Interview to Diana Romeu, Engineer from the Sustainable Construction Department at ITEC
Q: What were the main findings of this work package?
A: In this work package we have focused on the main characteristics that will lead us to the best design of the energy tool. We have studied the characteristics that define SMEs, the savings measures categorized according to investment range, and the methodology for conducting energy audits. The result that we have obtained defines us that, according to the characteristics of the SME, the energy consumption varies, depending on various parameters which have been taken into account in the design of the tool. To achieve a circular reinvestment system, the measures have been categorized according to their cost in: non-cost, low-cost, medium-cost and high cost. In this way, SMEs can invest in the least costly measure in the beginning and use the economic savings produced to reinvest in more expensive ones which, at the same time, provide greater energy savings. The methodology to carry out the energy audits has been key to designing the process of data entry and obtaining energy consumption of the tool.
Q: How is the audit tool progressing?
A: Right now we are in the final phase of developing the beta version of the tool so that pilot sites can use and test it. This test phase is where it will be seen which elements or functionalities should be improved, which saving measures should be adjusted to obtain more precise values and, above all, to review the tool’s usability.
Q: What are its main features?
A: One of the main features of the tool is that the SME can characterize location and type of company, and that information will lead to concrete climate data (hours of cooling and hours of heating per year) and hours of use, to account for the hours of operation of the heating and cooling machines. The type of building will also be defined, using predesigned options so that the data entry is not very complicated. In this data entry, there are also forms for the different options of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Cooling, lighting, domestic hot water and other equipment. The tool is intended to introduce the data obtained in the energy audit carried out by the expert with the shortest time necessary, and from there the annual energy consumption data will be calculated. Once this process has been carried out, the tool, according to the options chosen for the type of building and energy consuming elements, proposes energy saving measures categorized according to cost as we have previously commented.
These measures can be carried out separately or together, once selected the tool creates a simulation where you can see the total cost of the measurements, the energy savings and the economic return. You can carry out as many simulations as the expert and the client want to apply and finally, in the chosen option, the final calculation is executed and the monthly savings monitoring period begins until a chosen period. As we have explained, this system is circular; therefore, at the end of the chosen period, a copy of the project may be made to continue implementing more measures.
To conclude, we are designing one more functionality for the definitive version to create an environment where experts can compare their projects or similar projects where the same measures have been applied, or compare by country to see which measures work best according to climate conditions.