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Information and Communication Technologies lead the way to energy efficiency in Europe

The European Commission has just held an event on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Energy Efficiency in Brussels. Several EU-funded research projects were showcased at the accompanying ICT for Energy Efficiency Exhibition and Award Ceremony.

Information and Communication Technologies can play a crucial role in achieving an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy. The European Commission has put ICT at the forefront of an energy revolution.

The European Commission has recommended that the ICT industry adopts bold energy-efficient targets by 2011, and has asked EU countries to use ICT-based solutions to improve energy efficiency.

‘We cannot meet Europe’s carbon reduction objectives without digital solutions,’ says Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda.

Using ICT in a smart way could help reduce energy consumption in buildings (by 17%), transport and logistics (by 27%), and save 15% in total carbon emissions by 2020. ICT can improve energy efficiency in several ways:

  • Monitoring and controlling energy used in, and produced by, buildings.
  • Optimizing energy and reducing carbon footprint in the logistics industries, in particular transportation and storage requirements.
  • Improving production efficiency control, energy distribution, and consumption through smart metering and smart grids. With smart meters in homes, for example, consumers could reduce their energy consumption by as much as 10%.
  • Helping consumers to understand better how much energy they consume, how much it costs, and how it varies during the day.
  • The rollout of broadband networks facilitating the increased use of online public services and applications could save at least 1–2% of total energy use worldwide by 2020.

The EU projects showcased at the High Level Event on ICT for Energy Efficiency include:

  • BeAware, coordinated by Helsinki University of Technology, is investigating how next-generation ICT can reduce energy use in households, by making consumers more aware of their own power consumption.
  • AIM is a novel architecture for modeling, virtualizing, and managing the energy consumption of household appliances. The project is coordinated by the European Institute for Research and Strategic Studies in Telecommunications GmbH (Eurescom GmbH).
  • HosPilot, coordinated by Philips Lighting in The Netherlands, is aimed at more efficient use of energy in hospitals.
  • SAVE ENERGY comprises five energy efficiency pilot projects in public buildings in five cities: Helsinki, Leiden, Lisbon, Luleå, and Manchester. Coordinated by Portuguese consultancy Alfamicro, it addresses the challenge of behavior transformation through the use of ICT.
  • LITES aims to demonstrate that intelligent street lighting using LEDs dramatically reduces energy consumption in four real-life experiments. It is coordinated by the French firm VEADES.
  • AmI-MoSES, coordinated by ATB Institut für Angewandte Systemtechnik Bremen GmbH, addresses the challenge of boosting energy efficiency by introducing Ambient Intelligence (AmI) aspects into energy consumption monitoring in manufacturing SMEs.
  • IntUBE addresses the challenges of increasing energy efficiency in buildings throughout their life-cycle, without compromising comfort and performance. It is coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
  • REEB, coordinated by the French Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB), focuses on improving energy efficiency in buildings – houses, residential buildings, large infrastructures such as harbors or airports, and facilities like tunnels – through innovative ICT solutions.
  • SmartHouse/SmartGrid is about ‘smart’ houses interacting with Smart Grids, to achieve next-generation energy efficiency and sustainability. It is coordinated by the SAP AG Research Center Karlsruhe in Germany.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Green building  •  Policy, investment and markets