Technopolis Otaniemi campus
Technopolis Otaniemi campus. (Credit: Flickr @ Techno Polis

VTT, a research institute in Espoo, Finland, and Samsung C&T Corporation are developing remote management technology and services for buildings in the Otaniemi campus area. The goal of the pilot project is to demonstrate that 15% energy savings in buildings can be achieved using the new technology.

The pilot project consists of a hundred buildings, collecting measurement data on energy consumption and indoor conditions from approximately 10,000 data points.

“Our goal seems within reach. The project is now half completed, with several locations already averaging 15% energy savings, though it still needs another few years of follow-up to confirm the system’s effectiveness,” says Janne Peltonen, a senior scientist working on the project.

VTT has built a monitoring system in the Otaniemi campus area, collecting data on electricity, heat and water consumption of buildings, and on the temperatures, carbon dioxide concentrations, humidity, lighting intensity and electrical loads in the facilities. The campus community is an excellent living-lab environment for the research.

The measurement data is transferred in real time from approximately 10,000 data points to the on-campus VTT and Korea Telecom remote management system. One hundred buildings are being monitored, ten of which are pilot sites in which the measurement focus is on indoor conditions and energy savings in buildings.

Daily monitoring of the building allows for quick intervention in problem areas. The timing of energy-intensive ventilation equipment, for example, can in future be changed according to the number of people using the facilities at any given time.

The monitoring system changes the measurement data into information that employees in the office buildings and student housing residents can follow by means of mobile applications developed by VTT, KETI and Samsung. These applications provide information on indoor conditions, and also serve as a channel for feedback to property maintenance companies and owners.

The project is furthest advanced in the student residences at Otaranta 8, where the mobile applications are in use. Residents can follow electricity consumption and indoor air conditions, receiving information on their use of household appliances, for example. Increased knowledge and use of monitoring technology has resulted in electricity consumption being cut in half at some locations.

The project started a year ago and ends in June 2014. VTT and Samsung are presently planning a follow-up project. In addition to energy savings, the goal is to improve indoor conditions and activate users to take independent initiative in achieving energy savings in buildings.

Export opportunities open up for the products and services of Finnish companies in the Korea Micro Energy Grid network, in which VTT participates as a member. “We are bringing Finnish small and medium-size companies together in an export ring to find suitable partners in South Korea,” says Peltonen.

An estimated 15−20% unused energy savings potential is thought to exist in the building stock owned by Finnish municipalities. According to Janne Peltonen, the collaboration with Samsung offers VTT and Finland an opportunity to transfer the latest real estate technology to Finland.