This edition of Hot Cool looks at digitization and what perspective the digital transformation has on our industry. Many of us use the same digital tools as we did five and even 20 years ago. Maybe they are faster and have more features, but they are not as revolutionary as the development of the smartphone. Why is this, when we have so many possibilities to utilize data at each of our levels from production to customer interface? This issue of Hot Cool will try to answer this question by highlighting some of the opportunities associated with digital technologies and by demonstrating how we can start using data in a more structured way. DBDH publishes Hot Cool, but the main business is helping cities or regions in their green transition. We will help you find specific answers for a sustainable district heating solution or integrate green technology into an existing district heating system in your region – for free! Any city, or utility in the world, can call DBDH and find help for a green district heating solution suitable for their city. A similar system is often operating in Denmark, being the most advanced district heating country globally. DBDH then organizes visits to Danish reference utilities or expert delegations from Denmark to your city. For real or virtually in webinars or web meetings. DBDH is a non-profit organization - so guidance by DBDH is free of charge. Just call us. We'd love to help you district energize your city!
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By Martin B. Petersen, Regional Marketing & Sales Manager - District Energy & Water, ABB
This means that scheduling and operating heat plants will become ever more challenging. On top of this, a flexible electrical environment will be critical to optimize distribution using real-time data from smart-meters. Managing this will demand a high degree of digitalization to lower heat loss, increase revenue, supply better services to customers and develop new business models. Moreover, this is only the beginning of digital transformation. This does not come without obstacles such as who owns the data, what data can be used and how, incentives to invest from different parties in the distribution flow, organizational and regulatory barriers, and the list goes on. However, there are low hanging fruits already in front of us that a digital solution can support. By experience, a 20 to 30 percent boost in profitability is within reach. To gain this you need to be agile, accept failure and the fact that you do not have all the answers. Digitalization is not something that happens in a silo, in one part of an organization. It needs to be developed across many units of the organization and with outside partners knowing your business and processes. Try to also look at this transformation as a way to connect different parts of your organization to one common goal. You need data and support from across the whole of your organization, as the real power of your efforts comes when new skills and technologies are combined with existing institutional knowledge. Bring people from across the organization into design thinking and users to participate in developing applications and tools from the very beginning. The approach should be collaborative. I hope you will enjoy this edition and that it inspires you to embrace the digital possibilities that are in front of us to improve customer experience, lower our carbon footprint, embrace electrification, find new business models and increase revenue. It is achievable by collaborating across your organization while interacting with the wealth of knowledge, solutions and ideas that flourish in the industry.
This edition of Hot Cool looks at digitalization and what per- spective the digital transformation has on our industry. It is also the first edition after the summer holiday, so welcome back from a hopefully relaxing and by guarantee HOT summer. Please take a moment to remember how much you have used your smartphone during or preparing for your vacation: booking hotels, ride-sharing, navigation, restaurant or event reviews, etc. Then think about going back to work where recognition and embracement of digital is far less complete. Many of us use the same digital tools as we did five and even 20 years ago. Maybe they are faster and have more features, but they are not as revolutionary as the development of the smartphone. Why is this, when we have so many possibilities to utilize data at each of our levels from production to customer interface? This issue of Hot Cool will try to answer this question by highlighting some of the opportunities associated with digital technologies and by demonstrating how we can start using data in a more structured way. Very often “going digital” means building a visualization platform with the main aim of acting as a central repository for all data, distilling it into a single source of truth, and supporting the ‘scaling-up’ of sophisticated digital and advanced analytics programs that translate into business value. A well-developed solution can both improve efficiency and uncover new revenue and growth opportunities. What is it then that is keeping us from reaping these benefits? My experience is that many are struggling to connect disparate systems and data in an easily scalable way. However, if “going digital” follows some basic rules, the struggle can be reduced. These basic rules are: Focus on delivering impact fast by solving real business problems; use existing data to build the platform iteratively; and make sure that there is collaboration across the whole organization. It is complex, but possible. Think about the developments in the production level of our industry. We are looking into a future with multiple smaller heat production sources and even prosumers combined with a centralized production.
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By Bent Ole Gram Mortensen, Professor, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark
FOCUS DIGITALI- SATION
to ensure the implementation of smart metering systems that assist the active participation of consumers in the electricity and gas supply markets. The biggest progress installing smart meters has so far been made in the electricity supply field but meters for water, natural gas and district heating have also become “smart” in many places. The reason for the out roll of smart meters is primary to help consumers to adapt their consumption to real-time energy prices. But the expected better data can be used for many different things, including invoicing, fault detection, dimensioning and optimization of the grid. And one has to hope that will be the case, because it is a huge economic and logistic task to change hundreds of millions of utility meters, and the new meters will have to be changed more often than the old ones. PERSONAL DATA We have had laws on personal data in Europe for decades. And with good reason. Most of us are not interested in sharing information about ourselves with everyone. That is part of what we call privacy. Actually, protection of privacy is part of the code of practice of the Convention on Human Rights.
Of course, it did - communicate, that is. Many households and businesses in Europe are equipped with a digital utility meter that can register and pass on the consumption (supply data) remotely. These meters are usually referred to as smart or intelligent meters. Smart meters include more than automatic meter reading (AMR), saving the utility providers the periodic trips to each physical location to read a meter. Smart meters are based on an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which also includes two-way communication between the meter and a central system and records energy consumption hourly or more frequently. And these digital meters connect to a server at the utility company that provides electricity, heating, gas and/or water to the specific household or business. This new technology requires insight, timely consideration and political focus on all levels. Let's hope that utilities and legislators are able to meet that challenge. Because the change from conventional meters to digital utility meters is happening within the EU right now. And smart meters have for some time been on the political agenda in the EU. The meters (“electronic metering”) were mentioned as a tool to gain energy efficiency already back in 2006 in the Energy Service Directive. In accordance with the market directives for electricity and natural gas from the Third Energy Package (2009/72/EC and 2009/73/EC), Member States are required
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to know for a burglar. Is your refrigerator an old power guzzler? The local retailer of appliances is interested. Do you or the kids watch TV or play computer games all night? Did a boy-/ girlfriend move in and did you not tell your social worker? Do changes in the consumption during the day indicate that an elderly citizen is developing dementia? Cases for the social authorities. And supply data can be combined with data from other sources adding to the profiling. It is possible that Facebook still knows more about many of us than the utilities, but the introduction of smart meters, and the risk of unwanted profiling done by the utilities and their owners make privacy issues become a relevant consideration. DATA MINIMIZATION - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Among the basic principles of data processing included in the regulation of personal data is a demand for data minimization. It is an expression of a proportionality perspective. In relation to the purpose, data collection must be sufficient, relevant and limited to what is necessary. How often is it really necessary to read utility meters? Supposedly, this depends on whether data collection is only for invoice purposes, or if the data will also be used for other purposes, including creating profiles of consumers. There are no clear limitations in the EU legislation on how the data may be used, nor any limitations on how often utility meters may be read. It depends on national legislation. And supply data has great value. It can deliver much more than the possibility of better (and cheaper) billing. Utilities can use the data to measure the network load, detect leaks and optimize both operation, energy utilization and investments. Authorities can get a contribution to energizing energy policy and energy planning. Naturally, we can expect from the national legislation that such use of supply data is stated as legal. But what about the above mentioned uses for control by the social authorities? Do we really want supply data to be used to that kind of control? SUPPLY DATA NETWORK MAY BE HACKED Utility meters can use very different communication channels, including the electric grid (Power Line Carrier, PLC), the telecommunication network or a specific wireless network including Wi-Fi. In Europe, smart meters typically have not been connected directly to the internet. Often subnets, based on a data concentrator connecting a number of smart meters, are used. However, it is not only the internet that can be hacked. All kind of electronic networks can be hacked. Through a smart meter. Through a data concentrator. Through the cables.
And supply data is personal data. For household consumption at least, data can be related to a specific person or family. In addition, they are tied to customer data such as name and address and meter identification number. The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (WP29) considers in its Guidelines on the right to data that data “provided by the data subject” includes “the personal data that is observed from the activities of users such as raw data processed by a smart meter …” As of this May, new rules from the EU’s regulation of personal data (General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR) has come into effect. This must be understood in the context of four out of five Europeans not feeling that they have complete control over their own personal data. In fact, seven out of ten prefer to have given consent to the collection and processing of their personal data explicitly and in advance. This could speak for a tight regulation of the use of supply data. On the other hand, the EU expects that the internal digital market will contribute 415 million EUR to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. This speaks for not making it too difficult to exploit the collected supply data. A balance has to be found, and through some principles for processing and special rights, the regulation tries to establish this balance. Among other things, personal data must be collected for explicitly-mentioned and legitimate objectives and cannot be processed in a way that is incompatible with these objectives. The Energy Efficiency Directive from 2012 touches upon data privacy and security, and together with the above mentioned recast of the market directive for electricity data protection of privacy issues will come in focus. While GDPR creates the basic regulation of supply data, the market directives for electricity and natural gas would act as lex specialist towards the GDPR provisions. In contrast to the GDPR, energy markets are regulated by directives leaving more room for national legislation for the Member States. So far, we have no market directive for district heating as we have not much trans-border trade. SUPPLY DATA REVEAL WHO YOU ARE Previously, the utility meter was read once a year. Today, technology can read the meter as often as the utility wants, even at the (same) moment that you use the energy (real-time readings). Big data is created and with this it is possible to create a profile of the consumer - an individual or a family. This data may reveal information about consumption patterns, daily routines, activities and lifestyle. Actually, it can tell what a specific individual is doing right now. Is anybody home? Great
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AN AREA IN NEED OF FOCUS Smart meters deliver Big data and new possibilities for better or for worse. It is easy to get excited about the positive applicability of Big data in the utility sectors. But we also make us as individuals and as societies more vulnerable to profiling, social control and hacker attacks on critical infrastructure from small and big enemies. The balance lies in being able to reap the positive possibilities of smart meters without making ourselves vulnerable.
In this way, somebody can use the supply data to eavesdrop on someone (stalking, burglary and bribery), hijack the meter (blackmail about cutting the supply shortly before Christmas) or just disconnect energy and water supplies in large areas of the country (sabotage, terror or cyber-attack). And we need to be aware that our new smart meters can be hijacked, or our supplies disconnected. ENISA has pointed out that the “principal difference between traditional grids and Smart grids is that there are three new main security objectives that must be taken in account: availability of the service, integrity of transmitted data and confidentiality of the consumer’s data.”
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FOCUS DIGITALI- SATION
By Saška Rihtaršič, Configuration delivery team Director, Danfoss, Miha Bobič, Senior Director DEN Global Vertical, Danfoss, Anja Babič, Customer Engagement Specialist, Danfoss
BUSINESS STRATEGY Most organisations are increasing investments into digital, year by year with a main purpose to win, serve and retain their customers. What's more, they expect much of their near-term growth will be driven by digital. The main impact is expected to come from digital customer engagement, followed by digital innovation of products and operating or business models. In order to excel in digital customer experience especially international and cross-business companies are undergoing vast transformation journeys that involve: (1) Standardization of the procesess and platforms, including closing down old legacy systems and approvals and implementation of new potential platforms and technologies. (2) Digitalizing customer involvment process including finding faster and more direct ways of mapping the customer requirements, releasing of minimum viable product in order to speed up the releases and learn faster on what works and what does not work. (3) Adopting the new organisational structures to be more responsive in order to customer needs, creating dedicated (decentrilized) and competent teams who will be able to keep customer centricity and work crossfunctional, in parallel. WHAT DOES THE IDEAL SELECTION TOOL LIKE? The ideal selection tool needs to be easy to access and intuitive to use (fast). All information is to be contained in one place and integrated to support the whole design process. Finally, it has to be trustworthy and equipped with a feature for constant support. EXAMPLES OF THE SOLUTION Easy to access: The tool must be easy to browse or find on vendor's website. Most likely, it should be accessible online to provide constant updates and upgrades. Additionaly, registration should be optional and only needed when relevant for user experience. Good example: Asking registration as late as saving the project data for later personal use.
With no time to spare, heating system designers, planners and installers are looking for efficient tools. Recognizing this need, companies have to think beyond their products. Service is of growing importance and new digital technologies are here to support it. CUSTOMER NEEDS With growing complexity and (network) enlargement, simplified solutions are coming in the forefront of heating application experts' work. Their needs and challenges are various and diverse, resulting in higher expectations from products, solutions and services they use. Daily work of a heating application designer consists of planning, product selection and field work (to name a few). Still, a lot of tasks are done manually which makes them time-consuming and less efficient. Heating projects do not include selection only, but also product drawings, documentation and tender text storage, among others. Another challenge is the product knowledge needed in order to select the right application and quality solution which would suit the specific project requirements. Here, a designer very much depends on support from the solution providers. The list could go on, but even a short overview of daily challenges for consulting engineers, district heating utilities, installers and other professional experts, shows the need for a reliable, easy-to-use and time-saving solution. In the time of an on-going digitalization, this can become a reality – more than ever before. Instead of time-consuming manual work, online tools optimize the selection process. Through a guided process on the intelligent platform (product and solution knowledge and calculation-dimensioning), search for the right technical solution is growing in its simplicity. What is more, digitalized solutions enable numerous variations and specific approaches, depending on markets' and customer segments' needs. A consulting engineer from Poland and an installer fromAustria both need to make calculations and product selections, but will search for a product in a different way. That is where the solution providers, companies and organisations come in place.
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Providing support: With online tools, support via e-mails and call centers is becoming a thing from the past. Users need to be provided with constant support, preferably inside the tool itself so there is no need to spend additional time on finding the assistance. Good example: Platforms should include webinars, trainings and how-to videos on their content libraries, available at hand. A great method for providing support is also Live Chat, where users can have a direct dialogue with experts in the chat box.
Intuitive to use: User interface should be designed with focus on simplicity and guidance of the user in each step of the selection. Good example: Guiding the user during calculation process with minimum and maximum possible values for a given application parameter and at the same time informing the user on the impact of his inputs.
Contains all needed information at one place: A selection tool needs to comprise of different configurators for various products and standardized solutions with an easy access to the documentation. Additionaly, the product portfolio range needs to be as wide as possible, and then the interaction between different products can be taken into account.
WHAT IS COMING NEXT? Designers will in the future opt for tools that are relevant and save their time. It means full integration with Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems or at least outputs in compatible formats. As design phase is getting more and more integrated with installation phase and operation/maintainance phase it will be key for success ability to offer the consistent solutions during the whole life cycle of the product, including service and replacement of the product. In this relation we foresee the bigger need of selection tools on mobile platforms, with the use of new technologies like Virtual reality or Augmented reality. Another aspect is the natural language recognition where user interface will move from keyboard to voice. Voice (audio) interaction with the tool will become one of the most interesting features of selection tools in the future. Inspite the fact that new, state-of-the-art selection tools will make user's job more flexible and self-efficient, the online collaboration within community and vendors will become more and more important. Therefore, the vendors who will be able to offer collaboration platforms enabling their customers to efficently exchange relevant informations and at the same time get quick and expert support, will have higher probability of success.
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Integrated to support the whole design process: To enable a simplified experience for designers, the selection tool needs to cover the complete journey, including integration with Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools. Installers, on the other hand, will appreciate the possibility of asking for quote or placing an order inside the tool itself. Trustworthy: Users need to understand the principles behind the suggested solutions and be able to rely on the tool algorithms. Good example: At the end of a selection process, the tool will indicate the technical suitability by validation of selected performance criteria.
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com For further information please contact:
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FOCUS DIGITALI- SATION
By Steen Schelle Jensen, Head of Product Management – Heat/Cooling Solutions, Kamstrup
Everyone talks about the potential of digitalisation, but it only creates actual value when prompting concrete changes in the way a utility produces and distributes district heating – changes that can be measured in money terms. Quantifying that value is therefore the objective of a close cooperation between Danish utility AffaldVarme Aarhus and Kamstrup on data-driven optimisation.
Everyone talks about the potential of digitalisation, but it only creates actual value when prompting concrete changes in the way a utility produces and distributes district heating – changes that can be measured in money terms. Quantifying that value is therefore the objective of a close cooperation between Danish utility AffaldVarme Aarhus and Kamstrup on data-driven optimisation. In many industries, digitalisation is primarily perceived as a means to make life easier and smarter for the consumer – and district heating is no exception. The consumer side remains a very important part of district heating especially because its continued competitiveness and expansion relies on a broad acceptance of its premise: forgoing a free choice of supplier in exchange for a clean, sustainable and highly efficient heat source as well as being part of a good and shared story. However, digitalisation is much more than new customer services or consumer apps, which is often what comes to mind when discussing digitalised district heating. Digital technologies hold the potential to make the entire energy system both more efficient, reliable and intelligent – and the digital movement is well underway. This is illustrated in the Digital Roadmap for District Heating & Cooling recently published by Euroheat and Power’s DHC+ Technology Platform describing the status quo, potential and key barriers for digitalisation on six different levels: Production, distribution, building, consumption, design and planning as well as sector coupling.
The roadmap provides a comprehensive overview and nuanced insight into digitalisation as a potentially transformative force and its enormous impact on the district heating industry. FIRST THINGS FIRST: PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION While all levels in the DHC+ roadmap are important, it makes best sense to start out where digitalisation can generate the most value: production and distribution. First of all, a large part of a utility’s finances are tied up in these two areas as operational costs as well as very long-term investments. In addition, the unique nature of district heating is characterised by the fact that all parts of the system are so closely linked, which means that especially the production and distribution are highly influenced by consumer behaviour and the energy performance of buildings. For example, because of the time it takes to move district heating to where it is needed, it has to be produced several hours before it is actually used. Energy suppliers therefore need detailed knowledge about consumer needs and consumption patterns to perform accurate forecasts. Also, return temperatures that are too high will typically be the result of faulty or misadjusted substations or end-user behaviour causing inefficient operations and excessive heat loss.
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Today, leak detection is done using drone overflights when an abnormal increase in water loss is detected in a certain area. In addition to being a cost-intensive solution, drone overflights also require cold weather to be able to locate bursts, which presents obvious challenges during the summer months. AVA usually experiences many bursts during this period, because the entire distribution network is cooled down for summer operations. The objective is therefore to find out if the same bursts can be detected using smart meter data and Heat Intelligence – maybe even faster. The potential results would primarily be savings in terms of costs for drone overflights and of course less water loss. Additionally, AVA would avoid the costly mending of consequential damage from district heating water leaking in both private homes and in the distribution network, including digging and restoration of roads, urban areas etc. Also, increased knowledge about the actual condition of the network could prove extremely valuable when used strategically in maintenance planning and to ensure full utilisation of the lifetime of the pipes in the existing network. “We have already seen significant benefits in the areas of billing and meter administration, but operations optimisation is another key area for us. We believe there is value to be found here, but this project allows us to get really specific about exactly what it is that we can do differently and, most importantly, clarify the savings it will deliver” – Lasse Sørensen, Department Manager, Business Development, AVA.
Digitalisation can deliver significant value by creating transparency in a system that is only becoming increasingly complex on the way to 4th generation district heating.
INDISPUTABLE POTENTIAL Market analytics company Ennova recently performed a study demonstrating the value of the potential in digitalised district heating. Based on in-depth interviews with 10 Danish utilities about their experiences with remote reading of meters, the study revealed potential savings in first and foremost operational efficiency, but also in infrastructure investments, administration, customer service and energy consumption. In total, this amounted to an efficiency potential of 30 times the cost of going from basic meter reading to frequent and intelligent meter reading estimated at an additional cost of EUR 8 per year per connected customer. A PROVEN BUSINESS CASE There is no shortage of digital tools promising to enable utilities to exploit the potential of data-driven operations optimisation. However, these tools often end up requiring lots of time and resources without generating real value. Actual value only comes when digitalisation produces concrete changes in a utility’s daily operations. The challenge is to quantify the value of making those changes, so utilities know their investment is worth not just their money but also their time. Consequently, going from acknowledging the potential to actually doing something differently than today calls for a proven business case. This requires technology providers to work more closely with utility experts who possess the detailed knowledge about their network and operational challenges to verify the value of a potential change. That is exactly what Kamstrup is doing together with the heating utility of Denmark’s second largest city AffaldVarme Aarhus (AVA), who completed the implementation of their 57,000 hourly-read smart meters in 2017. LEAK DETECTION IN NUMBERS In connection with the launch and further development of the analytics tool Heat Intelligence, a collaboration with AVA aims to establish detailed business cases for specific areas expected to hold financial value that could be unlocked using this tool. The first area is analysis of service pipes and mains for the purpose of detecting bursts and leaks.
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A SHARED MISSION Few will disagree that there is business to be done in optimising the production and distribution sides of district heating, However, the question is how to get from innovative tools to a proven business case that prompts utilities to do things differently than today. The continued progress of the digital movement therefore relies on forward-looking utilities collaborating with visionary technology providers – because that is when true digital innovation emerges. DATA-BASED TRANSPARENCY Heat Intelligence is an analytics tool combining data from the heat meters already installed in the distribution network with a digital GIS model of the pipe network. This provides the basis for a data-driven model of what goes on in the distribution network – without the need for additional metering points. The model behind Heat Intelligence was developed in- house and allows utilities to see how temperatures and flow spreads throughout the distribution network. This creates virtual meters in the network nodes, providing a new level of transparency and making it possible to qualify assumptions about the state of the network with real-life facts. Going from a theoretic, hydraulic model to one that is fully driven by data presents a number of new possibilities. Heat Intelligence enables utilities to document their quality of delivery as well as identify the customers and buildings that put the most strain on the system and cause high return temperatures. It also presents new opportunities for identifying problem areas in the network such as leaks caused by bursts, bypasses creating unnecessary heat or dead spots with no flow. Additionally, the tool helps utilities detect pipes with excessive heat loss, uninsulated heat installations and other deviations – all presented on an intuitive map of the supply area. Because Heat Intelligence gives a detailed view of the actual condition of the distribution network, it also provides valuable knowledge for planning and dimensioning of expansions and maintenance. This allows better utilisation of the existing infrastructure and more precise dimensioning of new parts of the network to avoid unnecessary investments.
BRINGING TOGETHER THE RIGHT PEOPLE Following the identification of the areas with the greatest financial potential and the choice of a suitable pilot area, operations staff from AVA and data specialists from Kamstrup work closely together to collect, analyse and interpret data. Comparing their results with AVA’s current method for leak detection combined with the cost of fixing bursts and collateral damage will be the basis for proving the business case for implementing Heat Intelligence throughout their supply area. For AVA, the project will provide fact-based proof to validate their potential investment in Heat Intelligence. At the same time, it provides important insight and is a valuable exercise with regard to knowledge and renovation of their distribution network. In addition, the collaboration makes up the final – and perhaps most important – step of the product development process: proving quantified value creation. This also enables further development of the model behind Heat Intelligence and making it even more precise based on new knowledge about real-life bursts.
DIGITALISATION IN THE AGE OF GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
Smart meter data is an essential part of the digitalisation process and vital for a utility’s ability to optimise their operations. In order to do precise forecasts and optimise not just individual buildings but their entire system, it is necessary for data from all buildings in the supply area to come into play. Otherwise, it will negatively affect the validity of the data analysis and use cases for the collected data. The Danish Energy Agency and the Department of Justice recently assessed the legal basis for utilising smart meter data beyond billing purposes. Their official interpretation states that frequent collection of data from heat meters is lawful without individual customer consent if the energy supplier uses that data either in the interest of the public to save energy and minimise energy losses, or for improving the energy efficiency of its operations. However, the Danish position also clearly states the indispensable condition that the energy supplier’s metering solution must meet today’s data security demands including GDPR compliance – a demand that effectively falls back on the technology providers. This will give the full transparency of data processing to ensure the trust that the GDPR is all about.
For further information please contact:
Kamstrup A/S Att. Steen Schelle Jensen, Head of Product Management
+45 8993 1191 firstname.lastname@example.org kamstrup.com
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DISTRICT HEATING FINANCING AND OWNERSHIP
FOCUS DIGITALI- SATION
By Alexander Philbrook, Managing Director ista UK
However, many questions still remain unanswered, such as: will the home of the future really be able to control everything from a light bulb to setting reminders about the school play? How much control will the householder have over their systems and personal data? Finally, will the appropriate systems be the preserve of the wealthy or can they be installed and operated cost-effectively, in particular for tenants in multi-occupancy buildings? SMART SUBMETERING ista is working today on key technologies for tomorrow’s digital world with the aim of making the world a fairer place for all consumers. We believe that the advance of digitisation in our everyday lives has provided a genuine opportunity for greater sustainability. However, the key questions of cost-effectiveness and data protection must be answered. For example, electricity consumption reveals precise details about our lifestyle and our personal habits. Smart electricity meters are part of a critical infrastructure and need to be secure and reliable. Their integration, in particular into a residential building, is therefore considerably more sensitive and complex.
From Twitter to online tax returns, we can all see how the inexorable advance of digitisation is changing both our daily lives and our views on the world. But while technology and industry develop apace, our planet’s natural resources are being put under increasing pressure which has led to the promotion of sustainability across society. So digital solutions can be used to save and protect essential resources such as electricity, gas or water. Consumption transparency plays a crucial role in sustainability. Greater knowledge changes behaviour and this is particularly true when it comes to energy consumption. SMARTER VISION Science fictions films have provided us with many differing visions for the world of tomorrow. After driving home from work in your flying car, your front door opens when it automatically recognises your face, and the oven is cooking your favourite meal, while the fridge has just ordered the weekly shopping from the local supermarket. In reality, devices such as the smartphone and Amazon Alexa now give people the ability to control everything from the room surveillance system and room temperature to the energy management system of their electric car, which is charging up in front of their house.
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The biomass boilers use stoves which burn pellets, these stoves are connected to integrated boilers which provide heat and hot water for the building. For areas without a gas supply, a pellet-fuelled biomass boiler is generally much cheaper to run than a traditional electric heating system.
By contrast, with heat, there is no connection to a critical infrastructure. Intelligent heat recording and control in apartment buildings only begin at the central heating system in the cellar and – just like elevator maintenance or stair cleaning – it is the property manager or owner who is responsible for it and orders it for the entire building. In contrast to the huge data volumes of individual power sources which are recorded by smart metering, from the washing machine to the individual lights in different rooms, submetering remains restricted to the metering and visualisation of heat and hot water consumption in an apartment or a property. Complex data profiles are not recorded. The “smart” approach of submetering consists in giving tenants the possibility of controlling their energy consumption by using digital channels to prepare transparent, monthly heat and hot water consumption data. All studies conducted so far on submetering, and on the provision of heat consumption information during the year, show that the savings potential is huge compared to the investment cost. CONNECTING COMMUNITIES Another benefit of digitisation is connectivity, which can make a real difference in rural communities which are a long way from population centres. This was proved during a project in one of the remotest parts of the United Kingdom (UK). The Highland Council is the largest local government region in the whole of the UK, covering an area of 25,657 square kilometres in northern Scotland. Not surprisingly given its size, the area is sparsely populated with a ratio of 9.0 people per square kilometre. The population density is less than one seventh of Scotland’s as a whole, and is a similar ratio to rural areas of Russia. The Highland Council, based in Inverness, is the biggest single UK organisation with a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. The RHI programme was set up by the UK Government to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives. The ground-breaking scheme was the first of its kind in the world, and the Government expects the RHI to contribute towards its 2020 ambition of 12 % of heating coming from renewable sources. The Highland Council called upon ista to help them with a large number of school sites, many of which had biomass boilers installed. Due to the large size of the council’s RHI network, effective management of the biomass boilers is essential. Prior to ista’s involvement, this was a time consuming and difficult task due to the remote geographic location of the sites. The complexity and costs of the network were further complicated due to monthly audits from energy regulator Ofgem.
SMART SOLUTION Initially, we trialled a digital solution at one site. This involved retrofitting an existing meter to enable remote collection of energy data every half hour. This data was then made available on our MinuteView portal. The portal is easy to set up and understand, and provided the council with an integrated management and monitoring system. The software has been designed for landlords, commercial energy users or those in the maintenance sector, so they you can see all their properties and individual meter points. Aligned with current digital trends it’s a mobile first solution optimised for tablets and smartphones, and all the data is processed into highly useful graphical and tabular reports that display the data trends across every site. With instant access to their data, for the first time The Highland Council enjoyed complete visibility and control of the energy data from one of its sites, 24/7 and in real-time. Utilising a cloud based solution enabled the council to remotely view data from the meter and monitor consumption for any signs of wastage or other issues. The trial was deemed to be such a success that the programme was rolled out to 75 sites across the Highland region. With the increased scale of the scheme, fault modules were installed to provide boiler status in near real time and allow any issues to be highlighted remotely via websites, SMS and email alerts. Using the data enabled the council to remotely monitor fuel usage across the sites. Automated monitoring flagged when fuel stocks were running low and predicted when fuel stocks would run out, sending automatic notification to fuel delivery companies to optimise fuel delivery schedules.
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Since the roll out of the scheme, the half hourly data collected from sites has been sent on a daily basis to Ofgem, who have undertaken no more audits, saving both the council and regulator time and money. Due to the success of this trial, consideration is being given to the future addition of other utilities, including gas and solar power, to assist the council with monitoring and maintaining their services. THE FUTURE We believe that the advance of digitisation in our everyday lives has provided a genuine opportunity for greater sustainability.
This totally connected system provided an estimate of the amount of fuel left in the store and this information was made available to the client. Alarms are set to alert the council when the fuel level has reached a critical point. When a delivery is made, the fuel type, amount and time of delivery is then inputted via the web portal. To further the automation of the operation for The Highland Council, we developed a bespoke web portal called BoilerView. This has provided the council with an easy-to-use, dashboard which is a single point of information for the whole estate, showing which sites are running as expected, which have a fault and which are running low on fuel. Data is updated on a half hourly basis.
For further information please contact:
Alexander Philbrook Managing Director ista UK
email@example.com Tel: +44 (0) 1223 874 974
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20% of energy saving potential using hydronic balancing controls
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FOCUS DIGITALI- SATION
By Søren Berg Lorenzen Head of Planning – Energy, Frederiksberg Forsyning
At Frederiksberg Forsyning, a large utility company in the Danish capital, we believe that digitalization of our supply systems is a very important answer to the constant demands for a more efficient and environmentally friendly operation of district heating and water supplies.
But this is to some extent also a weakness, as you will probably not notice if your heating system is not running as efficiently as it could. Your house or apartment will stay warm, even though the return temperature is too high. Even a motivation tariff, where you are charged extra for too high a return temperature, will often not lead to the expected action – instead the customers just pay the extra tariff, month after month, year after year. Why is this? One answer could be that time has become a valuable resource. In a busy everyday life, spending time on your heating system is not a top priority. What people are really looking for is time, peace and quiet. AN OCEAN OF DATA – A SEA OF OPPORTUNITIES In 2017, Frederiksberg Forsyning installed a Smart City network, providing us with Wifi-coverage in all parts of our distribution systems. In combination with district heating and water meters which can all be remotely read, this means that we can now get a very detailed real-time picture of what is going on in our networks and even at every single customer. We can, in theory, read the flow and temperatures on the primary side of every single one of our approximately 4,300 district heating substations, servicing 105,000 citizens and nearly 5,000 businesses in the Danish municipality of Frederiksberg. All this data can provide very detailed insights into the operations of the different utilities – water, district heating and district cooling. Data is the foundation on which we can continue to increase the efficiency and lower the prices while maintaining or even increasing the quality (i.e. security) of supply. But howdowemake themost of all these data? At Frederiksberg Forsyning, we are currently giving this a great deal of thought, and even though this process is not done yet, some ideas and conclusions have already revealed themselves.
Today’s utility companies, like Frederiksberg Forsyning, are met with demands for an ever-increasing efficiency in the daily operations – from customers, regulators/politicians and society. Prices are expected to decrease as is the environmental impact, while the quality of service (security of supply) must remain high. This could seem like, if not a threat, then at least a challenge to the utility company, its management and employees. At the same time, the innovation and technological developments continue at a very high pace, especially within sensors and IT solutions. This is definitely an opportunity and could well be one of the keys for meeting the demands and expectations described above.
A happy customer with his brandnew substation
WHAT ARE OUR CUSTOMERS (ALSO) LOOKING FOR? One of the bestselling points for a utility scale solution like district heating is that it is in essence a ‘no hassle’ supply. You just turn the valve on your radiator and the room temperature adjusts to the desired level – and it stays there, without you needing to do anything other than paying your bills.
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ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL First of all, we believe that one single system or solution will not meet the wishes and requirements of all our customers, as these are quite varied. Some customers are large professional building owners like the Municipality of Frederiksberg, the Danish Building and Property Agency (property enterprise and developer of the Danish state) and large cooperative housing associations like KAB. Although few in number, they still represent a substantial part of our district heating sales, and in their organizations, they have specialists within building performance. Therefore, they are often interested in the raw data from our heat meters, so they can combine this with other building data and create their own analyses. Furthermore, they will act on the results of their analyses, improving the efficiency of their buildings and installations, which will almost always also be to the benefit of the entire district heating system. Towards these customers, the task facing us is a rather easy one which mainly consists of finding the right way (format, frequency and perhaps payment model) of transferring our raw data to them. However, most of our customers are very different. They are the owners of one- or two-family houses, small and medium sized businesses as well as privately owned apartment blocks. These customers commonly do not have neither the interest nor the competences needed to understand or act upon data on their district heating consumption – even if these are in the form of an easy-to-use app or a detailed yearly report. This has been documented in several reports and surveys and is also confirmed with our experiences so far.
Installation of WiFi access point at Frederiksberg
A WAY FORWARD As already mentioned, the solution seems rather simple and technical when it comes to our larger and professional customers: find a model of transferring data, and we are all good to go. When it comes to the non-professional customers, the situation seems more complex. As a consequence of the barriers mentioned above, we are looking at different concepts that can more easily be communicated and will deliver the benefits to both us and our customers. A common feature of these solutions is to build on the bestselling point of district heating: the ‘no hassle’ heat supply. One example is that we as a professional organization with specialized skills and knowledge take over the operation, maintenance, optimisation and perhaps even the ownership of the customer’s district heating substation. Through this setup, we become the primary users of the detailed (real-time) operational data, and it will be our responsibility to analyse and act upon the data, sometimes on our own – when no extra costs are involved – and sometimes after consulting with the customer – when extra costs are involved. Other new digitally based services could be leak surveillance (perhaps even leading to lower insurance costs) and temperature optimisation, just to mention a few.
The main reasons for this is two barriers, which have been labelled ‘the passive customer’ and ‘the payment relation’.
‘The passive customer’ is directly related to the lack of knowledge on the understanding of how heating installations work and can be optimized, but also to an absent feeling of responsibility. “My heating consumptions is dictated by the weather – there’s nothing I can do about it” is not an unfamiliar attitude. ‘The payment relation’ has to do with the core relation between the customer and the utility company, namely the delivery and payment of district heating. The customers often see the utility company solely as their supplier of heating and not as a trusted advisor when it comes to the lowering of their heating bill. After all, the selling of district heating is what makes the utility company rich, isn’t it? Well, at least not in Denmark!
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