The Alexandra Institute // Cases // URB-Grade




Digital platform for energy and environmental planning

A consortium of researcheres, technology companies and municipalities develop decision-making tool based on real-time data.

URB-Grade is a three-year EU project that designs, develops and validates a platform for decision support (District as a Service (DaaS)). The platform helps policymakers to make better decisions in terms of cost and energy efficiency and to increase citizen awareness of how to save energy and derive a greater proportion of energy from renewable sources.

The main users of the DaaS platform are local policymakers (for example city authorities and utilities). It is envisioned that the platform will become a major tool for urban planning and policymaking in the field of energy and environment.

Start date: 01-11-2012 / End date: 28-02-2016

The Alexandra Institute is responsible for the user involvement part of the project. Our focus is to develop methods for acquiring an overview of the end users’ needs, preferences and energy consuming behaviour. Our work is based on the insights and principles of user-driven innovation.

Moreover, the Alexandra Institute contributes to research into and development of the cloud-based DaaS platform to enable it to process and visualise complex heterogeneous data sets for use in urban, environmental and energy planning.

This includes: 

  • District as a Service
  • Visualisation and User Interfaces
  • District Service Onthology
  • District Instrumentation
  • Data Collection Infrastruture
  • Complex Event Processing

Read more about the project and its deliverables at the project website.

The information that the platform integrates is based on data from heterogeneous distributed sensors (e.g. smart meters and embedded sensors) and other open data sources (e.g. energy grade of buildings) or survey-based data. Data is processed using complex event processing (CEP) techniques to generate relevant information for the DaaS platform. Information will be made available over a common cloud-based service platform.

The URB-Grade project demonstrates the approach at three validation sites for different decision support issues. This includes:

  • Kalundborg (Denmark) that focuses on private consumers and use of electric cars
  • Eibar (Spain) that focuses on energy efficiency of street lighting 
  • Barcelona (Spain) that focuses on energy efficiency in shops, primarily in relation to air conditioning

By developing a service platform that provides access to complex and updated information about the energy consumption and consumption patterns in a district, the project supports qualified decision-making, which can serve as basis for developing business models that are both financially feasible and contribute to reducing the overall energy consumption.

Last but not least, other private and public partners will be able to benefit from the user and market insights that the Alexandra Institute has acquired in the energy field.

Involve your users in technology development!

Contact us to learn how.

Principal Green Urban Designer
People, Technology and Business Lab
+45 30 23 66 22
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