The sustainability observatory is a web-based accessible platform that allows a real-time monitoring of the energy consumption of several municipal equipment’s.
The initial stage of the Observatory began to be developed in March 2012 with the design and test-bed phase of the web-based platform, and then was publicly announced in 2014 during the European Week of Energy Sustainability.
At the end of this period, the platform became available to six associated municipalities of Energaia (regional energy agency) with the aim to support them in the management of energy consumption in buildings, fleets and street lighting, and monitoring the generated impacts of the energy efficiency measures.
Currently, the Observatory has been subjected to continuous improvement (new functions and technological improvements), since the objective is that this tool will also provide real-time consumption management, besides the monitoring procedures. This included the integration of smart metering equipment, the addition of new features related to real-time monitoring, and the implementation of training sessions addressed to municipal technicians, which will be the users and operators of the platform.
The Observatory platform is fundamentally based on the concept of sharing a common support platform for managing and monitoring energy consumption, promoted by Energaia with the strong support of its six associated municipalities, and intends to become a reference model for other municipalities allowing them to monitor the impact of sustainable energy measures and to motivate the continuous search for opportunities to improve territorial sustainability.
The human resources are ensured by Energaia (Regional Energy Agency) as the main technical and conceptual developer of the Observatory platform, while the funding resources were provided by the financial instrument ON.2 – O Novo Norte – North Portugal Regional Operational Programme.
Evidence of success
The energy cost savings achieved through the Sustainability Observatory platform, and the diversity of monitored municipal infrastructures and fleet vehicles reflect the success of this initiative:
- 5.500 buildings are monitored to optimize their consumption, reduce energy costs and integrate energy self-generation;
- More than 4.000 street lighting local networks are currently registered;
- The consumption of more than 1.000 municipal fleet vehicles is also controlled by the platform.
Potential for learning or transfer
According with the most recent EU energy policy guidelines, this good practice offers an innovative management tool that promotes the implementation of energy efficiency measures contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of the engaged territories, the integration of self-generation energy, the reduction of energy waste and costs, and the increase of the quality of the built environment.
Through the Sustainability Observatory management tool, a progressive implementation of EE measures is carried out, through the employment of new and innovative technologies that ensure a continuous monitoring of the energy consumption in municipal buildings and equipment’s, particularly in those where energy consumption is higher.
The perspective of an integrated management is already allowing the inclusion of new municipalities, and in a forward-looking perspective, this web-based platform expects to integrate also industries and SMEs, creating a Territorial Sustainability Platform.
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