Tackling impacts on energy consumption due to COVID-19 in the built environment

  • Smart energy management

Last year, AGAUR launched the “PANDÈMIES 2020” call, grants for research projects in different scientific fields with the aim of analysing the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and the concept of pandemic, under a generic perspective, in our society. The call funded projects proposing new measures, models and lines of action that contribute to overcome the consequences of pandemics and defining new preventive, analytical and treatment models.

IREC and UPC has been granted the ComMit-20 project, aiming to establish long and short term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic situation regarding the energy consumption, changes in usage patterns and higher indoor environmental quality requirements in buildings. The project will propose oriented adaptive measures, policies and recommendations to increase resilience of buildings and urban communities by means of integrating new found requirements in design and energy planning tools, and energy management systems.

The project should emphasize which alternatives will improve resilience and robustness of the systems and help us (as society) to prevent not desired effects in this current and new epidemic situations. The project will derive design and operational recommendations to be applied in future epidemic times in different domains of the built environment and at different levels, with a special focus on residential and educational buildings.

Without losing the perspective that we are facing both a climate emergency and a, hopefully, punctual epidemic emergency, flexible design and management solutions are needed to make able the systems to operate prioritizing high IEQ requirements and/or Energy / costs minimization depending on the context. Then new proposal and concepts designs and strategies will emerge from the current project for the buildings to work in “emergency pandemic mode” without jeopardizing that in “normal mode” they use as less of energy as possible

The coordinator of ComMit-20 is Dr. Jaume Salom from IREC, and involves all the research groups of the ECOS unit (Thermal Energy and Building Performance, Power Systems and Energy Systems Analytics research groups from IREC), as well as researchers from UPC (Group of Construction Research and Innovation – GRIC). The project has a total budget of 316k€ and will run for 18 months, starting in May 2021.

Acknowledgements (in Catalan): L’Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (AGAUR) han atorgat una ajuda Pandèmies 2020 per aquest projecte “ComMit-20 – 2020PANDE00116” amb el suport de la Secretaria d’Universitats i Recerca del departament d’Empresa i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya.