Project Targets Energy Savings with Minimum Intervention for Historic Buildings

October 6, 2014 By Karen Henry

ValentinoCastle-energy-manageKeeping Europe’s historic buildings energy efficient without having to carry out significant construction work can be a struggle. The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)-funded SEEMPUBS project has developed a computer-based system that can control lighting, heaters, air conditioners and other environmental units in large buildings. The technology includes a central control software system connected wirelessly to energy structures placed in different parts of a building or even a number of buildings.

This model can be applied to many different historic buildings where legacy energy systems are already in place, avoiding expensive construction work, disruption and possible damage.

The functionality of this system is being demonstrated on existing buildings at the Politecnico Campus and the Valentino Castle. By comparing reference and test rooms, average weekly savings ranging from 27 percent to 36 percent have been observed in heating energy during the winter months. Savings ranged from 63 percent to 74 percent for cooling energy during summer months.

The SEEMPUBS system draws together building services, electronic devices and operations in order to optimize and integrate all maintenance functions. When possible, existing building management systems are left in place, while new hardware allowing fine-grained monitoring and control can be added.

The SEEMPUBS operator can visualize different spaces and navigate through a building virtually, overseeing the entire interlinked system of environmental and energy control.

The project has also developed a handheld app that provides real-time light, temperature, humidity and other data as well as architectural and structural information.

One of the project partners is currently working on a commercial version of the technology, including a beta release of the supporting software. Another partner is exploiting some of the outcomes of the project, namely those concerning sensor technologies, to enhance its portfolio of sensor devices devoted to ambient sensing and monitoring.

Photo of Valentino Castle via Shutterstock.

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