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Smart Buildings & Communities

Even as the simpler node of the grid, the building is a very complex entity. It integrates a large amount of sources, technologies, energy flows, energy strategies, interlinked with a local district, connected to an extended urban context and to the macro – grid itself. Smart buildings are a major sector where match the EU targets for 2020 and over. It accounts for about 40% of overall energy consumption in Europe and for the biggest contribution to the global warming (41,5% in Europe and 48% in US, where buildings are consuming 78% of overall energy produced by power plants).
Over time, each of the components inside a building has been developed and improved, allowing modern-day building owners to select lighting, security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems independently, as if they were putting together a home entertainment system.

Today it is important to look outside the four walls and consider the impact of buildings on the electrical grid and the global environment. To meet these objectives, it is not enough for a building to simply contain the systems that provide comfort, light and safety. Buildings of the future must connect the various pieces in an integrated, dynamic and functional way. This vision is a building that seamlessly fulfills its mission while minimizing energy cost, supporting a robust electric grid and mitigating environmental impact. The advantages extend well beyond the building itself, allowing the electric grid to become more robust and reliable. Society’s carbon footprint could be minimized thanks to the usage of renewable energy sources to provide the power, balanced with a network of information that matches demand with variable supply on a minute-by-minute basis. These benefits are not temporary, but extend throughout the entire lifetime of the building, from modeling and design to renovation and beyond.

Objectives: 

ARES aims to define a set of methodologies and technologies to obtain significant improvements of the metrics related to energy consumption in existing public and private buildings and, more in general, in urban districts. In response to the social challenges related to the improvement of energy and environmental performance, ARES is doing R&D activities on:

  • ‘dynamic modelling’ of energy systems in order to identify the optimal configuration of the modules to guarantee efficiency and minimal energy loss, combining simulated analysis with experimentally measured data to provide a virtual model of the functioning of the system;
  • analysing and forecasting the energy demand, measuring and monitoring energy production to identify energy needs of different locations;
  • support the development of new models for planning and optimising energy use from traditional and/or renewable sources, through the realisation of systems for measuring and modelling of the consumption profile;
  • promote actions that support the rational use of resources at distributed level, through the implementation of systems that measure, monitor and manage the energy consumption.

Laboratories:

Cogenera
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