Researchers look to cut Europe’s energy bill
And with oil prices soaring and gas supplies dwindling, alarm bells are ringing in Brussels, says Professor Nashwan Dawood, the University of Teesside’s Cecil M Yuill Professor of Construction and Director of the Centre for Construction Innovation & Research (CCIR).
His ten-strong research team at the University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, England, is a key contributor to a €4m research project known as IntUBE – Intelligent Use of Buildings' Energy Information.
The goal: to improve energy efficiency in our homes and offices without compromising on comfort. Financed by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, IntUBE has brought together researchers and business partners from nine countries with the aim of helping the construction industry and the EU improve energy efficiency by 20% before 2020.
Professor Dawood was invited to join the project because of he is an international expert on using virtual technologies to examine energy efficiency.
He says: “Part of the answer is to use IT technology to intelligently analyse and control the consumption of energy, not just in new buildings, but also in existing homes and offices.
“Of course, we could simply tell everyone to cut down on heating and lighting. But that is not likely to work. If our offices become unbearably hot, people will reach for the air-conditioning or, if it gets too cold at home, hit the central heating button.
“The key is to give the individual more information about his or her energy consumption and more intelligent control-systems that will allow people to use their energy in a much more efficient way.”
Professor Dawood adds that the EU realises it will never reach its ambitious 20 per-cent target to improve energy efficiency if it only concentrates on new and renovated buildings – and that’s where IntUBE comes in!
“We want to increase life-cycle energy efficiency of buildings without compromising the comfort or performance. We will achieve this by integrating the latest developments in the ICT-field into Intelligent Building and Neighbourhood Management Systems and by presenting new ICT-enabled business models for energy-information related service provision.”
The researchers hope the results of IntUBE will create well-performing buildings that use natural resources optimally (especially energy). This will result in fewer environmental effects and in reduced life-cycle costs of energy so benefiting building owners and users as well as energy service and maintenance service providers.
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