of around 175 Mtoe per year in primary energy by 2020, more than the annual primary energy consumption of Italy. Improving skills of installers and service providers can deliver further savings.”
“Energy performance of buildings generally does not reflect consumption from appliances that are not part of technical building systems, such as heating, ventilation and cooling systems. At a time when the designed energy performance of buildings and appliances is improving dramatically, it would be worth gaining an accurate vision and understanding of their actual, real-life energy performance.
Access to information on the actual energy performance and energy consumption is essential to help users making informed choices, both in terms of investment and in terms of usage and maintenance. In this respect, a remaining challenge is to advance the way actual energy performance and consumption is assessed and measured. For buildings, the energy performance is mainly calculated at design stage, based on the characteristics of the buildings’ envelope, components and systems. Real consumption can be taken into account but to a certain degree that remains limited. For appliances, energy consumption is tested and monitored as they are placed on the market or put into service under conditions that aim to reflect real life usage. This approach is reliable but still, in-use performance may vary e.g. depending on the way buildings and products are commissioned, installed, set up and utilised, accordingly. For certain products, a specific challenge comes with the software or firmware updates of – usually connected – devices, which often change the original settings with considerable impact on the energy consumption (e.g. disabling of standby-modes). In addition, performance may evolve, i.e. decrease, over the lifetime, which is not reflected by the performance as designed or placed on the market. Addressing therefore the self-assessment of products actual energy performance to achieve or maintain better energy efficiency at appliance level and by extension a better energy management in the building is important.”
A recent report by the United Nations, specifically the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, projected that cities globally will absorb 2.5 billion more people by 2050. Owing to the dynamics that are associated with such a transformation, cities are going to face a myriad of challenges. Traffic congestion, rampant environmental pollution, health issues and energy insufficiency are a few examples. No one wants to imagine the kind of impending crisis, because even the supply of basics resources is set to become problematic.
Of course, the discussions around the smart city concept would not be complete without the energy topic. The threat of climate change calls for focus on energy. That cities contribute more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption globally is a leading reason why people are talking about power requirements in smart cities.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY: THE INEVITABLE FUEL FOR SMART CITIES
It is not a secret; smart cities need a lot of power. These megacities carry innumerable subsystems. Data collection, movement of people and many other activities within these subsystems require energy. Smart Cities efficiency and reliability of power are necessary ingredients for viability of these projects.
Smart cities must be in the forefront in enhancing application of energy efficiency solutions and we can help contribute with our knowhow to achieve these challenges