Sustainable energy-use guide: Ask, observe and enable learning learn

Sustainable energy-use guide: Ask, observe and enable learning learn

Schneider Electric’s energy management training programs received media visibility in Finland and the rest of Europe last year. The company’s Energy University, a free online educational program designed to enhance knowledge of sustainability and energy efficiency, achieved first place in the Learning Category for the 2014 Sustainable Energy Europe (SEE) Award. The game-like LEARNergy program targeting upper comprehensive school students on show at the Heureka Science Centre, again, attracted attention domestically. It has been developed as part of the RYM Oy Indoor Environment Program.

Schneider Electric Finland Oy has led the ”Energy Efficient Control of Indoor Environment” work package of the above program. It has focused e.g. on the measurement of user experience and exploitation of the results in the development of property maintenance tasks and teaching of use habits that support sustainable use. Lauri Heikkinen, Director of Energy Management Services at Schneider, believes the program has provided considerable added value to the business:

– Our core competence consists of overall management of the indoor environment and energy efficiency as well as related products, systems and services. As part of the Indoor Environment Program we have been able to develop, pilot and test many ideas and ways of productizing and developing them. Our diversity has enabled us to establish new points of contact with our interest groups which, again, has provided us valuable feedback and the latest research information on our field. Particularly noteworthy is the possibility to engage in fruitful cooperation that benefits both sides, even with actors who compete with us in certain subareas – Helvar Oy being a good example.

Measured data must be converted into better practices

– Measurement of physical quantities – temperature, relative humidity of air, and air movements – is easy. However, making good use of measurement data requires user feedback on how they feel. Comparison of the data with responses makes it easier to relate things and reach a better end result. The query must be standardized in order to make the results commensurable, comparable and more widely usable, Heikkinen continues.

The Standard-Based Customer Satisfaction Assessment method developed for that purpose allows answering questions in real-time using mobile devices. Mobility makes it possible to receive direct information about conditions in various parts of a property, to design control and corrective measures accordingly, as well as to get feedback from users as soon as measures have been implemented. That translates into timely maintenance measures and cost savings.

The ”Smart Pole” also produces real-time measurement data. It is a movable pole to which wireless sensors that gather data and control the system can be integrated, and which can easily be moved and modified as needed.

Schneider Electric together with another RYM Oy shareholder, Helvar Oy, has developed a novel system for controlling the lighting, ventilation and heating of the new Vuores school center in Tampere. The intuitiveness of the system to the user makes it especially energy efficient.

The efficiency of energy use can be measured and planned accurately by a method that takes into account the effect of different tariffs by monitoring consumption in various parts of a property. That allows calculating and modeling different situations and associated costs based on different contract options while also anticipating consumption so that peaks do not coincide with the highest hourly rates.

Improvements can also be made in relation to the future of SHOK companies. Although the large number and diversity of participants are a key element of SHOK activity, Heikkinen – as many other leaders – also recognizes the related shortcomings: – Especially at the program launching phase a lot of actors were involved, all with their own, partly conflicting, goals. That slowed down the process unnecessarily before things got properly moving. In the future, greater focus at the beginning can reduce starting friction.