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New platform aims to improve energy performance of buildings

30th January 2020

A new concept to increase the flexibility of the Energy Performance Contracting model is currently being developed by the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) and by EDP CNET, together with five other international partners. The European project AmBIENCe will support building owners and investors, by promoting comfort and energy-cost savings through a platform that promotes the active management of consumption, with a beneficial effect on the environment.

The concept of Energy Performance Contracting emerged in the last century, during the oil crisis of 1970; it was an innovative way to promote a reduction in energy consumption through the return of installation and equipment management costs. Nowadays, these contracts still involve Energy Services Companies (EDP, for instance) - which provide services such as financing, performance guarantees and energy savings - and the buildings' managers or owners.

Despite the growing awareness of the implementation of energy efficiency measures, the market for Energy Service Companies (ESCO) is still far from reaching its full potential. In Portugal, the implementation of Energy Performance Contracting is still at an early stage, with a very small number of ESCO involved.

The European project AmBIENCe - Active Managed Buildings with Energy Performance Contracting - has two Portuguese partners focused on the development of new business models and a new concept of Energy Performance Contract, based on flexibility and consumption management, with benefits for the buildings’ owners and users, as well as for investors.

According to this new concept, the consortium will develop a platform that enables the calculation of costs and savings associated with the implementation of these Energy Performance Contracts, thus ensuring full transparency on the users' energy consumption and billing. Besides promoting the investment in the modernisation and intelligence of the buildings (building envelope, energy systems, installation of photovoltaic cells and/or charging points for electric vehicles, etc.), these innovations will help users play an active role and adopt efficient ways to reduce energy consumption, without compromising their comfort level. 

Nilufar Neyestani, researcher and project coordinator at INESC TEC, said that the new business models aim to reinforce the “win-win” character of Energy Performance Contracting: “in Portugal, in addition to the small number of Energy Service Companies, there is a lack of incentives to improve the energy performance of buildings. For this reason, the AmBIENCe project aims to attract more investment, offering investors guarantees of return through a better approach of measuring and verifying consumption, thus ensuring compliance with the contracts signed with the building's users”.

The AmBIENCe project, to be piloted in Portugal and Belgium, broadens the concept of Energy Performance Contracts to different types of buildings: tertiary, commercial and residential (the latter not included in the current models). 

Another original feature of these novel performance models is the integration of energy and non-energy services e.g. comfort, safety and health

The project, expected to last two and a half years, has received €2M worth funding by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and development programme, under agreement number 847054. The consortium is composed of seven partners based in four countries: VITO/EnergyVille, BPIE and Energinvest (Belgium); ENEA (Italy); IK4 (Spain) and INESC TEC and EDP CNET (Portugal).  

For more information about the project:


For further inquiries:

Eunice Oliveira

Communication Service                                                                                                                                 


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Porto, January 22 2020