Can cities evolve to become more efficient, liveable, and sustainable? It’s now a global imperative that we begin meeting this challenge. In less than 40 years, 70 percent of the world’s population will reside in our cities, putting massive pressure on urban infrastructures. lssyGrid® gives us a promising glimpse of a far more energy-efficient future.
Located in the city of Issy-Les-Moulineaux, southwest of Paris, IssyGrid is France’s first smart district initiative. The five-year project was launched in 2011 to act as a living laboratory, demonstrating how energy consumption peaks can be smoothed across an eco-neighborhood of participating energy users. IssyGrid is already proving that intelligent management of energy resources can benefit landlords, building managers, and renters.
Tapping the value of each building’s energy assets
Schneider Electric™ and seven other major solution partners are working with local government, institutions, and energy providers to build a system that manages all local generation and consumption assets, as well as helping define avenues for energy optimisation. Initially covering the needs of nearly 10,000 people in a 1,722,000 square foot area in the Seine Ouest business district, the project will soon include nearby residential buildings.
Schneider Electric is implementing an energy flexibility management solution, encompassing some of Issy’s highest-profile commercial buildings. The solution integrates energy metering and management across all loads, building management systems, renewable generation resources like rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, and electrical energy storage systems (EESS). Each building exchanges data with a cloud-based platform hosted by Schneider Electric, which is, in turn, shared over industry-standard OpenADR 2.0b with the district-level aggregator.
Intelligent algorithms help each facility manager analyze projected load profiles and optimise their building’s energy consumption in response to the district’s forecasted energy costs.
Early successes, big savings
In addition to being one of the solution partners in IssyGrid, the Bouygues Telecom global headquarters was also one of the first buildings to take part in the project. Consuming a total average power of 700 kW, 500 kW of that is due to the cooling system’s chiller load. Another 26 kW supplies electric vehicle chargers, featuring EVlink™ technology from Schneider Electric that allows charging to be actively scheduled. The building also operates as an energy “prosumer” (producer + consumer) with solar panels providing local energy generation capacity of up to 26 kW.
The chiller uses an ice storage system that represents significant energy flexibility. Ice is produced when the variable price of energy from the grid is lower or the supply mix is “greener”, and then used to supply the chiller when the price rises. A typical event will effectively reduce almost 400 kW of load on the grid, with no effect on building comfort. Early results from this smart cooling strategy are indicating that such incentives can reach a total of between 3k to 11k $ per year for a 108,000 square foot building.
Direct and indirect ROI
As more buildings are smart grid-enabled, the IssyGrid project will continue to confirm the value of energy suppliers and consumers working together, using technologies that optimise energy production and use on both sides of the meter.
If a building has a generally efficient design, and allows for a wide range of flexible and controllable energy resources, the payback can be considerable. With an initial CapEx investment of approximately 13k $ for the equipment to enable each building for smart district participation, a business could realise a return on investment in OpEx savings within three years. This is possible while still operating within realistic constraints of rental rates and comfort.
And there are spin-off benefits. A building’s reduced carbon footprint and improved energy efficiency can help attract investors and occupants, while cities sponsoring smart district programs can experience a more secure power network and a “green” image that will attract new business and motivate building owners to participate in smart grid programs.