Smart buildings: a solution to advance the energy transition

Construction models for buildings now reflect the building’s energy performance. Both for renovations and new constructions, parameters such as heat loss, thermal bridging, poor insulation, and the selection of more efficient materials, are all being scrutinized to minimize energy consumption and optimize load balancing. The final step is to integrate IoT prior to construction and renovation. Let’s gain a better understanding of the energy transition by considering three questions.

Why is it important to establish an energy diagnosis?

These days, we are all mindful of the environment and the challenges we face in preserving it. Energy peaks are now being reached, or they are expected to be reached in the very near future. For this reason, easily accessible energy is becoming increasingly scarce and increasingly more expensive. Taking steps to eliminate energy waste delivers substantial savings and makes future expenses more predictable. The challenge is therefore to optimize consumption in order to preserve the environment and use as little energy as possible, without sacrificing comfort, safety, and well-being. This way of thinking guides how buildings are being built or renovated today. The purpose of the energy diagnosis is to detect weaknesses in order to remedy them and move further toward the energy transition.

Key figures (source: French Ministry of Ecology)

  • 45%: percentage of the final energy consumption of residential and non-residential buildings that account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • +10%: increase in the sector’s energy consumption since 1992
  • 32.5%: target increase in energy efficiency in buildings by 2030
  • 40%: percentage of the EU’s total energy demand represented by buildings

How can we make progress toward the energy transition in buildings?

By identifying a building’s peaks in energy consumption, we can adjust electricity generation and distribution to avoid energy waste. Focusing on renewable energy during construction (e.g., thermal or photovoltaic solar panels) and equipping buildings with wastewater recovery systems and heat pumps are some of the solutions that promote responsible energy use and management.  Connected electrical equipment, household appliances, and heating and ventilation systems should be scrupulously chosen to consume less energy.

And how does home automation play into all of this?

Home automation plays several roles. It allows us to:

  • automate and simplify some tasks
  • analyze and predict behaviors related to energy consumption within the building
  • optimize energy use based on the building and the lifestyles of its occupants

    Home automation also saves time. There is no longer a need to set the thermostat, turn lights on or off, or open or close the shutters. It saves money, too, by optimizing energy use. Equipping buildings with IoT, capable of creating, sharing, and redistributing energy, supports the digital transition and accelerates the energy transition. 

Connecting buildings: Paris schools already making use of IoT

When it comes to smart buildings and the energy transition, schools in the French capital stand at the forefront of technology. Through a collaboration between Overkiz and Vertuoz By Engie, 140 schools now combine connected objects with artificial intelligence so that energy (mainly heating and lights) is used only when needed, when the school buildings are occupied. 

Overkiz and Vertuoz assisted the energy transition of these buildings with:

  • The installation of more than 1,000 smart gateways to control 1,400 classrooms
  • The collection of usage data
  • The control of objects located in schools

We chose Overkiz for this massive, innovative project because of their ability to offer us a robust and sustainable infrastructure. The installed hardware (Minibox) and their cloud services provide the backbone of our overall solution, which manages the comfort of occupants (students and teachers) while minimizing carbon emissions.

Jean-Christophe Bourgeois, Internet of Things and Data Valuation Manager at Vertuoz by Engie.

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