R&D Project

Intelligent full-scale test lab for smart buildings

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Virtual Power Plant for Smart Grid Ready Buildings and Customers

Virtual Power Plant for Smart Grid Ready Buildings and Customers
The research project VPP4SGR – Virtual Power Plant for Smart Grid Ready Buildings and Customers – uses a dormitory in Aarhus as a full scale energy lab.

The researchers have carried out the world’s most radical energy monitoring program. For 24 hours a day, the researchers have logged the energy usage, humidity level, CO2 emission and flow of water, heat and electricity with a few seconds interval for the apartments in the Grundfos dormitory.

Furthermore, weather prognoses such as temperature, wind conditions, and the direction of the sun have been integrated in the advanced demand response algorithms.

Demand response
The goal is smart regulation of the building’s total heat and ventilation with the lowest possible energy use and optimal comfort level for the residents.

Knowledge about future electricity prices and weather forecasts, plays an essential role in determining the demand response potential. These external factors are used as input in the dynamic control of the VPP.

While electricity prices are governed by market mechanisms, the weather forecast that includes for instance temperature variation and wind chill factors, needs to be taken from a coarser grained prognosis down to the building level.

In the VPP4SGR project, researches investigate the potential of using local weather forecast in the intelligent control of the VPP.

Strong ZigBee network
The Grundfos dormitory is a huge mesh network with ZigBee communication at all 12 floors.

There is only one hub on each floor. This wireless hub serves as network coordinator and collects data from all meters, smart plugs, sensors, etc. from all apartments on this floor.

No ZigBee-WiFi interference
Each appartment has its own WiFi network but the VPP4SGR project has proven that this is absolutely no problem. There is no interference between all these WiFi networks and ZigBee communication. On the contrary, the project experiences an extremely high data quality – even though the building is constructed by thick concrete walls.

The results
The results are used to formulate a recommendation on how to construct future buildings and how existing buildings can be “smart grid-improved” by retrofitting these such that the amount of demand response potential is maximized.

The results of this project can furthermore be used to develop models for the large number of future energy renovations on the housing stock and function as a tool in the prioritization of focus areas and technology choices.

Additional results are used in a recommendation on how to involve customers to make them an important and useful asset in future electricity networks to become the “Smart Grid Ready” customers of the future.

An interesting result for the project group may therefore be that the student residence building will be able to minimise the difference in user behaviour by means of its construction and the project’s monitoring profile.

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