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INESC TEC helps to develop new concept and business models to improve energy performance contracting

07th October 2022

AmBIENCe innovated in terms of energy performance contracting: the purpose of the project was to reduce the CO2 emissions of buildings by introducing the flexible use of energy sources combined with electrification and demand response.

This led to the concept of AEPC - Active building Energy Performance Contracting. "Throughout the project, by combining energy performance contracting with demand response, we have developed the concept of AEPC, which enables new services, business models and actors. Moreover, the AEPC concept applies to a broad scope of building types, i.e, residential, education, offices. Moreover, it could potentially apply to clusters of buildings (under the concept of local energy communities)", explained Annick Vastiau, project manager at VITO/EnergyVille and project coordinator.

The project also focused on the development of business models adapted to different types of building, occupation, or financing, in order to demonstrate the applicability of the concept. These business models aim to improve the energy performance contracting, presenting solutions for different realities, in terms of building typology and the different actors involved, whether owners, energy suppliers or aggregators.” This supports the draw up of contracts.

Among the main results of the AmBIENCe project was the testing of the AEPC concept and business models and the development of the AEPC contract for two pilot buildings, an office building in Portugal and a residential building in Belgium.

To facilitate the contracting process, the consortium developed a proof of concept of a simulation platform that, among others, estimates energy costs based on real scenarios introducing flexibility by demand response, presenting the best option for owners, energy companies and investors. In addition, a database of European buildings was developed as well as a methodology to create scenarios on the energy system by 2050 while allowing to calculate the impact of adoption of active control.

 The concept, methodology and results of the project are also explained in a series of videos – AmBIENCe Academy – produced by the consortium and available on the project's website.

According to INESC TEC researcher Tiago André Soares, the institute contributed “to the development of the AEPC concept and corresponding business models, considering the type of building, occupation, financing and ownership"

In addition, INESC TEC supported “the improvement of the traditional energy performance contracting, incorporating measures that combine energy efficiency, the introduction of renewable energy and demand response programmes”, he stated.

“During the project the AEPC concept and business models were tested in two pilots, together with the design of the AEPC contract for said pilots. We believe that the implementation of AEPC will support the shift to ZEB, which stands for Zero Emission Buildings in the case of AmBIENCe. The combination of electrification and demand response, supporting the uptake or renewable energy sources, ensures greater efficiency and emissions reduction at a lower cost”, explained the coordinator.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No #847054.