European countries are missing smart buildings opportunities
Buildings Performance Institute Europe analysis reveals EU Member States are unprepared to take advantage of the benefits from smart building technologies
Report from – Damien Carr
The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) research assesses dynamic operability, energy-system responsiveness, renewable energy uptake as well as dynamic and self-learning control systems to judge how well prepared Europe is for an increasing share of smart buildings.
BPIE defines smart buildings as those that are flexibly connected and interact with energy systems, with an ability to produce, store and/or consume energy efficiently. The leading countries in terms of a smart-readiness, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, which have implemented smart building policies.
However, the BPIE analysis shows that most countries have failed to open the market or encourage the penetration of energy storage capacity in buildings. The report presents a series of progressive policies and innovative front-runner projects which prove the economic viability of smart buildings.
The analysis finds that ‘smart infrastructure’ is not yet in place. Only three countries, Sweden, Finland and Italy, have completed their deployment of smart meters, with nearly all consumers equipped with smart meters. Several countries have started their deployment, but progress is slow.
The BPIE believes that EU legislation could play a more effective role in encouraging the roll-out of smart infrastructure by enabling an electricity market with flexible pricing that empowers consumers, and increases renewable energy production, self-consumption and storage. Such technological development would enable buildings to play a proactive role in the energy system, providing benefits for the occupants, although buildings need to be energy efficient as a prerequisite for a smart building stock.
“As consumers are at the centre of the EU’s legislation for a low-carbon, healthier and more comfortable building stock, they should be empowered to take control over their energy consumption and production. Smart and efficient buildings can deliver direct benefits for citizens in terms of lower energy bills and more comfortable homes, and wider benefits for the European economy triggering innovation and creating new job opportunities.” said Oliver Rapf, Executive Director of BPIE.