As part of the activities under the research project RÉPENER, we designed some demonstration scenarios for various experts in energy efficiency in buildings to assess the functionality of a prototype of the SEíS energy information system developed in the project RÉPENER and to enrich it with their contributions.
In November 8, 2012, a working meeting was organized in the School of Architecture La Salle to assess the prototype system with a group of experts. The areas and experts participating in the meeting were:
-Advisers’ on energy efficiency in buildings (Luca Volpi, Societat Orgànica).
-Project and construction managers (FIDELA Fruits, Fruit-Sanmartin Architects).
-Building management of non-residential buildings (Antoni García, Gran Teatre del Liceu).
-Public energy agency (Ainhoa Mata, ICAEN).
-Public buildings developers (Anna Mestre, Agència de l’Housing of Catalonia).
-Building permits management (Miquel Diez Valldoreix EMD).
The program of the working session included: presenting the research project RÉPENER and its lines of development; presenting the demonstration scenarios corresponding to some of the most common situations that experts find in their daily practice; explaining the structure, functioning and services provided by the SEíS information system, and finally, a discussion with the participants.
The demonstration scenarios presented and discussed with the participants were:
1) Early stage of the design of a project of a new multi-family building. The designer is the primary user of the information system and the information he/she requires are passive design criteria (building systems) and active (engineered systems).
2) Improvement the use and maintenance of a multi-family building. The user of the services of the system is the manager of the building and the information he/she needs are reference values (consumption, temperature, etc..).
3) Refurbishment of a multi-family building, at an early design stage. The main user of the system’s services is the developer interested in finding examples of good practices which can be compared to the building being refurbished.
4) Energy assessment of a new multi-family building at an early stage of the design. The main user is an energy advisor who introduces the results of energy simulations to compare them with the information stored in the system.
In the working session, opinions and comments from the experts were collected. After the session, interviews were conducted with each of the participants to assess and validate the functionalities of the prototype system and to draw conclusions that would enable to improve it further.
The interviews covered the following topics:
- Applicability, usefulness and value of the information provided by SEíS as compared to the currently available one;
- Possible changes in the current working methods used in the field of buildings energy efficiency once an information system such as SEíS becomes available in the future;
-Motivation of the participants and of other agents to provide information to the system and to request new services not included in it;
-Necessity to include economic information related to the energy efficiency of the buildings in subsequent versions of the prototype;
-Assessing the cases and services available in the prototype system as well as the structure and format of the information it provides;
-Other issues related to the research project and recommendations.
The responses received from the experts at the workshop and in subsequent interviews, confirmed that the information provided by the various services of SEíS in the four scenarios presented was “important” or “very important”. Also, they recognized the improvement that would represent the access and use of the energy information provided by the SEíS system prototype in their respective areas of work. Furthermore, most of the experts highlighted the need to have data on construction costs and operation to assess the economic impact of energy efficiency measures.
Beyond the implementation of the prototype of the information system, the experts considered relevant:
- Ensuring the quality of data entered into the system, since they come from different databases and users;
- Motivating users to supply information to the system, in order to increase the available data and the number and effectiveness of the services;
- Increasing the number of cases to a greater number of climatic zones, as well as uses and building types.