Involvement of the users in the OptEEmAL project – The project’s multi-stakeholder approach
07.12.2016 – A specialty of the OptEEmAL project is the direct involvement of the end-users in the development process of the platform: Three of the consortium members are directly in charge of designing retrofitting projects at district level. They play a central role in the design of the platform and an even more crucial one for its validation procedure. The partners Habitech, Fomento San Sebastián and the city of Lund explain their roles, their contributions and their benefits from participating in the OptEEmAL project.
Three different stakeholders in charge of designing retrofitting projects at district level are essential to become test-beds for validation within OptEEmAL: A municipality (the city of Lund in Sweden), a private consortium of technical offices (Habitech in Italy) and a municipal company (Fomento San Sebastián in Spain). Each will head the demonstration of the performance, usefulness and user-friendliness of the tool for developing Integrated District Energy Efficient Retrofitting Plans in real environments.
In the following interview, the three OptEEmAL partners talk about their roles within the project, their actual contributions to the project and give insights in the reasons for them to take part in the project and the benefits they are getting through this involvement.
For you as an end-user – what is your actual role within the project?
Fomento San Sebastián (FSS): The main role of Fomento de San Sebastián as end user is to provide a pragmatic point of view on the OptEEmAL platform, close to the real retrofitting projects. We will try to provide practical answers and information as feedback.
City of Lund: In the early development phase of the project, our role is to give the technical partners input from the owner’s perspective. Once the OptEEmAL tool is ready to be tested, our role will be to test it – to see how the tool performs when used on existing buildings and what benefits it could give us as a real estate owner.
Habitech – Distretto Tecnologico Trentino: Our contribution to the project is mainly focused on supporting the test of the software developed for the retrofit analysis of existing buildings in different districts. The demonstration case chosen in Italy for testing the platform is the “District San Bartolameo”, located in Trento.
Habitech has to collect all the data of the demo case in order to test the virtual platform and at the same time operating it. The aim is on the one hand to feed the underlying Building Information Model with real data and, on the other hand, to produce evaluation feedback.
Another objective is to encourage the participation of the building owners, the different stakeholders and the end-users to the refurbishment level – this is the concept of the integrated design process.
What can you as end-user actually contribute to the project? What is specific about your role within the development of the OptEEmAL platform?
Lund: We can contribute with both the experiences of the day to day work with a large building stock in need of refurbishment and the experience of being a municipality with highly set environmental standards.
FSS: As potential promoters for stimulating retrofitting projects in the city of San Sebastián, we can suggest functionalities and key topics to which the OptEEmAL tool should respond. In addition, we contribute with a real case study to be analysed during the project´s lifetime, and are also contributing with our previous experience in the field.
Habitech: As end-user, we will ensure that the platform will be easy to use and to be understood – also by non-technical persons, and that it works in an effective way. We will collect the data required, providing the information requested and will then test the platform.
What does OptEEmAL mean for your organisation?
Habitech: For Habitech, and in particular for the internal Energy Efficiency Area, participation in the OptEEmAL project is a great opportunity to work in combining different interests, knowledge and expertise across Europe. The development of a standardised tool which can be used from the North to the South of the European Union with local adjustments is a great opportunity for the market of the refurbishment of buildings.
FSS: We expect that the tool to be developed within OptEEmAL will help us to obtain different retrofitting alternatives for real projects, in order to select the most suitable solutions and taking into account different points of view – such as economic, technical or social ones.
Lund: For us, OptEEmAL is a natural follow up on the European project CiTyFiEd, where Lund is performing extensive retrofitting. The OptEEmAL tool can hopefully teach us ways to work closer with different stakeholders in retrofitting projects and support us in the difficult job to design retrofitting projects, focusing on energy efficiency.
What are your reasons for taking part in the project?
FSS: Fomento de San Sebastian works actively in the promotion and support of local projects in the sustainability and energy efficiency fields. We are aware that as the economic development agency for the city of San Sebastián, Fomento has to contribute and support innovative solutions to make the cities more efficient and sustainable. The OptEEmAL project is totally in line with this objective because it aims to develop an innovative tool for retrofitting buildings and districts and therefore, make the cities more sustainable by improving the quality of life of tenants and reducing their energy costs at the same time.
Lund: We want to be part of developing the retrofitting process in order to choose energy efficiency measures based on a thorough analysis and stakeholder involvement.
Habitech: It is very interesting for us to provide the Italian demo case for the platform validation, in the sense of a “district” with different buildings with a planned or existing energy relationship, where retrofitting activities will take place.
How will your organisations benefit from being a part of the OptEEmAL project?
Lund: By being a partner in OptEEmAL, we get a broad contact network with really qualified research and development partners. We also get access to tools that will help us develop our retrofitting process.
FSS: We expect that OptEEmAL develops a tool which will allow us to analyse and find the optimal solution for retrofitting projects and therefore to be able to promote and support new retrofitting interventions across the city.
Habitech: Habitech will be able to guarantee a large involvement of actors such as professional designers and small and medium sized companies interested in participating in this project. We will also be able to disseminate the benefits of the developed platform among our members. In addition, it will be possible for other districts to be retrofitted with the aid of the output data provided by the platform.
Thank you very much for your answers!
Habitech, the Energy and Environment District, promoted by the Autonomous Province of Trento and recognised by the Ministry of University and Research, is the leading national center for green building, renewable energy and alternative mobility. Habitech is a non for profit organisation and a network of more than 300 enterprises.
About Fomento San Sebastián:
Fomento San Sebastián is the municipal company dedicated to the economic and social development and promotion of the city of Donostia - San Sebastián (Spain), through innovation, knowledge generation and transformation, networking, and project fostering and management, all under sustainability criteria.
About the City of Lund:
The City of Lund has 115,000 inhabitants and is one of the oldest cities in Scandinavia. The city has about 9,000 employees. Lund University is one of the largest universities in Sweden with 40,000 students. Lund has very ambitious environmental and climate goals and is committed to the Covenant of Mayors' 2030 initiative.
Fomento de San Sebastián, S.A.
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