The goal of the Virpa B project has been to explore how a building’s energy efficiency can be improved by anticipating fluctuations in energy consumption and utilising power produced on site.
The Virpa B project, which started in 2016, is linked to megatrends in building service technologies such as tightening emission reductions and energy efficiency requirements, increasing the number of technological solutions used in buildings, and the impact of digitalisation and IoT on the entire industry.
The basic idea behind Virpa B has been to create buildings that respond to demand: how to make some buildings adjustable so that they can express the extent to which energy consumption can be adjusted up and down over a certain period of time.
Data gathered from buildings can also include information about their energy production and external equipment, such as electric cars. The buildings are connected via the Internet into a large virtual balancing power unit. The capacity generated can be sold to the balancing power market, for example.
Essential questions about producing balancing power and studying the economic benefits of balancing power have been:
The Virpa B project has been piloted in commercial properties: the S Group’s supermarkets in Oulu, one of which is equipped with devices such as a large number solar collectors, had the goal of achieving energy self-sufficiency for a large part of the year.
The areas with the most potential for applying balancing power management in the properties have been cold chain, heating, tap water, lighting and ventilation. Management models have been developed to achieve the best possible economic results without compromising the functionality and structures of the property.
There have been a total of 10 partners in the project and two research partners.
Virpa B: Online balancing power business: renewable energy, integrated energy production and balancing power
Pilot sites: Arinan Kiinteistöt Oy, S-market in Tuira and S-Market in Kello
Project period: 2016–17
Budget: EUR 2.5 million
The Virpa A project has focused on the development of building service technology and its integration into a single service environment that can be managed online through cloud computing.
Virpa B has studied how a building’s energy efficiency can be improved by anticipating fluctuations in consumption and by using self-produced energy.
Virpa C combines the expertise in construction, real estate management, energy, ICT and service business of a total of 15 companies and five research units.
Real estate business is going through a change: buildings and facilities are turning into service providers’ distribution platforms, from which users can select the services that are relevant to them.