The team at Key were invited to lead a bid for Horizon 2020’s call for proposals to upgrade the smartness of existing buildings through innovations for legacy equipment. This project forms a core part of the EU’s drive towards a low-carbon, climate resilient future and aims to address the specific challenges of retro-fitting smart technology into Europe’s diverse and ageing building stock.
Building a world class partner group
Lead by Key’s CIO, Gordon Mitchell, a group of world leading partners was assembled from across Europe. All of the partners brought unique experience and skills to the consortia and collaborated in designing the solution and preparing the detailed proposals, work packages and financials required for the Horizon2020 bid. The group, called ATHENA, submitted the bid in September 2020 and expects a decision in Q1 2021.
The consortia includes:
– Key Facilities Management (UK)
– LHF Facilities Management (The Netherlands)
– MIPU Predictive AI (Italy)
– The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre at Edinburgh Napier University (UK)
– The Institute for Research and Technological Development in Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability (Portugal)
– The Institute of Facility Management at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland)
– Inspiring Software Industrial Automation (Italy)
– CarbonQuota (UK))
– PHI Factory (The Netherlands)
– The Municipality of Eilat (Israel)
ATHENA’s proposal enjoys pan-European support and a World Leading Expert Advisory Board
The ATHENA proposal is also supported by Facility Management Associations from across Europe including: Poland, The Netherlands, Croatia, Portugal, Bulgaria, Hungary, UK, Italy and Romania as well as Euro FM. Additional support for ATHENA has been gained from the Innovation Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems (CENSIS), The DataLab at the University of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise.
ATHENA’s Advisory Board is made up of world leading experts in the built environment, including Salla Palos from Microsoft’s Centre of Innovation for Global Real Estate and Security, Brian Atkin of Atkin Research & Development, Dr Ashwini Konanahalli from University of the West of Scotland, Fred Kloet at Smart Workplace International and Duncan Waddell who heads up FM Intelligence.
Pilot Sites for ATHENA’s Proposed Solution
If successful, the ATHENA will be deployed at various pilot sites around Europe. These demonstration sites will be mobilised with ATHENA’s smart technology solutions and the effectiveness monitored and optimised during the 3 year Horizon program. The partners will therefore be able to fully assess and develop a comprehensive go to market strategy for onward commercialisation and dissemination of the results to the wider community. The Pilot sites include a large hospital, a corporate office, a University campus, a local government building, a junior school and a mixed use building.
These diverse facilities will provide ideal test beds to assess the impact of ATHENA’s solution.
The core challenge
An essential part of Europe’s clean energy transition is the changing role of buildings from consuming energy to actively controlling and optimising indoor environment while contributing to energy system flexibility by ensuring distributed energy generation from renewable energy sources, energy storage, facilitate smart charging of electric vehicles, smart metering, load reduction through energy efficiency and load shifting through demand response. Innovative technologies will enable smart buildings to interact with their occupants and the grid in real time and to manage themselves efficiently, so as to become an active element of the energy system. Intelligent and connected devices, smart sensors and controllers, supported by the development of new business models for new energy services, will create new opportunities for energy consumers.
Today, the existing building stock represents the main challenge for a more efficient energy use, in buildings as well as across the whole energy system. The smart readiness of buildings may evolve faster for devices and systems easily replaced and installed, than for other parts of the building’s equipment such as HVAC and DHW systems due to higher costs of replacement, longer lifecycles and difficulties related to integration in buildings. This installed equipment remains highly relevant for buildings interactions with the energy system, making its upgrade to higher levels of smartness an essential step. The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive introduces a Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) to reflect the level of services offered by a smart building. Once established, this indicator will give a framework to assess the smart readiness of buildings and building units to adapt operation to the needs of the occupant and the grid and to improve energy efficiency and overall performance.
ATHENA’s proposed solution
For Europe to be able to transition to a sustainable and low carbon economy, it is essential that the energy consumption of existing buildings is reduced. ATHENA addresses the core reasons why the retro-fitting of smart technology in existing buildings has not been widely adopted in Europe.
The ATHENA solution extends the useful life of building assets, reduces maintenance costs, improves the utilisation of space, cuts energy consumption and transforms the use of space, wellbeing, and productivity of building occupants. ATHENA is ideally placed to capitalise on the increasing demand for healthier, safer and more productive buildings in the post Covid-19 era.
ATHENA partners will install, monitor and optimise the performance of the buildings in 6 demo sites, including a hospital, a school, an office and a public sector portfolio. These sites have been carefully selected to represent ideal test sites for the ATHENA solution as they range in building use, location (and therefore climatic conditions) and present a range of specific challenges to adoption. The data from ATHENA’s demo sites will be disseminated to help policy makers, energy and tech providers, academics to transform the impact of the built environment in Europe and worldwide.
Our solution combines open access to an accredited marketplace of smart devices, a practical implementation of the Smart Readiness Indicator with advanced data insights and actionable intelligence necessary to effect ongoing optimisation of the built environment. Also, ATHENA leverages the delivery capability of the European facility management sector to deploy the solution into buildings.
ATHENA partners, from 6 European countries, present world leading expertise in transforming the smartness of buildings, namely in the area of facility management, smart technology development, advanced data science and energy, reduction of carbon and greenhouse emissions and market intelligence and business applications on an international scale.
If you would like to know more about ATHENA or are responsible for digital transformation or operate building(s) that you would like to upgrade, please book an initial call at https://keystone-wx.com/demo/
To contribute to the discussion about upgrading the smartness of existing buildings, please join our LinkedIn group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8983006/
How you contribute: You provide plastic recycling facilities for your building’s occupants.
How you can expand your contribution: Talk to your suppliers. Choose suppliers who make an effort to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they use and who take back plastic goods, such as toner cartridges, at the end of their useful life.
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
How you contribute: You provide paper recycling facilities for your building’s occupants.
How you can expand your contribution: Take a look at your building’s landscaping. Does it incorporate native vegetation and provide habitat for native species? If not, consider making some changes. If your building doesn’t have landscaping, consider making a monetary or service contribution to an organisation that promotes off-site native vegetation and habitat.
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
How you contribute: You partner with your building’s owners to create a safe and healthy indoor environment.
How you can expand your contribution: We may have mentioned this before (!)… talk to your suppliers. They rely on your business, so they should be responsive to your requests for their participation in advancing these goals. Also talk to your building’s occupants; make sure the services you provide are meeting their needs and solicit their input on improving and expanding those services.
Looking at this list, it is clear that much of what you do contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and helps address climate change. As a facilities manager, you can make a major contribution to sustainability by operating your building efficiently and by engaging with your community and your suppliers to find new and better ways of doing what you do every day.
2030 is fast approaching, so Keystone would love to have a chat with you about how we can help you help your business contribute to achieving the UNSDGs. Get in touch today.