Softeco, through its Research & Innovation division, is constantly looking for opportunities to improve and extend its technological offer, also in the field of Energy Efficiency, where it already boasts a rich portfolio of products and solutions. In the following, we briefly analyze the motivations and opportunities of the research funded by the European Commission (Horizon 2020 program) on Energy Efficiency and related topics for 2019, in which Softeco will carry out an intense networking activity, to optimize the possibilities of successful evaluation of submitted project ideas.

The Funding Plan for 2019

Last January, the European Commission organized an interesting and comprehensive Info Day to present the 2019 Call on Energy Efficiency (EE) and Energy Consumer (EC). The 2019 Call (expiring 3.9.2019) is divided into 16 different topics for a total funding budget of 112MEUR.

The call is managed by the Energy Unit of EASME (European Association of Small and Medium Enterprises) and plans to finance about 60 research projects, with cost coverage ranging from 70% to 100%, depending on the nature of the projects (Research & Innovation Action, Innovation Action or Coordination & Support Action) and of the participants (industry or research institutes / universities / NPO).

The application areas identified for the projects are five and cover various complementary areas: i) Buildings, ii) Industry, iii) Consumers & Services, iv) Financing Energy Efficiency and, finally, iv) Public Authorities & Policy Support.

There are four topics for Innovation Actions, one of which on Consumers & Services (EE13) and three with focus on Buildings:

  • EE1 – Innovative approaches for building renovation
  • EE4 – Increase buildings smartness through legacy equipment
  • EE5 – Next generation of energy performance certification

The new objectives for Energy Efficiency

The deployment of research funding in the field of energy efficiency finds reason in some of the aspects highlighted by the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD):

  • 75% of the housing stock is inefficient from an energy point of view;
  • rate and degree of renovation are generally still too limited;
  • there is a real need to accelerate and finance renovation investments in buildings;
  • the potential of new technologies to improve management and performance must be exploited (smart building)

From this point of view, the recently published Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which has been in force since 12.24.2018, places for the European Union the goal for Energy Efficiency at 32.5% (primary and / or final energy) for 2030. In addition, mechanisms are envisaged which, through renovation and efficiency improvement, entail an obligation of annual energy savings of 0.8% minimum (of final energy consumption) in the period 2021-2030 and beyond, with a goal of 13% more ambitious than the ending period (2014-2020).

The Smart Readiness Indicator

In this perspective, the Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) initiative, originated by the EPBD and was sponsored by the European Commission to support the assessment of the actual capacity of buildings (or individual units) to adapt operations to the needs of the occupant, optimizing energy efficiency and overall performance and adapting the operation of the available facilities in response to signals from the grid (energy flexibility and demand response). The indicator should raise awareness among owners and occupants of the intrinsic value of systems monitoring and automation, enabling, among other things, real-time notification of the savings achieved thanks to the use of these technologies.

Solutions and expertise in continuous evolution

Softeco looks with great interest to the possibilities offered by the call published by the European Commission and EASME to develop project ideas capable of guaranteeing a constant improvement of its technological know-how on energy efficiency systems, with reference to applications in the residential, industrial and tertiary sectors (see topic EE4 and EE5).

In this regard, Softeco has a rich portfolio of applications (Adverto BMS, ESOS, EDM) for the management of energy needs and the monitoring of consumption in real time, partly developed in collaboration with IESolutions (spin-off of the University of Genoa). The offer is applied in various sectors (industrial, public and hospital, among others) and can provide both information systems and advice and support by a certified Energy Management Expert for energy audits, the definition and implementation of processes for the rationalization of energy consumption, and the drafting of an Energy Diagnosis document for obliged parties (in compliance with e.g. Italian law, D.L. 102/2014).