St. Cugat pilot site

The St. Cugat site is situated 15km outside of Barcelona, Spain, and caters for a mix of apartments, offices and rooms for commercial use. Sim4Blocks aims to demonstrate the scope for local energy generation in buildings at this site.

The pilot aims to demonstrate how renewable and non-renewable production, consumption and storage can be optimised in a group of buildings using cloud-based intelligent demand response (DR) IT solutions, and to demonstrate that several DR schemes for both gas and electricity grids can be implemented in a group of buildings (La Clota, Vullpalleres, Benet Cortada).

The existing infrastructure consists of 190 apartments, 32 offices and 13 rooms for commercial use across the three buildings.

With regards to the electricity distribution across all three buildings, electric meters will be grouped into single meters where possible with the aim of reducing the amount of power used. As there is currently no district heating and cooling network, thermal energy has been distributed since 2011.

There are currently several monitoring systems installed in each building and one of the first actions will be to integrate these systems into a common cloud-based database to gather all the monitored data:

– Electrical: The three single electrical meters to be installed will allow internet connection, whilst the electric consumption of the air conditioning and high temperature solar collectors will be monitored with new specific devices.

– Thermal: On the roof of Vullpalleres, each energy unit and air conditioning unit are controlled by different platforms and software, and a machine to machine (M2M) communication layer will be installed to allow seamless connectivity among all the units.

– Centralised domestic hot water (DHW): DHW and space heating consumption data is obtained from individual heat meters. These heat meters use software that enables invoicing and consumption data monitoring of each inhabitant in real time.

– Controls: Programmable thermostats are installed in residential dwellings, while on/off thermostats are installed in the offices. The project will install 30 smart thermostats in offices and 50 more in dwellings. Sim4Blocks will build an M2M communication layer and big data cloud storage to gather and store all data.

Demand response solutions

The pilot focuses on increasing the site’s self-reliance by reducing energy reliance on the grid, which will help to reduce grid congestion. The following demand response solutions will be implemented:

  1. Price responsive DR solutions for electricity to be implemented in La Clota. This will provide real time information to the tenants so they can shift their electricity consumption when the electricity market price is more favourable. The aggregation of the electric loads of the three buildings helps ENERGEA achieve the minimum electric demand to get access to the Spanish electrical market.
  2. DR solutions based on shifting from power to heat. Optimising multiple energy sources: Optimising the combination of heating, cooling, onsite electric production and high temperature solar thermal production to fit the energy loads and the most favourable pricing methods of both the electric and gas markets. This will be achieved through user involvement and real-time information systems to change habits and behaviour in order to shift consumption away from peak times.
  3. DR solutions for the gas grid: All buildings will be fitted with a real-time information system to engage users in changing their behaviour. The main aim is to be able to react to the intermittent solar thermal panels and to the weather-dependent space heating load variation. Personalised recommendations will be delivered to the customers so they can use DHW when there is solar energy available, whilst space heating will be controlled through the smart thermostats which will suggest customised energy saving suggestions.

Overall objectives:

– Come up with detailed business models so that ENERGEA and other aggregators can adopt DR solutions and expand into the Spanish market

– Demonstrate to social housing companies that centralised systems can economically benefit their customers