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Shaping smart homes, in smart buildings

APPLiA on the EU Renovation Wave Strategy.

“The green recovery starts at home“ stated Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, in her speech right after the adoption of the EU Renovation Wave Strategy. Taking inspiration from her, we like to say that “The renovation wave starts at home, and appliances will be a driver of the change”. This ambitious plan aims at renovating the EU building stock and making use of its untapped savings potential. In this transition, smart appliances can ensure increased comfort and savings from heating and cooling systems. More than that, they can be connected to flexible buildings, exactly those that the Wave targets.

The Renovation Wave strategy will build on new policy dossiers, but also on existing ones. The review of the Energy Efficiency Directive, for instance, envisages the decarbonisation of heating and cooling systems in the Union. Product-specific measures will be put in place to meet these objectives and Ecodesign and Energy Labelling will be reviewed to this end.

As buildings are at the very centre of this Renovation, the so-called Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) will be reviewed to introduce Energy Performance Certificates for buildings. In the assessment of the energy efficiency rendering of buildings, a role is played by Smart Readiness Indicators (SRIs). Buildings will be given a score depending on the smart functionalities inside them, which will be delivered also by smart appliances. “Inside buildings, there are homes, and inside homes, there are home appliances. They are all very much interlinked, so we cannot consider them separately. The transition starts from inside.” commented Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA’s Director General.

In fact, smart appliances will be connected among themselves and to flexible buildings, which can in turn be connected to smart grids. The interactions between a collection of home appliances through the building energy management system and the grid will become more frequent. “We support this transition and its voluntary nature. Incentives, we know from experience, support this sort of transition very well.” added Paolo Falcioni.

Being already active in the “workroom” of the EU green transition on different fronts, APPLiA contributed to the recent smartEN position paper “Towards a quantification of the demand-side flexibility of buildings''. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” quotes the paper at the very beginning, giving emphasis to the need to quantify actual building energy performance, and within this context in particular, the demand side flexibility of a building. The maximisation of the energy performance of buildings requires both energy efficiency and flexibility to be optimised, particularly at the grid edge.

Connected appliances and the Internet of Things are recognised as playing a role in engaging and empowering consumers, while shaping what a “smart home” is. The 2019 JRC report identified that, where users could actively see the energy consumption in real-time and act upon it, there were registered energy savings reaching up to more than 15%. “Only a holistic approach, combining building renovation and home appliances, will increase the demand-side flexibility performance of the 72 Million smart homes expected in Europe by 2024.” concluded Paolo Falcioni.