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Sustainable energy management systems

Sustainable energy management systems

Challenges/ Barriers facing


  • Lack of DSO certified meters on the market
  • Infrastructure not suitable for PV

Social & behavioural

  • User adaptation
  • User sceptism and difficult communication with tenants, especially in social housing context
  • Lack of political interest and commitment

Competences & risks

  • Lack of end user support to take responsibility of their own energy management
  • Strategic interest of energy providers (smaller units are less interesting)

Regulatory & juridical

  • Compliance with GDPR in data collection and aggregation
  • Complexity of approval process for heritage area
  • Lack of political interest/commitment
  • The regulatory framework is protecting the electricity utility (DSOs still have quite some power, causing smaller structures – like energy islands or district management systems – to find a barrier on implementation)
  • Policy is not up to date to face new technologies and value added service market


  • Electric utility only wants to connect its own monitoring devices
  • Applying the knowledge gained after project has ended


Incentives/ Policy recommendations/ Suggestions/ Best Practices

Policy recommendations

  • Loosen up GDPR.
  • Regulation for smart meters should pay attention to privacy and accessibility should be flexible (also citizens should have access)
  • To cope with GDPR, a possible solution for project owners is to aggregate data.
  • Speed up the certification process for smart meters in Germany
  • Economic incentives for energy; support the creation of cooperatives using incentives based on fuel results: energy reduction, CO2 reduction, energy service market

User incentives

  • Facilitate strong stakeholder engagement
  • Incentivise tenants by challenging them
  • Incorporate economic incentives
  • Get tenants’ acceptance of higher rents by showing the added values of an EMS. Communication, co-creation, trainings and mediators are important tools.

Best practices & suggestions

  • Involve energy companies and energy utilities
  • Improve the participatory process and increase stakeholder engagement
  • Show the added value for tenants and for city planners
  • Include demand to embed solutions in H2020 calls, so these actions can be supported through EU funding
  • Aggregate data
  • Support the creation of cooperatives using KPI incentives such as a target for minimal renewable energy production by local energy communities
  • Make sure that knowledge gained gets embedded in processes that will be used for future work

Plan for Implementation (Next Steps)

  • Scale up to replicate the developed system to other buildings in the city
  • Work towards an integrated system by combining the different available systems. Instead of deploying only consuming or producing energy structures, one should think from a system perspective, to manage the balancing of energy required at the building level, taking into account the RE forecasted to be produced and the needs from the grid.
  • Define who is using the SEMS and who is benefiting from it
  • Develop an app for citizens
  • Incorporate information sessions, communication, co-creation and trainings
  • City-planners must include new technologies in their plans
  • Expand Energy Management Systems to all municipal owned buildings
  • Reach out as part of a holistic approach in a longer term strategy
  • Train tenants after refurbishment
  • Incorporate SEMS into cities’ strategic planning, Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans and Covenant of Mayors
  • Share issues and best practices with follower cities
  • Apply 2 approaches: home systems for small users and a district system for energy planners and city managers
Lesson identified at: