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Damiano Varagnolo
Damiano Varagnolo, Associate Senior Lecturer of Control Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Åsa Svedjeholm

Talking houses reduces energy consumption

Published: 27 May 2015

An entire city's, or even a country's, total energy consumption can be reduced by using technology that enables buildings to "talk" to each other, and to adapt their electricity consumption when energy availability is highest.

– It's about going from a centralized system to a more democratic system where individual buildings communicate their energy needs at a certain time of day, says Damiano Varagnolo, researcher in the field of Automatic control at Luleå University of Teechnology.

Mathematical algorithms are practically computer programs, that can coordinate energy costs and energy consumption for many different buildings and cut the tops and lows in energy consumption without the interference of man. To better match energy production with demand is a key issue both for society, consumers and electricity producers.

Sensors control the energy

Today, energy consumption in for example a residential area, is usually controlled centrally from one computer. With a computer in every house and with sensors that can regulate energy consumption, the buildings in various areas can tell when a building's energy needs are greatest and where in other buildings there is power available. By shifting energy demands from one house to another, consumption is controlled to specific buildings energy needs and to times when energy is cheapest. Sensors monitor the houses and deliver data that is processed so that, for example, a radiator in a building automatically turns off when the need for energy decreases.

– My vision is that all electricity consumers and producers in Sweden, and perhaps in the whole EU is coordinated to optimize energy consumption, says Damiano Varagnolo.

Text: Åsa Svedjeholm

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Damiano Varagnolo

Damiano Varagnolo,

Organisation: Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering