Buildings play a key role in the fight against climate change, using 40% of the energy consumed in cities. The improvements in the energy efficiency of retrofitting, control, operation and maintenance, and influencing occupant behavior are crucial. In addition to the traditional passive solutions, such as additional insulation, low-cost active technologies must be applied. They rely heavily on ICT to optimize energy consumption without compromising indoor environment quality.
Obtaining real information from mass data is a great challenge
A huge amount of data is collected from buildings and building systems. On a large scale, the problem is one of creating relevant information for various stakeholders and their needs from the big data mass. The owner’s project requirements (OPR) and key performance indicators (KPI) are the starting point for processing them. At the building level, the problem is the data hidden in systems that do not forward them. VTT and several companies are working together to find ways to obtain and process the information into a usable format.
Real-life testing in the Helsinki and Otaniemi regions
Data from the energy companies’ smart meter systems are collected, additional energy meters with appliance recognition features have been installed, thousands of indoor environment sensors have been deployed, public databases have been utilized… The data sources we use provide a basis for data analysis and the development of a platform for new services. The results are collected on, e.g., an energy monitoring platform for city personnel in Helsinki and a public platform to visualize the Otaniemi campus’ journey towards a zero-energy campus.
New business from open data
Controlling and monitoring business in buildings is dominated by large multinational companies, and their solutions are often difficult to connect to other systems. For local property owners such as municipalities, it would be more beneficial to use open communication, which also allows small and medium-sized local players to offer novel services and create new local businesses. VTT has started wide-scale operations in the Asian region, especially the Chinese market, to find new business cases for Finnish SME companies and VTT products.