As the energy transition is moving forward, today’s building managers are looking beyond mere energy savings. They want to turn their buildings into flexible energy systems that produce, use and store energy where and when it is needed. “The technology is available, now we need to prove to the market it can be done,” says Anders Nebel Jørgensen, BMS Manager at Vitani.
The Danish company Vitani is active as a technology and service provider in security, energy management and building automation. “Our collaboration with Priva goes way back to the early 2000s,” says Anders Nebel Jørgensen. “We have been implementing Priva’s building automation tools at our customer’ sites for many years now. In 2018, they introduced us to Priva ECO, which uses Artificial Intelligence to control cooling and heating in buildings from the cloud. It was a real eye-opener for us.”
Long-time Priva partner
Since then, Priva ECO was successfully implemented at several of Vitani’s customers, including PostNord – the Danish postal company – and the Hessel Mercedes-Benz dealerships, along with a number of municipalities and schools. In each case, remarkable energy savings – up to 40% – were realized. “But we believe Priva ECO is about much more than just saving energy,” says Rasmus Pedersen, Director and Partner at Vitani Energy Systems. “It is an essential element in creating more sustainable and future-proof buildings that are ready for the energy transition.”
“Priva ECO is a perfect fit with the major trends we see today in building and energy management.”
Moving beyond energy savings
This makes Priva ECO a perfect fit with major trends in building and energy management. “Lately, we are noticing that energy savings are no longer top-of-mind for many forward-looking building owners. This should not come as a surprise. Distribution tariffs may have gone up, but the actual energy prices have been quite stable and even gone down in recent years,” says Anders Nebel Jørgensen.
“Building owners are now much more concerned with making their building future-proof in the light of the energy transition we are going through,” says Rasmus Pedersen. “Should we invest in heat pumps? How can we maximize the use of energy from our solar panels? Can we hook up electric cars to our building? How can we use our building to store energy? These are the questions they are asking themselves.”
When buildings become systems
Recent developments in energy policies and legislation – both national and European – are pointing them further in the same direction. Denmark has started to phase out fossil-based energy in favour of renewable energy, while energy markets are rapidly evolving towards flexible energy pricing, depending on the load in the electricity grid and the availability of wind and solar energy.
“The trouble with renewables is that we cannot expect them to produce energy when we need it,” explains Anders Nebel Jørgensen. “We cannot control the moment when windmills or solar panels will produce energy, and we cannot change when people are working either. The beauty of Priva ECO is that it enables to control these parameters and transform buildings into flexible energy systems that produce, use and store energy depending on the needs of end-users, the availability of renewables and fluctuations in energy prices.”
Vitani has the ambition to become a prime mover in this domain. “With Priva ECO, we have a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the energy transition in our country. But we also realize the technology is still quite new to facility managers and building owners and we need to build confidence in our solution,” says Rasmus Pedersen.
With a new initiative, co-funded by Danish Energy Research and Development Fund - ELFORSK, Vitani wants to accelerate adoption in the Danish market. “We are looking for ten large end-users who are willing to set up pilot projects to implement AI technology for monitoring and managing their energy usage in the energy flexible future. We hope to reach a total of 150.000 m2 of buildings, both public and private: offices, warehouses, commercial spaces, schools, municipalities, … At a rate of about 100 KWh energy usage per m2, we should be able to save 3 GWh.”
Lead by example
The initiative is co-funded by Vitani and Priva, with the aim to identify barriers and challenges. “Using the pilot projects as showcases, we will be able to create awareness in the market and inspire other building owners to follow the example. The first buildings are already up and running, which makes us confident we will reach our goals,” says Anders Nebel Jørgensen.