All were in agreement on this topic: Integrated planning, building and operation leads to a holistic consideration of buildings and districts and thus to practicable, cost and energy-efficient solutions. But that is in no way the reality of everyday planning yet. That is why there are various approaches for supporting and optimising these processes in the Energiewendebauen research initiative. Specifically, the concepts and measures that help improve user comfort, functionality and sustainability, as well as economic efficiency, must be determined. Besides this, work is underway on modern design tools, which support integrated planning processes.
Under the main topic “Integrated planning, building and operating”, over 120 researchers came together in Lüneburg for the 2nd Energiewendebauen Project Manager Meeting on 22 and 23 May 2017. The conference was held in the recently opened main building of Leuphana University, whose striking design bears the signature of architect Daniel Libeskind. Ideas and concepts from research and design practice were presented in keynote speeches. Five simultaneous workshops went into greater detail on these ideas for individual priority areas.
A report on the event by Uwe Friedrich and Johannes Lang
The introductory presentation was a practical appeal for integrated design and building. Jan Oliver Weisel from Dr. Schönheit + Partner Engineering succeeded in showing that the principle of integrated design is not just a slogan, but an important criterion for success of building projects, especially in times of concentrated specialisation and networking, using the example of industrial buildings. He explained that it simplifies processes and minimises costs. According to Weisel, it also entails opportunities to identify and use the potential for energy efficiency and natural resources conservation. Private building developers often do not focus on energy aspects. Weisel described the tasks and responsibilities architects and project controllers have as integrators in the design and building process: With their superordinate specialist expertise, they incorporate all stakeholders in the overall process – from building services equipment engineers and construction physicists to building developers, with their binding specifications. The integrators serve as guides through the jungle of the various design and construction phases and synchronise the individual topics, activities and speeds.
Quality assurance through technical monitoring and commissioning management
Commissioning management for a prestigious project
Samuel Rischmüller and Maik Wussler from SIZ energie+ presented the commissioning management for the main building of Leuphana University. The project started from a difficult initial situation. Some target definitions and user requirements were documented incompletely or not legally watertight. While trial operations were formally tendered, the procedures, scope and contents were not defined. However, completed commissioning (in accordance with the German Official Scale of Fees for Services by Architects and Engineers (HOAI) and the German Construction Contract Procedures (VOB)) is a requirement for subsequent trial operation. For the main building, this included inspections on a random basis and assessment and evaluation of building services equipment installer reports. This allowed the existing measurement and monitoring concept to be updated. Workshops with specialist planners, installers, the building developer Leuphana and the project controller played an important role in answering open questions from the design process. At the same time, the stakeholders coordinated the remaining procedure for commissioning and acceptance. There will be two years of intensive technical monitoring for the main building in Lüneburg, which will start soon.
Scientific support for the operation of the main building resulted in important findings, which influenced VDI Standard 6039 “Managing of building commissioning”. The standard explains the corresponding methods and planning steps for building services equipment. Monitoring and commissioning concepts should be integrated in the building process at a very early stage, and therefore become an essential part of the technical specifications of designers and installers.
Planning and control of decentralised energy systems in buildings
Building energy systems are becoming increasingly complex. Therefore it is no longer sufficient to only optimise these once already installed plants have begun operating. The systems need to be designed with a view to optimum operation already during the planning and project development stages. Modern system models, software and information technologies offer new possibilities here. In the WaveSave research project, coordinated planning and optimisation tools for building energy systems are being developed for supplying decentralised electricity and heating: a modular system for project planning and an adaptive operation management system. Appropriate planning and control techniques are aimed at optimally coordinating the various energy system components for later operation. In addition, the researchers want to provide new management solutions for integrating and controlling decentralised energy systems in the building automation.
Dr Armin Wolf from Fraunhofer FOKUS and Prof. Dr Christoph Nytsch-Geusen from Berlin University of Arts described the specific application options: The benefits and versatility of the WaveSave system have been demonstrated in a variety of application scenarios, including the load optimisation of a heat pump heating system. In addition, trials are being carried out on real buildings, for example using the energy supply systems for an energy-plus school and a prototype solar building, the Rooftop solar house from the UdK Berlin. It was built for the international Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 competition. For this purpose the system will be adapted and evaluated in trial operation.
Building refurbishment becomes a business model
In a research project to implement energy refurbishment concepts in existing non-residential buildings, KEA Klimaschutz- und Energieagentur Baden-Württemberg is currently working on developing energy services, right up to adapted business models. Project Manager Rüdiger Lohse first described the barriers which must be overcome in building refurbishment, and what measures are suitable for increasing energy efficiency. The EDLIG research project could offer a potential solution. Integrated renovation of public buildings was analysed in 26 case studies – for KPI achievement and specific investment costs, as well as under cost-benefit aspects and deviation from the planned targets.
The business and financing models used in the case studies were assessed for the key success criterion of savings investment for the first time, using the Canvas company analysis method. This called for a model-based conversion of known business models, like system contracting from building services equipment for renovation of the building envelope. Modelling comprehensive integrated renovation concepts was then the next development step. This was based on five representative building types in the existing building stock. The Ludwig Frank student accommodation in Mannheim served as the demonstration model. The Students’ Union uses the “DER savings contracting” financing model to pay the contractor from the cost savings.
Determining the minimum costs in preliminary planning
Dr Reinhard Jank from Volkswohnung GmbH in Karlsruhe then presented the DEROM (Deep Energy Retrofit Optimization Model) tool as a design tool for energy optimisation in the preliminary planning phase. The tool’s strengths are primarily in calculating minimum costs for complex renovation measures. Integrating DEROM in the planning process not only allows project-specific corrections to be financed and implemented, it also allows the structures of renovation variants to be compared and the optimal costs and energy levels to be determined. DEROM was already developed as part of renovating the Karlsruhe Rintheim-West district, and used for demand-side optimisation.
Workshops with keynote presentations
The Project Manager Meeting focused on providing more detail on the content of the five main topics in parallel workshops. Each of the debates was opened with keynote speeches:
1. Integrated planning, building and operation: the human factor
In technology-oriented research and development, technical systems are generally considered isolated from social systems. However, in reality, people interact with technology and create rules for this. That is why, in addition to new technologies themselves, introductions to their use and integration in market conditions are needed. Humans influence the efficiency of a building with their investment decisions and their behaviour. Planning and investment decisions are not based exclusively on technical quality and the costs of purchasing and operation. Added to this are other economic factors, such as information costs, risk costs, externalities and shared incentives between tenants and owners. In addition to this, influence parameters like environmental awareness, experience and the social environment also play a major role.
Interest conflicts as barriers
The workshop was an opportunity to talk about the various non-technical influencing factors that become barriers within the projects, are success factors or add value. In a brief introduction, Prof. Dirk Müller, from the E.ON ERC Institute at RWTH Aachen, named the different stakeholders that interact with technology as the human factor: investors, owners, operators, users and district residents. The owner-user dilemma is the best known area of conflict. The operator-user conflict and the performance gap are also relevant. The operator-user conflict is that the operator aims to save costs and energy, while the user does not accept any restrictions. For example, this problem occurs in school buildings. The performance gap refers to the difference between the calculated and measured energy savings.
User comfort versus energy efficiency?
In his keynote speech, Marcel Schweiker from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) presented initial results from the ValMoNul research project. It examines the interactions between thermal and visual comfort. The research is being carried out in the Laboratory for Occupant Behaviour, Satisfaction, Thermal Comfort and Environmental Research at KIT (LOBSTER). It is a rotating cube, whose surfaces can be set to individual temperatures and whose windows can all be opened. The external and internal temperature and its influence on user behaviour can be determined separately. According to Schweiker, it had to be possible to open the windows, as otherwise the user satisfaction would decrease so much that other influencing factors could no longer be examined. The tests have been underway for a year, with roughly 50 test subjects to date. Only the behaviour in the office is considered. There is no dress code. The test subjects can set temperatures between 19 and 25 degrees Celsius, and use both internal and external solar shading. Comprehensive measurement technology was used to validate the survey results. The preliminary conclusion of the study is that visual and thermal factors influence one another and must be considered together. This result is to be provided to the building designers.
Mark Wesseling from the E.ON ERC Institute at RWTH Aachen supplemented this with further results from the ValMoNul project. They also focus on the conflict between user comfort and energy efficiency. A system that detects the presence of the user and assigns a user type to them is to be developed. Based on the user type, comfort is maximised automatically with feedback from the system to the user.
User satisfaction and feedback systems
The subsequent discussion is on the benefits of technologies and feedback systems. Given the significant interventions of users in technology, the question is whether this technology may not be desired or required. Wesseling indicated that there is uncertainty on whether conclusions on actual user dissatisfaction can be drawn from user interventions. There was a report on a project which responds to complaints from employees and the technology was then explained. The conditions in the new buildings involved were also compared with those in other buildings. This information contributed to user satisfaction.
The following theories were presented:
- Self-determination is important for the user. What the intervention option actually is, is secondary.
- Many user interventions are done from habit, i.e. are learned socially.
- Feedback systems give users the opportunity to change their habits with self-determination.
- It is important that these systems work reliably, or else the user will quickly stop trusting them.
- Training courses and feedback systems are not mutually exclusive.
2. Heating network-based concepts and integrated planning
The workshop focused on integrated planning and implementation of heating network-based concepts. In the introductory keynote presentation, Carsten Beier, Fraunhofer UMSICHT, presented the connection between integrated planning and heating network-based concepts and emphasised how high the requirements of such concepts for integration of stakeholders and coordination of their goals and interests are. The many supply objects, efficiency measures and supply variants that can be combined with one another result in a complex design task: The best concepts that promise most success and are implementable from the point of view of the stakeholders involved would have to be selected from the many solution options. The quality of the results depends significantly on the data available. Suitable design aids can support this integrated design process. The complexity of heating network-based concepts in urban districts contrasted with a multitude of potential. With heating networks, renewable energy sources are easier to integrate in the electricity and heat sector. Centralisation of the heat supply means that larger energy provision and storage plants can be used. That increases the economic efficiency of the investment and subsequent measures to optimise operations. In addition to this, the systems can be used better to solve problems in the superordinate energy system.
Assessment of district concepts
The assessment criteria were discussed first: Economic efficiency is an important criterion for assessing district concepts. However, on the one hand, the unclear future economic and legal framework conditions are a major problem for assessment. On the other hand, the criterion of economic efficiency is often determined by individual points of view. In other words: What does not appear economically acceptable for one person, may make economic sense to others. Other important criteria like financial feasibility and financing risks, the energy quality and ecological aspects should also be considered.
An evaluation of concepts based on the primary energy demand, the final energy requirements or the resulting CO2 emissions will not be sufficient in future, according to the participants. For energy provision with a high percentage of renewable energy sources and volatile electricity generation, other problems and parameters are becoming increasingly significant. The decentralisation of the energy system also leads to other system properties and a different system behaviour. In future, the system benefit and system load will be the determining factors for the quality of a solution. To guarantee an economical and secure energy provision, it is therefore necessary to incorporate corresponding criteria like grid load, energy balancing or controllability of systems in the assessment of supply concepts. It was suggested in the discussion that assessing grid-friendliness could also be interesting for heating networks. In spite of the technical necessity, there would still appear to be too few economic incentives.
Integrated planning as a success factor
Heating network-based concepts will be an important basis for the renovation of the existing buildings in future. By contrast to power grid, heating networks offer a range of cost-effective storage options, and therefore have great potential for sector coupling of electricity and heat supply. In addition to this, mobility concepts could be integrated better. However, the problem with new construction development areas is that heating network use must already be defined when the development plan is produced, but economically efficient use cannot be proven at this time. As heat requirements decrease, the use of low-exergy networks with low temperatures and integration of industrial waste heat are important solutions.
3. Operating buildings and districts from the point of view of energy provision
The participants in this workshop primarily focused on questions in relation to the power grids. A first block of topics focused on buildings and optimising plant operation. The second block of topics concentrated on the district level, with a view to potential for feeding renewable energy sources and demand-side management (DSM) as a load control concept. The objective of the exchange was to develop new ideas and perspectives for future business models for municipal utilities and energy supply companies. The following questions were debated:
- Should grid neutrality, grid-friendliness or even autonomy be the target?
- Does it make sense to combine heat and electricity?
- Should renewable energy sources or industrial waste heat be integrated to an increasing extent in the urban space?
- Can users be integrated with tenant electricity models?
- How great is the influence of the EEG levy and other legal framework conditions?
Operating Power-to-Heat plants with economic efficiency
In his keynote speech, David Schröder from TU Berlin assessed the use of Power-To-Heat and Power-To-Gas in district concepts in north-eastern Germany. He then presented the implementation in a pilot project in the commercial and scientific district of Berlin-Adlershof. He sees the existing supply gap in the heating sector as the motivation for the P2X@BerlinAdlershof research project. This project is developing operating concepts and design aids for Power-to-Heat and Power-to-Gas technologies. Embedded in a district concept, the existing Power-to-Heat plant in Berlin-Adlershof is to be used to demonstrate how renewable surplus electricity can be integrated into the heat market technically and organisationally. In the long term, power-to-X plants should be able to act as buyers in the electricity market and absorb electricity at times with high renewable input. However, taxes and levies on the electricity consumption make this sector coupling currently economically unattractive.
The subsequent discussion focused on the benefit of Power-to-Heat and determining the balancing areas for a systematic assessment. Most of the participants accepted the building as the smallest unit for this. That led to the fundamental question of whether a uniform description of electricity and heat is necessary. However, the balancing group from the energy industry offers a standardised process. There is nothing comparable for the heating sector. There is no process of evaluation for intelligent coupling of electricity and heat. CO2 emissions were mentioned as a possible variable for assessing the two sectors. In any case, Power-to-X plants should be used more specifically to achieve synergies between the provision of electricity and the provision of heat.
Neutral energy-plus district Landshut
Another keynote presentation by Dr Volker Stockinger, Munich University of Applied Sciences, highlighted the principle of seasonal control of buildings and districts based on initial findings from the Neutral Energy+ District research project. The objectives of the research project are electricity neutrality and the decoupling of generation and consumption. For this purpose, hybrid heat generation was developed with seasonal control, integrating ongoing optimisation of operations and incorporating the users. In this context, network neutrality means maximising own coverage and thus reducing surplus infeed and power purchases.
Based on the presentation, the main questions of the workshop were discussed again. It became clear that the different interests of the various stakeholders are a key barrier to systematic assessment of the provision of power and heat. A single variable for all balancing areas, which can be converted for higher levels like districts, would be ideal. Also: The building or district energy concept is intended to decrease the complexity of the individual assessment and balancing methods and therefore be understandable and traceable for all stakeholders and the broader spectrum of the professional public.
4. Integrated planning, building and operating with digital planning methods
Can digital tools and methods spur on integrated planning? In principle, yes, there is widespread consensus on that. In the age of three-dimensional building models, comprehensive databases, collaboration software, universal exchange formats and web platforms, there are actually enough approaches to organise planning, building and operating, and dovetail them across the various phases.
With a view to the traditional role of architects, it becomes clear that integrated planning can only be successful if designers who think in integrated terms are involved in the planning activities. They must be equally aware of the analogue world and of the digital dimension of planning. Architects are to take on this role and moderate the interdisciplinary communication in the project team.
Designing digital complexity – but without complications please
Tools that make it possible to map complexity are required – without being excessively complicated. Building information modeling (BIM) is a comprehensive approach. It is now often mentioned in the debates, but is seldom used.
BIM facilitates planning, construction and operation of buildings via the production and use of intelligent 3D models – based on a consistent digital building model accessible to all, that can gradually be enriched with information by all stakeholders as part of the planning process.
The digital information gap between planning and operation
In general, high potential for value added is only created if the gap between digital planning and digital operation is closed. Currently, no continuous flow of data can be guaranteed, as there are no uniform standards. Standardised definitions and classifications of characteristics, as well as open standards for automation and function descriptions are important for this. Participants in the workshop recommend a gradual transformation to prevent overworking the designers and stakeholders involved. It is important in this to clarify where the data ends up after completion of the project, how this data is attributed and can be processed further.
The cost pressure in the construction industry is a major problem. Also: It is not so easy to assign IT-specific tasks to the individual project stakeholders. To digitise the value chains, project-specific roles must be defined in general and digital quality processes must be distributed to specialists. Due to the granularity and fragmentation of the construction industry, digital planning processes that strive for integration can only be stipulated by legislators or building developers. Public sector building developers are increasingly putting this into practice.
The opportunities and risks of digital planning methods
The following can be summarised as the main results of the debates in the workshop:
1. Integrated planning
Digitisation can help find a common language for integrated planning. However, integrated planning remains a major challenge, as structural and economic aspects play a major role. Planning is not primarily a design-driven process. Instead, architects can become moderators in a complex process.
2. Complexity and tools
Which solutions from information technology are appropriate to manage and organise the diversity of information? Is that not using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? The complexity is often too much for the planning stakeholders. Affordability, operability, education and qualification and quality assurance are important, as are specific user interfaces.
How must data be organised to map and manage the complexity? The neutral data exchange format IFC is often seen as a hold-all container. On the contrary, data handover points must be defined for planning, execution and operation, as well as the information that is actually relevant. And it does not necessarily have to be transported in this data format.
There are not enough interdisciplinary databases. Digital planning is less the use of a 3D CAD tool, but rather the networked and structured organisation of information. Proprietary data formats prevent exchange, networking and cooperation.
5. Standardisation & classification
Unfortunately, manufacturer and product data is only available spread over a variety of platforms from various providers. In addition to this, they do not follow a uniform naming logic, which makes cooperation in integrated planning far harder. The lack of data standardisation, i.e. the data structure is therefore the core problem.
6. Value chain
What impact does digital planning have? The planning – building – operation value chain is the key. Digital planning and building is only worthwhile if the entire value chain can be used digitally.
Digitisation offers new opportunities for quality assurance, which are far from fully utilised. At the same time, reliable on-time delivery, cost security etc. benefit. For example, a technical building inspectorate that could measure the performance of buildings in real operation would be conceivable, to replace the demand-oriented mathematically-calculated energy performance certificates.
Due to the associated advantages, digital planning and building should be rewarded, to permit the value chain to be created in the first place. Questions of liability must also be re-examined in the digital environment. It is important to find a balance here.
5. Monitoring and optimisation of operations as a component of integrated planning?
Building monitoring is often cost-intensive when it is not incorporated and installed until after the fact. As a result, it makes sense to involve the monitoring team at an early stage in the planning process. This was the conclusion reached by the participants of the workshop, which discussed experience with integrating monitoring teams and monitoring systems in the design workflow. The goal was to derive specific recommendations for action for other projects.
For successful integration of monitoring into building planning, Johann Reiß from Fraunhofer IBP suggested an eleven step procedure, see below. This is based on experience in the Kinderhaus Höhenkirchen-Siegertsbrunn model project. Scientific monitoring there is intended to help more closely examine how the innovative components and systems interact and to record the building performance more precisely. The building already succeeded in achieving a positive energy-plus balance in its first year of operation.
Additional items were added to the proposal during the discussion. For example, data protection must be incorporated at an early stage when recording and transmitting the measurement data. If there are obstacles such as user objections to recording of some data, they must be solved in good time or the measurement planning must be adapted accordingly. The workshop participants indicated that early involvement of the monitoring team in planning is important. The Monitoring guideline developed by the scientific support research provided by Energiewendebauen can serve as an important aid for this. However, there was also a report that economic factors often impose limits on building monitoring. In the construction phase, errors increasingly occur when implementing the measurement technology.
Planning monitoring early – 11 steps to success
Procedure for successful integration of monitoring in building planning in eleven steps. Based on Johann Reiß, Fraunhofer IBP:
1. Preliminary design
The monitoring planner explains the energy concept and the rough measurement concept to the building and system designers. For example, in this phase, the electrical engineer responsible for planning can still easily adapt the circuit diagrams in accordance with the requirements of the measurement technology.
2. Construction documentation
The monitoring designer enters the sensors in the floor plans, the system designer and the architect transfer this data.
3. Construction documentation
The monitoring designer compiles the entire measurement design in a single document. This includes a sensor list and the installation location of all sensors.
All designers incorporate the requirements of the measurement program in their tender documents. For Kinderhaus Höhenkirchen-Siegertsbrunn, monitoring was given its own number in building automation. The designers describe all sensors in detail in these documents. The system designer generally needs assistance from the monitoring designer for this to define and/or describe the sensors.
The ducts needed for monitoring must be specified in the tender documents.
The tender documents must specify how data is to be transmitted, e.g. as remote access via a server/client-based software.
The sensors are installed as part of system installation.
8. Commissioning and one to two years of monitoring
Data is recorded via building services management systems.
9. Commissioning and one to two years of monitoring
10. Commissioning and one to two years of monitoring
Data import into a database
11. Commissioning and one to two years of monitoring
Analysis and evaluation, e.g. with specialised programs like MoniSoft, MS Excel or Origin.
The second part of the workshop covered experience with operational monitoring. In a short presentation, Dr Stefan Plesser from TU Braunschweig discussed survey results from the Energy Optimisation of Operations research focus on what was optimised in many model projects via operational monitoring. One encouraging result was that the payback period of measures for optimisation of operations is short. Many of the measures implemented already paid off in the first 2-3 years, and most within ten years. On the other hand, the time between identification of such measures and their implementation is often very long – up to two years.
Mr Plesser made the following suggestions and improvement proposals for simplifying operational monitoring: In particular, precise definitions are required in operational monitoring: Which areas are monitored, and how? What can and must be optimised? Tenders and service expectations must also be specified: Who is responsible for what, who has responsibility for implementing the optimisation measures?
The workshop participants focused in particular on the service expectations in the discussion. Once again, they confirmed the experience that responsibilities were unclear and the HVAC designers involved were often unable to perform planning for the building management system (BMS). In addition, cooperation with local building management is necessary for successful operational monitoring and implementation of optimisation measures. Building owners are also often unaware of how important building services management systems are for optimisation of operations.