Open-source models for holistic building energy system design at scale
Buildings and cities are becoming increasingly integrated into the energy supply system, creating a need for transparent, trustworthy, and holistic information for potential prosumers. This project is building the foundation for easy-to-access and automate building energy models to support distributed decision making and the energy transition.
The need to improve energy efficiency and manage supply in buildings and cities is a core aspect of many climate change mitigation and sustainability scenarios. Demand for prosumer technologies, such as solar photovoltaics (PV), batteries, and electric vehicles (EV), is growing rapidly. At the same time, electrified heating already places a large demand on the electricity grid, therefore guiding a diverse set of citizens towards the best technical, economic, and social solution for the energy system is a challenge.
There is a long history of research in urban building energy models (UBEM) and several closed- and open-source software packages have been developed. These tools are typically used by researchers, city planners and policymakers, whereas the ones actually taking decisions – the building owners – typically get their information through commercial channels where biases and information asymmetry can create sub-optimal outcomes.
Solar maps are a good example of a public facing information source, where users can see the potential of their roofs for solar PV generation without needing to go through a salesperson. The utility of solar maps was boosted by our recently concluded project, where the tools provide an analysis and specific recommendation with the same detail as a solar installer. Advances in data collection, geographic information systems, and machine learning make this possible, and this project aims to bring this same functionality to all aspects of building energy systems in support of prosumers contributing to the energy transition.
Aim and objectives
This project aims to democratize energy system design and empower building owners with trustworthy information for holistic analysis of sustainable technologies.
- Identify the minimum viable dataset required to adopt and apply the proposed models
- Build an integrated prosumer energy systems model which can automatically design and recommend a holistic solution considering demand and supply
- Create an open-source code base that can be easily transferred to any municipality in Sweden
rebase.energy, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Karlstads Energi, Karlstad Kommun
Funding is provided by the Swedish Energy Agency’s E2B2 program (project number P2022-00903).
Timeframe: January 2023 – December 2024