Development of Aggregation Models for Building Energy Demands applied to Smart Cities

Master thesis by Panagiota Gianniou, August 2014

Abstract – The mitigation of climate change has been a priority to most countries’ agendas
nowadays. Energy and environmental policies have been introduced to facilitate the
achievement of national targets. At the same time, rapid urbanization has resulted in
converting cities into the main energy consumers and generators of GHG emissions.
Thus, they are an ideal platform where sustainable solutions can be applied which will
improve their durability and functionality. The concept of Smart Cities has the
potential to integrate sustainable technologies and innovative systems into urban
areas. At the same time, the building sector occupies a key place in the development
of Smart Cities. Energy demand of the building sector affects significantly national
energy balances. Furthermore, estimating energy demand of a cluster of buildings, a
district or city requires the aggregation of them. When handling aggregated energy
demand data, future energy predictions and the creation of what-if scenarios for
demand-side energy management are enabled. It also facilitates urban planning, as
well as the development of energy hubs into urban areas.
In the current Thesis, the theoretical background needed to study aggregation of
building energy demands is presented and analyzed. Two methods of aggregating
energy demands of buildings are identified and implemented on a real case-study,
being located in Sønderborg, Denmark. This consists of 16 single-family houses all
connected to the regional district heating system. These were modelled by Termite, a
newly-developed parametric tool, which uses Danish Be10 for energy simulating.
According to the first aggregation way, individual buildings’ energy simulations are
carried out. This method necessitates extensive data availability. Six different
information levels are investigated, concluding that apart from general data about
building’s functionality, floor area and age of construction, also information about the
most recent energy refurbishment state of the building is crucial for achieving high
accuracy in energy demand estimations. According to the second aggregation way,
building typologies are used, where five example buildings representing each type are
simulated. The results highlight that the specific example buildings represent quite
well the respective buildings, but present a deviation from the measured energy
demands. However, the annual aggregate heat demand of this method is found to be
very close to the measured one. Extensive discussion on the challenges and
uncertainties of the present city energy model is also presented.

MSc Thesis_Panagiota Gianniou_s121414.

Panagiote Gianniou is today a PhD at DTU Byg. You find her work at

Proposal: Smart City – Data Management

Smart Cities do build on understanding and utilizing data from any kind of source within a city. This can be water, energy, people, IT, cell phone information and what ever data there is available. The data has to be collected, stored, described – simply managed. The data size is huge and we are part of Big Data.

Therefore there is demand for projects carried out on Smart Cities Energy data and other data. It is just your imagination that puts limits on the variate of possible project context that you can work with in your project. Cooperation between students, groups, clusters are very welcome – cross-education and cross-domain activities are necessary, hence IT people will work together with building and mechanical students and specialists.

Se e.g. the CITIES research centre for our research goals and ideas that have to be supported by the project ideas here.

Please contact me through: (Al)Fred Heller.

Wireless Sensor Network Picture

Wireless Sensor Networks for buildings – Christian Orthmann

Project name: Investigation of wireless sensor network for application within the building industry

Project student: Christian Orthmann

Report: Building process improvements by sensor support

Course type: Special course, Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The project aims at the application of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) within the building sector, to improve the overall performance of buildings. The hypothesis is defined as: “The introduction of sensors into the building construction cycle leads to significant economical, technical and societal gains. If sensors are wireless these gains are even more pronounced.”
To define the demanded functionalities of the WSN technology for the building application, a number of use cases are described and the function demands analysed. For each of these functionalities a test setup is developed to document that it is basically implementable. For this purpose SUNspots where used due to the completeness, and the simplicities of these devices and network toolbox. This toolbox is sufficient for prototyping the functionalities, however the drawback of this methodology is that SUNspots are designed for general purpose that do not meet the criterion of the current domain.

The conclusion of the report is, that functionalities for the building sector can be met, but that the hardware and software have to be adjusted to the detailed criterion of the application at hand. Hence further work is proposed to develop own hardware on basis of some kind of standard basic components, such as antennas, memory blocks, sensors and such like.

Final paper: Building process improvements by sensor support

Acknowledgment: The current work is supported by the Bjarne Saxhof Foundation – Thanks to the foundation – without this support, the work would not have been realized.

The big picture (relation to the overall vision): The current project aims at developing flexible, adaptable monitoring and sensoring technologies for a number of reasons:

  • improving the understanding of buildings
  • aim at improved performance, especially indoor environmental and energy performance through better insight and improved controlling abilities
  • improve flexibility and quality assurance for the building process through documentation

Vision talk: Wireless Sensors has a huge potential in the building sector, as stated. It also gives new flexibility in research and education. As demonstrated as a part of the current project, the application of WSN can be very useful for a vision on a Virtual Research Environment.

Next step: The next step will be to implement our own open source, environment for a Wireless Sensor Network that can be applied to research and eduction with minimal limits to what we can do.