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Role of Building Automation in nearly zero-energy buildings


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Building automation (BA) has a key role to play in the implementation of nearly zero-energy build-ings (nZEB). Building automation is the connector of all the single requirements for nZEB, such as a well-insulated and airtight building shell, efficient HVAC system and a high share of renew-able energy. That is one of the main conclusions of a study prepared by Ecofys for the Leonardo ENERGY initiative.

This presentation shortly introduces the functions and potentials Building Automation will have in the transition towards a nearly zero-energy building (nZEB) stock. It also touches on the pathways and actions different stakeholders should take to ensure that the indicated potentials are achieved.

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Role of Building Automation in nearly zero-energy buildings

  1. 1. 27 January 2015 Role of Building Automation related to Renewable Energy in nearly Zero Energy Buildings by Markus Offermann
  2. 2. © ECOFYS | | Background > Electricity consumption in European non-residential buildings has increased by 74% over the past 20 years > As of 31.12.2020 the recast of the EPBD requires all new buildings to be “nearly Zero Energy Buildings” 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann2
  3. 3. © ECOFYS | | Questions > Which types of buildings offer the best chances to benefit from automation? > Which type of energy demand and/or which types of renewable energy are most suited to control? > What can be done to help policy towards regulations regarding building automation to ● reduce the energy demand of future non-residential buildings significantly? ● optimise the use of renewable energy? 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann3
  4. 4. © ECOFYS | | Non-residential building types 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann4 31% 15% 38% 26% 69% 85% 62% 74% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Office School Supermarket Hotel Energy consumption non-residential buildings, Germany electricity fuel Typical shares of energy consumption at existing building types* * in Germany Data source: Schlomann, Kleeberger et al, 2011: Energieverbrauch des Sektors Gewerbe, Handel, Dienstleistungen (GHD) in Deutschland für die Jahre 2007 bis 2010. Fraunhofer ISI/IfE/GfK/IREES GmbH/BASE-ING. GmbH. 2011
  5. 5. © ECOFYS | | Nearly zero-energy buildings > Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD): "Building that has a very high energy performance… [ ]. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should to a very significant extent be covered by energy from renewable sources, including renewable energy produced on-site or nearby.“ 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann5
  6. 6. © ECOFYS | | Example 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann6 [1] Boermans, Thomsen et al., Principles for nearly-zero energy buildings, Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), 2011 Nearly zero office building in different European climate zones
  7. 7. © ECOFYS | | Renewable energy on site 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann7 1. Solar: – PV relevant potentials, especially in Southern regions – Solar thermal collectors less relevant for most non-residential buildings (exception e.g. hotels) 2. Wind: – Not relevant on site 3. Geothermal energy, biomass, energy from waste: – If available, always available: no special need for control
  8. 8. © ECOFYS | | Storages 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann8 Short term thermal storages (e.g. thermal building mass) Seasonal thermal & decentral electricity storages: => Economically not feasible Figure 1 Thermal energy balance and load shifting potential (green arrows) of a nearly zero energy office building in Germ during one week in January. Source: Ecofys
  9. 9. © ECOFYS | | Main functions of building automation > Central, concerted control of all energy related components > Monitoring and providing feedback > Load shifting and storage management > Ensuring thermal comfort 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann9
  10. 10. © ECOFYS | | Central, concerted control of all energy related components 1. Saving potentials of 50% achievable Reduction of energy demand heating, cooling and lighting (e.g. by central control of external blinds) BUT: 2. Total savings at nZEBs are low Payback difficult 3. Control also demands energy e.g. individual room controls critical 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann10
  11. 11. © ECOFYS | | Monitoring and providing feedback 1. To insure the energy consumption meets the calculated (low) energy demand of the nearly zero energy building Often there are gaps due to ● insufficient parameter settings and/or ● derivations from planning 2. To encourage the building users to save energy Usually, the users have no feedback on their energy consumption. The influence of user behaviour ist estimated to be at least between 5 % and 30 %. 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann11
  12. 12. © ECOFYS | | Load shifting and storage management 1. Use thermal building masses At well insulated and heat protected buildings the thermal energy demand is flexible in time – solar gains in winter / night cooling in summer – flexible electricty tariffs can be used, e.g. to control the heat supply by heatpumps > Increased grid stability, increased potential of renewable energies 2. Increase the direct usable share of renewables on site (Pv) Achievable direct total energy coverage – in Southern Europe up to 50 % – in Northern regions max. 20 % > Heat demand coverage small > Coverage rates can be increased further with batteries 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann12
  13. 13. © ECOFYS | | Ensuring thermal comfort 1. Sophisticated control is required Especially at nearly zero energy buildings with – a small thermal mass – very slow reacting systems, like floor heating or concrete cooling > Allowing the implementation of heating and (ground water) cooling systems with a high efficiency 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann13
  14. 14. © ECOFYS | | Pathways for building automation with focus on nearly zero non-residential buildings Central, concerted control of all energy related components > Sophisticated central systems with producer-independent compatibility are available (e.g. BACnet), but need to be further developed and supported to be standard requirement for nearly zero energy buildings > More transparency concerning the energy demand of (sophisticated) building automation systems is required 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann14 Proposed actions
  15. 15. © ECOFYS | | Pathways for building automation with focus on nearly zero non-residential buildings 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann15 Monitoring and providing feedback to ensure that the calculated (low) energy demand is met > Further research to specify the potential gap between paper and reality > By policy: Development of suitable regulations > By industry: Development of suitable feedback systems to the users to encourage them to save energy > Further research to provide evidence of the potentials and costs > By industry: Development of suitable feedback systems Proposed actions
  16. 16. © ECOFYS | | Pathways for building automation with focus on nearly zero non-residential buildings Load shifting and storage management Energy related use of thermal masses, e.g. to increase free cooling potentials > Further research to specifying the potentials for different nearly zero energy building types in different regions is needed Grid price related use of thermal masses > Electricity suppliers should offer (interesting) flexible electricity tariffs Increase the coverage rates of the energy demand by PV > Evaluation and publication of best practice examples could increase the market recognition 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann16 Proposed actions
  17. 17. © ECOFYS | | Pathways for building automation with focus on nearly zero non-residential buildings 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann17 Ensuring thermal comfort > Improvement and development of control mechanisms, specialized to control slow reacting systems in nearly zero energy buildings (e.g. by using weather forecasts) Proposed action
  18. 18. © ECOFYS | | Thank you for your attention For more information, please contact: > Markus Offermann Ecofys Germany Am Wassermann 36 50829 Cologne Germany E: I: 27/01/2015 Markus Offermann18