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The following piece is an extract from the January 2017 issue of Impact, a publication that features science reports designed to enable the dissemination of research impact to key stakeholders. This is a report on ENTRUST, a H2020 R&D project that IES is involved in as a project partner.
ENTRUST is a three-year project exploring energy-related human behaviours and attitudes and how these are shaped by numerous factors, including age, gender and socioeconomic status. Through this in-depth analysis, the research team hopes to advance the transition to a low carbon energy society.
Traditionally, energy has been seen primarily as a commodity – a marketable product produced and sold by companies with the principal motivation of financial return. In this perspective, citizens are conceived as consumers whose only legitimate mode of interaction with the energy system is through their purchasing choices and consumption practices. However, consumption only represents one element of the human interaction with the energy system and such a restrictive view has led to poor policy decisions being made, resulting in, for example, bottom-up resistance to energy infrastructure and the design of less than effective initiatives aimed at changing energy behaviour and practices.
In a time when the energy system is undergoing a rapid transformation, understanding the human dimensions of energy is more important than ever. The EU has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent from 1990 levels, and to have a minimum of 27 per cent of energy produced by renewables, as well as a 27 per cent improvement in energy efficiency. In order to achieve this transition to a low carbon energy paradigm efficiently and effectively, the way in which energy is viewed needs to be re-evaluated.
Energy citizenship is a theory that seeks to move beyond the narrow view of energy as a commodity and seeks to integrate the public as active stakeholders in the energy system. While this is an emergent (and to a degree contested) concept, a key feature of energy citizenship is that it should involve not only the responsibility to change behaviours and practices, but also include the right of citizens to be involved in energy-related decision making processes.
ENTRUST (Energy System Transition Through Stakeholder Activation, Education and Skills Development) is a project that has adopted this theory as a conceptual framework for investigating the human factors of the energy system. Commenced in May 2015, and coordinated by University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, this Horizon 2020-funded project seeks to gain an indepth understanding of people’s awareness and perceptions of the energy system, their attitudes towards various energy technologies, and their energy consumption behaviours and practices. This analysis particularly explores how sociodemographic factors (especially gender, age and socioeconomic status) impact and shape these attitudes and practices. Building on this understanding, the project additionally aims to engage the public in the current energy transition and develop effective tools for creating public interest in European energy policy and innovation. It is hoped that researching and understanding this human dimension will both help to build an energy infrastructure that is acceptable to communities, and that supports the successful transition to a low carbon society.
A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
What is particularly important about ENTRUST is its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to its research on the energy system. A wide range of disciplines – including engineering, sociology, political science, psychology, gender theory and human geography – are integral to the effective exploration of the sociodemographic factors at play. To obtain expertise in such a diverse array of fields, a number of organisations – Liverpool John Moores University and Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd (UK), LGI Consulting (France), Redinn S.r.l. and STAM S.r.l. (Italy), and Enerbyte Smart Energy Solutions SL (Spain) – are partners with UCC on the project.
The ENTRUST team sees the roles of gender, age and socioeconomic status in moulding a person’s identity as crucial to understanding their associated impacts on our energy infrastructures. As Project Coordinator Niall Dunphy explains: ‘We recognise that every person’s identity is complex and multifaceted, and that gender, age and socioeconomic status all play a role in shaping – both positively and negatively – people’s attitudes and practices when it comes to energy. We should also recognise that these indicators also shape people’s experiences of oppression and privilege to varying degrees throughout their lives.’
To gain an enhanced understanding of individuals’ actions and behaviours in relation to energy, ENTRUST has adopted an integrated, mixed-methods approach. It will evaluate the extent to which one’s social environment impacts on behaviour and practices. Furthermore, the role of gender (in particular) will be assessed via intersectional analyses to gain a deep insight on how multiple sociodemographic factors of a person’s identity can influence their energyrelated attitudes and practices. Through this investigation, the ENTRUST team is endeavouring to integrate new knowledge within a practical framework that can help shape future energy innovations, improve stakeholder understanding and, ultimately, overcome the shortcomings of the current energy transition. ‘By helping to give local people a voice in policy making we hope to contribute towards short-circuiting the potential for repeating some of the pitfalls that hindered previous phases of the energy transition,’ states Dunphy.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Since energy citizenship lies at the core of ENTRUST’s framework, empowering communities is a crucial focus of the project. The team is collaborating with six different communities across Europe, which will have the opportunity to co-design their own energy transition. ‘We are working with these communities to, firstly, understand both their awareness, perceptions, behaviour and attitudes to energy-relevant technologies, and, secondly, to facilitate them to envision, and to re-imagine their own energy transition,’ Dunphy elaborates.
One interesting approach being adopted by the project to help community empowerment is Participatory Action Research, the emphasis of which is on participation and action among community members. By enabling individuals and communities to work collaboratively and thoughtfully towards making positive change happen, ENTRUST is encouraging the development of bespoke energy systems that involve an efficient, low carbon framework.
The project is engaging the public by conducting in-depth face-to-face interviews, focus groups and mini-publics (the assembling of randomly selected citizens that represent a microcosm of the public to discuss a particular topic). A particular emphasis is on ensuring inclusivity. For example, with regard to gender, timing, location and provision of support services (such as crèches) are considered important to enable both female and male participation.
In terms of wider public engagement, Dunphy and his colleagues are setting up a communication and knowledge platform that will inform and update citizens on the developments of their community’s future bespoke energy system. Not only this, but the platform will encourage discussion and participation among individuals – no matter what their gender, age or socioeconomic status – giving them an active say in the shaping of their energy system.
ENTRUSTING COMMUNITIES WITH THE ENERGY OF THE FUTURE
Just one year into the project good progress has already been achieved, with the completion of numerous analyses on, for example, policy and regulation, energy technologies and market-based policy tools. Now, activities are really ramping up, as the multidisciplinary team gets to work on stakeholder engagement and sociodemographic analyses. ‘The next 12 months are an exciting time for the ENTRUST project,’ Dunphy notes. ‘We will continue our intensive and rich engagement with the six communities of interest, which will result in intersectional analyses of their perceptions and attitudes towards energy, and of their perceptions and attitudes towards energy technologies.’ Once these findings have been obtained, they will, along with the aforementioned analyses, be able to significantly inform the future of our energy system.
Find out more about the ENTRUST Project here: http://www.entrust-h2020.eu/
As a key technology project partner on the iUrban project, we’re delighted and proud to announce that the city of Rijeka has received a Green Digital Charter award under the category ‘Promoting open and interoperable solutions’ for its implementation of iURBAN smart Decision Support System (DSS). This integrated, multilevel and scalable tool has been designed for cities’ administration to critically analyse energy consumption patterns and increase energy efficiency in public buildings.
The city of Rijeka was one of the two successful pilot projects for the project. Chosen for its strong history with ICT and its commitment to sustainability, the city is one of the first European cities that joined the European initiative “The Covenant of Mayors” in 2009. The initiative connects cities with goals to exchange experience in implementing effective measures to achieve sustainable development of the city through reduction greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In 2010, among the first cities in Croatia, the City of Rijeka prepared its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), which anticipates 42 measures and activities aimed at reducing CO2 emission in three sectors: building, transport and public lighting. Pursuant to the analysis of the implementation of these measures we will achieve 32% reduction of CO2 till 2020.
To find out more about the city of Rijeka and the iURBAN project please visit http://www.iurban-project.eu/
Click here to read the news item on the iURBAN website.
One of the greatest challenges that our societies have ever faced is how to drive energy efficiency at the building, district and city level. Sustainable Places is an International Conference held each year across Europe to gather scientists, researchers, and engineers, from both academia and industry to discuss the latest state-of-the-art advances in this area.
This year, its being held in Anglet, France and IES is involved in a big results workshop for FASUDIR, as well as presenting on work currently in progress on the iURBAN and NewTrend projects. While other projects RESSEEPE and Energy in Time are also hosting in-depth workshops.
The show aims to facilitate innovative solutions for renovation and new construction to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of ever-growing, densifying urban areas, in a resource-constrained world. Information and Communications Technology (ICT), along with other key research domains (energy, materials, methods and practices, etc.) will be at the core of the conference.
Join us at the show if you’re heading along, or catch up with our post show blog.
FASUDIR Results Workshop
Thursday 30th June, 9am-12.30pm, Nick Purshouse
FASUDIR Linked Workshop/Paper: Historic Cities in Transition
Wednesday 29th June, 4.30-6.30pm
iUrban Paper Presentation
Thursday 30th June, 9am, Mike Oats
NewTrend Presentation: District Renewal Workshop
Wednesday 29th June, 11am-4pm Nick Purshouse
RESSEEPE Workshop: Public Building Retrofitting
Wednesday 29th June, 2-4pm
RESSEEPE Paper Presentation
“Innovative technologies for retrofitting: Coventry University as a Living Lab”
Wednesday 29th June 4.30pm
Energy in Time Workshop: Building Operations & Maintenance
Thursday 30th June, 9am-12.30pm
Ever wondered what a Technical Analyst does? Well wonder no more! For this blog post we went behind the scenes to meet with Birthe Klebow, a member of our Software Development team to find out more about her role, what she loves about it and what advice she would give to other women entering a profession in a largely male dominated industry…
What attracted you to working in Software Development, particularly for IES?
I enjoy challenging myself to find elegant solutions for complicated problems. Working in software development gives me the opportunity to think outside the box and explore ‘uncharted waters’ every day. It is a great privilege to work with a company whose vision I fully support: the development of more sustainable buildings and cities by exploiting the potential of dynamic simulation. Working as a member of an expert team in IES, I actively shape and enhance the company’s market leading software products.
What does your role at IES involve?
As a technical analyst I bridge the gap between our product managers, external project partners and our software developers. My role is to understand user / project requirements and research, envision and formulate concepts for innovative solutions meeting their needs. I finally create software specifications which serve as the foundation for the development of the final products.
What project are you currently working on?
I am the technical lead for two European Horizon 2020 research projects which are both coordinated by IES. They are called NewTREND and IMPRESS. Together with research and industry partners from ten different countries, we are developing software solutions for Building Information Modelling (BIM) supported building energy retrofit. The goal is to help significantly reduce energy consumption in existing buildings and make building energy retrofit projects more accessible, effective, efficient and affordable.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I highly value the impact my work has, not only in terms of the enhancement of existing products, but also with respect to influencing the future direction of the company by designing new and innovative software tools which IES is well known for. I appreciate the variety of my work and enjoy being challenged every day. Day-to-day interaction with international project partners and participation in conferences allow me to stay up-to date with recent university research and the latest trends in technology.
What do you enjoy most about working at IES?
A definitive highlight is the great working atmosphere we have in our Glasgow headquarters. It’s a pleasure to work with highly motivated and skilled people in multi-disciplinary international teams.
What contribution to IES are you most proud of?
Shortly after I joined IES, I took over the internal technical lead of the European research project Energy in Time. Within the frame of this project, our team have been developing calibrated building energy models for real-time building performance optimisation. We are now getting to the final stages of the project and its very satisfying to see that the project has emerged from a very ambitious and challenging proposal to a solid final solution.
What advice would you give to anyone entering your profession?
As an analyst, it is essential that you are a good listener and know how to put yourself into your customers’ shoes: only when you understand their real needs, you can design products making people happy!
Building engineering/physics/software development is very much a male dominated industry. What do you think would encourage more women into these industries?
I think we are still lacking a rich portfolio of attractive career profiles for these industries. Successful women serving as role models are probably one of the best motivations for young women to follow similar career paths.
As a female role-model what advice would you give to other women considering a career in this industry?
I think the best advice I could give women in this situation would be to follow their interests, be self-confident and trust their own abilities.
Interested in a career with a highly innovative company that offers a flexible and supportive working environment and the opportunity to work with a team of friendly, interesting and diverse people from across the globe? Keep an eye on the careers section of our website for upcoming positions or feel free to send your CV over to email@example.com. You can also follow @IESCareers on twitter.
Daniel Coakley presented at the recent CIBSE Symposium on “Integration for whole life building performance.” His session looked at the “Development of calibrated operational models of existing buildings for real-time decision support and performance optimisation.” Building simulation tools are commonly used in design for performance appraisal and optimisation. However, numerous studies have found that actual building performance often deviates significantly from simulation predictions.
You can view the presentation here:
There is also an accompanying paper, which proposes a detailed framework to produce calibrated operational models, which can support operational decision-making, and real-time control optimisation.
The approach centres around a three-tier calibration process:
• Tier 1 focuses on Building level (Demand-side) variables (e.g. occupancy, equipment, infiltration).
• Tier 2 focuses on system-level (HVAC) model components (e.g. heating / cooling coil capacities). In this phase, we use detailed building data combined with genetic optimisation techniques to calibrate relevant input parameters. In the case where system performance modelling is not necessary, we use free-form profiles (i.e. measured building data) to supplement these model components. Once system-level noise has been eliminated.
• Tier 3 calibrates the remaining plant-level parameters (e.g. central plant, electricity consumption, etc.).
The approach is supported by two novel developments:
(1) Free-form profiles: These are actual historic trends from existing building controllers, which are used to supplement model components where appropriate;
(2) Genetic Optimisation algorithms are utilised to efficiently navigate the solution space to reduce discrepancies between the model and actual system performance. The proposed calibration approach builds upon prior research efforts to standardise the calibration process using evidence-based model development, combined with sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.
Click here to read the full paper.
Last Week Daniel Coakley of IES spoke on the topic of “Modelling Natural ventilation in the IESVE: Case studies & Research Outlook” at a half day seminar, organised by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), for researchers, designers, engineers & architects.
This CIT Technical Seminar: Ventilative Cooling & Overheating Risk was organised in collaboration with IEA-EBC Annex 62 and presented state of the art utilisation of ventilation for reducing cooling energy demand and addressing the risk of overheating in low energy buildings.
In his presentation, Daniel covered;
Next week All Energy opens at the SECC for another year and we’re gearing up for all that it will bring. As we’re headquartered in Glasgow it’s great having such a forward looking event going on in our home town. And boy is Glasgow a great host city – not only does it have flourishing Smart City credentials, but it’s also renowned for the warm welcome it gives visitors.
Speaking as part of the Sustainable Cities conference stream in Alsh1, Aidan and Catherine are covering the following:
4 May 2016, 12:45 – 13:45, Quick Fire Technology Update
Towards the development of a virtual 3D city model: Dundalk, Ireland
Aiden Melia, Project Manager, IES
5 May 2016, 14:30 – 16:15, Sustainable and smart cities technology
Making real-time operational control of buildings a reality with 3D simulation
Catherine Conaghan, Senior Project Manager, IES
While Nick is presenting within the Energy Efficiency Quick Fire Seminar Theatre on 5th May.
11:45 | NewTREND: Next Generation district integrated building retrofit, Nick Purshouse, Project Manager, IES
12:00 | IMPRESS: Energy reducing pre-fabricated retrofit panels (BIM) integrated, Nick Purshouse, Project Manager, IES
Firstly, I must congratulate all the new ASHRAE Ireland committee, who worked really hard alongside myself, to make our first event a great success. It took place in the heart of Dublin (Dublin Castle), on 9th February 2016, and was incredibly well attended, with over 80 representatives from a diverse group across the whole building services sector – from both industry and academia. In addition, 10 sponsoring organisations including IES were also present, representing building design, HVAC equipment, refrigeration and controls.
A varied agenda included talks from across the industry:
• ASHRAE Organisation and the Ireland Section: Frank Caul (Sirus), Ken Goodman (ASHRAE Sub-Region B Chair) & Dr. Bruce D. Hunn (ASHRAE)
• Commercial Building Performance: Dr. Bruce D. Hunn (ASHRAE)
• Building energy policy and research: Kevin O’Rourke and Dr. Daniel Coakley
• Industrial Refrigerants: Seamus Kerr (RSL Ireland)
Bruce Hunn, the headline ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, spoke about ‘Performance Measurement protocols for Commercial buildings’, giving an in-depth discussion on characteristic measures for energy, water and indoor environmental quality (IEQ), as well as best practice guidelines for the application of each. This talk covered many important aspects of performance measurement, including setting the objective (why is it measured?), the metric (what to measure and how?), and finally the outputs in terms of appropriate benchmarks or performance indicators. The talk covered the three levels of performance objectives – basic, intermediate and advanced, giving detailed examples for each case, utilising the ASHRAE HQ building in Atlanta as a case study. Click here to view the presentation slides.
In the afternoon session, which focused on building policy and research, I introduced the concept of smart cities and smart buildings. My presentation illustrated how current IES research in this space is driving improved integration between systems, buildings, communities and cities. In particular, the talk focuses on solutions being developed through collaborative research projects and training networks, such as Horizon 2020 and Marie Curie, and how these are helping create the next generation of urban energy planners and engineering solutions capable of leveraging novel ICT technologies to improve design and operational efficiency. In particular, I highlighted my involvement in one of these projects – EINSTEIN, a Marie Curie IAPP project in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, which aims to develop the next generation of optimised building controllers, through a combination of data-driven fault detection and prediction-based control optimisation. Click here to view the presentation slides.
Overall, the event was a great success for the launch of ASHRAE in Ireland, with a fantastic turnout, and positive feedback from attendees, sponsors and invited speakers and guests. It was great to see such a high level of interest and commitment from people from across the building services spectrum. We hope that this will lead to the growth of the organisation in Ireland, with further events already in planning, and growing interest in the formation of technical sub-committees among interested individuals and organisations.
EINSTEIN, one of our funded Research and Development projects is nearing the end of its second year, bringing us to the half way mark. And excitingly we’re starting to see some really interesting results.
EINSTEIN is a Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project, where knowledge is shared between Industry and Academic partners through a number of staff exchanges. The aim is to encourage entrepreneurship and to help to turn creative ideas into innovative products and processes.
Together with our project partners Trinity College Dublin (TCD), the aim of EINSTEIN is to formulate and integrate a number of advanced building control strategies. Controls which will not only eradicate errors between ‘as-built’ and ‘as-designed’ conditions but also include predictive analysis of how the building needs to perform, taking into account future weather predictions and occupant use.
From the work we’ve done to date, we’re starting to get see some really interesting results in relation to the three algorithms in development (fault detection, prediction and optimisation).
The results and key findings in project to date will be presented and discussed by the project team members as part of the Operational Energy Management of the Built Environment Seminar that IES is hosting with Trinity in the Guinness Storehouse on the Wednesday 18th November.
Plus, you can find out more about EINSTEIN on the project website. Keep checking back as we’re developing a new results section to keep you updated on progress as it’s made.
If you want to be included on our mailing list for quarterly EINSTEIN updates please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This summer we were pleased to welcome Adalberto Guerra Cabrera, a Research Assistant from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, to the IES Team on a five week internship. Now that his time at our Glasgow HQ has come to an end, we asked Adalberto to share his experience on our blog. Here is what he had to say about his time with us…
What is your background? What do you do at Masdar?
I’m currently a Masters Degree student at Masdar, studying the Sustainable Critical Infrastructure program. I’m just coming to the end of my first year and will be starting my second and final year shortly. My study time is divided equally between classes and research and my research topic is ‘Microclimate in cities’. Prior to studying at Masdar I was a Civil Engineer in Mexico, so it’s been a big change for me, moving country and occupation.
My family and girlfriend all live in Mexico and I get to visit them during holidays mainly, however I am lucky enough to be attending a conference there in October and look forward to seeing them all then.
How did the opportunity for your internship with IES come about?
I had a keen interest in the VE and its capabilities and during a discussion around strategies and solutions in a team meeting I mentioned this to my advisor. A week later I received an email asking if I’d be interested in an internship with IES at its headquarters in Glasgow. I was delighted to have been asked and accepted straight away. I am very grateful both to IES and my advisor for allowing me this opportunity. My advisor is very experienced and understands the real value you get from combining your studies and research with real world work experience.
What has your role involved at IES during your internship?
For the last 5 weeks I have been working with the Model Interface team and Birthe Klebow, testing the master planning tool. I used the tool to test models from Abu Dhabi and provided feedback from the tool. In the short time I have been here I’ve learnt many of the features of the VE and feel I can now use it properly and appreciate its vast capabilities. In Masdar there is a shortage of people that know how to use the VE, so one of my tasks when I return will be to help others use the software.
What have you enjoyed most about your time here with IES?
I’ve loved being around so many smart and very motivated people. Everyone is so enthusiastic and works very hard: it’s contagious and motivates me to be the same when I can see just what can be achieved. It’s been great to have experienced a real life working environment related to my studies and it is very encouraging to see how the work I am doing at Masdar can be applied to the real world and make a real difference. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a different culture and seeing the way a company is organised here. I only have previous experience of working for a company in Mexico where everything seemed very rushed and stressful with extremely long hours. Here things are more focused, specialised and relaxed which makes for a much more productive environment.
How would you describe the people and culture at IES?
The people at IES are very smart, dedicated and passionate. Everyone treated me very well from the moment I arrived. The HR team have been very supportive throughout the whole experience, organising my trip and accommodation and giving me a nice introduction to the company on my arrival, telling me how everything works and who is who. The team I’ve worked with also made me feel very welcome. On my first day I had a team meeting where I was assigned a project based on my interests and was given realistic goals which I am pleased to say I have achieved. Throughout the internship, the team have been very supportive. I’ve had weekly meetings to review my progress and the team have given me some great advice and helpful information for my research. I have lots of new ideas and tools I can use for my thesis now.
Something that really struck me about the company was the transparency of information available to staff from senior management, for example, the statistics given in the quarterly presentation by Don, showing how the company is progressing. I think this is really important and really helps with staff motivation. I have never known this type of transparency before in a company.
Overall, if I were to describe the IES culture in one word I’d say ‘collaborative’. The way everyone works really well together and helps each other is really nice to see and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this for the last 5 weeks.
What have you learned from your experience working with IES?
I’ve learned the importance of collaborating with others to achieve goals. It’s been a wonderful learning experience in that I can see the similarities between my research in the lab at Masdar and the research that is being carried out here with IES and it really motivates me knowing that we are on the same track. IES is one of the only companies that I know to combine commercial activity with research and it makes me really happy to have been a part of this.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about undertaking an internship with IES?
I would highly recommend it to anyone considering an internship and I look forward to reporting back at Masdar on how good it has been for my development and my future studies. If I were to offer any advice I’d say: do your research and check out current developments IES are working on so you are prepared before you go. Most importantly, remember to pack a rain jacket or buy one if you don’t have one!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
Aside from what I’ve learnt with IES, it’s been a good cultural experience, visiting Scotland. It was my first time in the UK and I have really enjoyed visiting museums and taking in the city of Glasgow. I’ve even enjoyed the weather – it gets so hot in Abu Dhabi so the rain has been a nice change. Also, the landscape is so very different. In Scotland, everything is green so I’ve made sure I’ve taken my camera everywhere so I have some great pictures to take back to Masdar.
Although my time here has been short, I have built some great working relationships and I look forward to keeping in touch and continuing those relationships when I return to Masdar.