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CITyFiED demo sites showing the way to substantial savings

The dictionary definition of demonstrate is ‘to clearly show the existence or truth of something by giving proof or evidence’ – and the sites in Lund, Laguna de Duero and Soma are pushing hard to show other European partnerships how it is done.


Each with their own particular context, challenges and achievements, the works in Sweden, Spain and Turkey have been characterised by strong consortium collaboration, citizen engagement, local outreach and technical innovations. With the project now 20 months underway, some first tangible experiences to share with the CITyFiED City Cluster of 11 replication districts, Community of Interest and indeed, any local authority or partnership considering district level renovation and smart city plans, are becoming available.

At the Torrelago district, Spain, the spring and summer have been a flurry of visible change as the facades of almost twelve of the thirty one buildings were radically changed during the completion of retrofitting works. Accompanying landscaping improvements have added to the tangible changes being made.

During the initial phase of the project, some residents were hesitant or even resistant to the works. However, the improvements in quality of life, thermal comfort in the buildings and general appearance of the district, combined with efforts to better communicate the project and technical improvements have been appreciated by residents. Major efforts have also been made to inspire a new generation of climate-smart citizens, by holding a series of “open house” events centred on the new biomass boiler facilities and rooms.

Less visible to the residents; yet essential to achieving the ambitious energy saving goals are a range of technical developments and innovations. The biomass boiler room and silo have been completed, along with the sub-stations in twelve blocks – and tests conducted with different types of biomass. Tecnalia and demosite leader Veolia have also been collaborating to conduct a thermo graphic analysis of the new facilities. Efforts are also on going in the development of the ICT infrastructure. Smart meters, balancing valves and thermal energy smart meters are being installed and first round of “current costs” devices are due to be installed during autumn 2015.

In Soma, Turkey, considerable works to improve insulation, solar-thermal systems, electrics and heating were undertaken during 2014 and set to continue under the framework of the CITyFiED project. In what has turned out to be a “real world” scenario that has in itself generated plenty of insight for the project, the energy company operating the nearby thermal power plant (SEAŞ) is currently being privatised.  This has caused the slow down of the retrofitting investments planned in 2015.

The team was happy to report at the 3rd project meeting in Malmö this September 2015 (LINK) that the tendering process and beginning of implementation works is now in sight. Through to April 2016, focus will be on pre-design and the tendering process as well as final design and cost calculations. Actual works will include improvements to thermal insulation, electric and heating system changes, distribution line within the demo site and the transmission line and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) investments. 

With some of the heavier investment developments on hold, the team have continued to advance on the site monitoring strategy and smart grid devices.

In first instance, electricity and heating usage will be controlled for 10-dwelling sample, where sub-metering, plug level control and smart thermostats will be applied. Using this, the district heating system will be remotely managed including dwelling end-points and pump stations. Finally, a web-based platform is planned to deliver real-time monitoring, alarm management and a final customized and scheduled report to the operator and end users.

All these elements are integrated into a database and web platform, which represents a significant advance and resource for the CITyFiED project and potential replication sites.

As part of the monitoring strategy, a database and analytics engine has been running since May 2015, featuring various energy applications for both management and consumers. It promises to be a scalable, reliable and robust piece of infrastructure that will be ready for the project at the end of 2015.

Finally, in Lund, Sweden, the Linero district is symptomatic of hundreds of similar neighbourhoods constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the ‘Million Programme’ of social housing development are ready for deep renovation and transformation into smarter districts. Indeed, demo site owner and consortium partner LKF has around 3000 apartments from this era alone. 

New balcony glazing and fascia have been applied and shared with residents in a single pilot block to which over 100 people attended an ‘open house’ event to learn more about the intended works

In September 2015, residents were invited to attend an ‘open house’ activity at a recently completed pilot building – designed to show and share what the eventual works will look like. Over 100 people attended to visit and discuss over pizza and drinks in a lively and enthusiastic atmosphere.

As well as being a focus point for engaging with residents, the pilothouse has had an important role in finalising the technical solutions, costs and planning of the wider site. Building envelope, ventilation, lighting, thermostats and culvert solutions were all road tested as part of the process. Next step will extend the works with the entire site going through pre-planning and evaluation, a procurement process for a turnkey contractor and detailed planning before works commence in April 2016. After this date, 13 buildings of numerous apartments will undergo a deep renovation and smart grid makeover, through to April 2018.

Some of the most interesting and advanced works being carried out are in reference to the smart grid sub-projects and district heating. In terms of power quality metering and line communication, the CITyFiED project is making use of a range of innovative products. These promise to give more robust, higher quality performance and more accurate readings. Consortium partners in Sweden are also emphasising product development in the delivery of visualisation products and information – from screens in the collective entrance hall to personalised apps. These are currently in development and bring an extra innovative edge to the entire project.

A CITyFiED webinar to share and discuss these latest updates and details from the demonstration sites will be held on 28th October 2015 and is open to the projects City Cluster of 11 replication districts and Community of Interest. A recording of the webinar will be made available to these members on the CITy Smart Space shortly afterwards.