Climate emergency: towards a low carbon economy

Thousands of young students all over the world were striking last Friday against climate change. People who are not even allowed to vote yet, but definitely have a say about their own future, raised their voices out of the classes to teach an important lesson: we need to act now to minimise the devastating effects of the Global Warming.

The students protested to raise awareness and spark action from individuals, politicians and governments. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl who started the first movement of climate strikes, is making an emergency call for cutting down emissions by ceasing the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment into renewables.

Renewable Energy and the Circular Economy

According to Bio Market Insights, €56 billion in subsidies from EU member states were made in 2016 to fossil fuels. In this context, Roberto Ferrigno, EU Policy Advisor at Italian bio-plastics company Novamont said in the ‘Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference’ in Brussels that goverments should encourage the transition to circular economies and start helping the bio-based industry to make bio-based material more affordable than fossil-fuel based materials. 

To ensure the future of the next generations, we have climate change at the heart of our business strategies. For example, as part of the Agrimax project, Exergy is working in the design and set up of two biorefineries in Italy and Spain for the production of high-value bio-compounds with application in packaging, ingredients for the food industry and manufacturing of agricultural materials. We at Exergy strongly believe in working to create awareness about how energy efficiency and increased profitability are linked in the long-term. It will soon be a trend that companies will get benefits from emissions reductions. We all know that there are challenges we must overcome but the significant value to be gained from moving towards business models that are more sustainable is something to consider – it is a win-win, for companies and the environment.

Interesting Links:
How to build a low carbon strategy

Renewable energy systems and low carbon solutions

World Sustainable Energy Days: European Energy Efficiency Conference

Our colleague Federica Fuligni represented the ongoing H2020 THERMOSS Project during Exergy’s presentation on the 28th of February 2019 at the World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels (Austria). She talked about the project concept and how to reach the 30% primary energy savings through heat pumps and ad-hoc control management strategies.

The Conference was organised by the projects CREATE, HYBUILD, SCORES, TESSE2B, THERMOSS, SUNHORIZON, all the presentations were related to the topic of thermal storage and innovative technologies for the building sector. In the case of THERMOSS, thermal storage is mainly dealt with through intelligent management control rather than with dedicated storage tanks or technologies. Any THERMOSS site, due to the different technologies deployed, have a different strategy to store and use energy more efficiently. From the Smart Thermostatic valves deployment and control strategy in Hale Court (UK) to the intelligent control of the multiple energy sources in Urberoa (SP), with a multi-objective optimization, the ad-hoc solutions are able to reach savings up to 50% energy consumption compared to the inital status.

The project coordinator for SUNHORIZON project also attended. Exergy is involved in SUNHORIZON where we have an engineering role and are responsible of gathering information from the demo sites.

SUNHORIZON and THERMOSS are very similar projects in their scope because they revolve around heat pumps deployment in buildings. In the case of THERMOSS, we are also approaching district heating connected buildings and considering gas based technologies like mCHP, while SUNHORIZON deals with tertiary buildings and proposes the integration of heat pumps with solar energy sources.

Federica Fuligni is Project Manager of Energy Efficient Buildings Projects, Exergy, United Kingdom

Previously, researcher on urban scale sustainable technologies and methodologies in Santiago, Chile

Master’s degree in Architecture, Università di Bologna, Italy; ongoing Master studies in Building Services Engineering with Sustainable Energy, Brunel University London, UK

Speaker of the Innovation Workshops Energy and Buildings

Happy International Women’s Day

This year, the International Women’s Day Campaign theme is #Balanceforbetter.

Based on the recent NES Global Talent’s survey on February 2019, the Renewables sector is attracting young women. The study shows that the 63% of surveyed are less than five years in their careers and the 31% are engineers. Only the 28% are new entrants in the Oil and Gas sector. The environmental conscience of many companies are attracting young people and they are also connecting with gender equality.

At Exergy, we strongly believe in building a gender-balanced world and we have to thank and recognise the women we work with, our inspiring colleagues that make this possible. Engineers, architects, accountants, designers, marketers. Women with PhDs and master’s degrees. Brave women who go beyond everyone can expect. These women from different cultures and backgrounds nurture the company with their passion and love for what they do. We appreciate the work you do and with out you, we couldn’t be.

Big thanks to Ana Gómez, Erika Parn, Daniela Cadena, Federica Fuligni, Gozde Unkaya, Elham Esfehani, Yaying Chen, Maria Cruz, Monica Osorio, Nina Turull, Ruby Mughal and Ruta Jarmoskaite.

Thank you always for being part of this family.

Cyber security threats of digital built environment

Smart Cities: what is the current security landscape?

The cyber-physical connectivity in Smart Buildings makes our cities more sustainable and prosperous for its citizens but it comes with its share of risks.

Improving the speed and efficiency of construction processes through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) presents both great opportunities and threats for the construction industry.

Our BIM Specialist, Erika Pärn will be presenting “Cyber threats and vulnerabilities of Construction 4.0” on the 12th of March 2019 at the NYU of Abu Dhabi. She will talk about BIM and Cybersecurity.

The Architecture, engineering, construction and operations (AECO) sector  creates economic wealth and jobs hence, the UK government’s BIM Level 2 mandate has sought to immerse the sector within a digital economy. By driving the digital agenda, the government hopes to transform the sector into being a leader for technology adoption and at the vanguard of delivering smart city development, economic reform and environmental sustainability. For operational stages the facilities management (FM) sector, this means adopting new ways of working and creates a need for better informed designers and contractors, if technology adoption of BIM is to cascade into BIM-enabled FM. As BIM proliferates into the operational stages of the built environment new threats of cyber crime are opened up to the constructed built assets.

The gradual shift into 3D model-based reliance by built environment personnel means that vulnerable asset-related information is now stored via networked systems throughout the life-cycle of a building. In particular, this has been evidenced by the growing number of projects that have solely relied upon cloud-based tools to validate and federate the BIM in order to handover the as-built BIM. The as-built BIMs typically handed over to clients have represented a ‘digital twin’ of  built facilities to an impeccable level of detail and accuracy, usually followed by laser scanned validation. Physically accessible barcodes, connecting each room or built asset to the digital as-built BIM hosted on a cloud-based service provider, are of particular danger. A plethora of cyber-threats are confronting digital BIM-enabled FM and its built assets, these are likely to occur because they are reliant upon a CDE where increased access to such sensitive asset data is prevalent in the later stages of the life-cycle of the building.

Whilst cyber physical attacks are widely discussed in other more prominent and advanced sectors such as information technology and transport/infrastructure, it has yet to receive similar attention or debate in the AECO sector. BIM offers a conduit for malicious cyber physical attacks, through the continued use of as-built BIM where sensitive asset data is presented in easily understandable geometric and semantic format. Therefore more careful consideration of how geometric and semantic detail is to be shared in BIM via a CDE needs to be adopted in the built environment to better plan and prepare for the eventuality of cyber crime and cyber physical attacks of our contemporary smart cities. To reconcile such challenges, researchers and practitioners within the AECO sector should adopt cyber-deterrence approaches applied within in more technologically advanced industries as those in the aerospace and automotive sectors. 

Erika coordinates Exergy’s ongoing research projects with EU commission on BIM. These projects are centered in the renovation market and BIM for existing buildings:

SeismandPrecast: a novel construction system for tall buildings that is low-cost, industrialised and, most importantly, Seism-Resistant. (,

GreenInstruct: prefabricated modular wall panel made from Construction and Demolition Waste. (

BIMERR: the project will design and develop a Renovation 4.0 toolkit which will comprise tools to support renovation stakeholders throughout the renovation process of existing buildings, from project conception to delivery.

Erika’s Bio and an the presentation abstract

Hybrid application to BIM has been designed to reduce the risk of injuries and loss of life from personnel working in confined spaces

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D based model process that provides architecture, engineering and construction professionals the tools and understanding to plan, design, construct and manage building and infrastructure in a more efficient manner. In order to address environmental hazards associated with working in buildings, the BIM technology is rapidly evolving to coalesce with other emerging technologies such as wireless sensor motes (WSM). 

The School of Engineering and Built Environment of The Birmingham City University and other universities of Lahore and Hong Kong carried out research to further develop a hybrid application programming interface (API) plug-in to BIM. The research relied on the participation of our current BIM Coordinator, Erika Parn. To read the publication click here.

The application called “CosMoS” was originally designed as a system to monitor oxygen and temperature changes for remote sensing of spaces. In its second generation, “CoSMoS” was expanded. The researchers used archived records that proactively learn from data generated from WSN sensors (also known as nodes) that provide real-time monitoring of physical or environmental conditions during the building’s operations and maintenance (O&M) phase of asset management (AM).

The purpose of the system is to enable remote monitoring of confined spaces prior to conducting maintenance. The prototype is hoped to address health and safety issues related to working in confined spaces which frequently results in injury and/or loss of life. CoSMoS prototype has automated new safety applications for Facilities Management (FM) during the asset life-cycle and maintenance phase of a building’s O&M phase of AM. The application allows integrating, for instance, an additional layer of protection to attenuate human acts, errors or omissions that may occur when implementing risk control mitigation strategies.

Further development of CoSMoS presents a significant opportunity. Machine learning algorithms can be applied to develop self-learning and self-improving algorithms to automate predictions for members of the Facility Management team. Lessons learnt from existing buildings can be considered to influence future design developments.  CoSMoS could also contemplate the use of technological innovations such as miniaturisation and mass-manufacture of electronic componentry and create hybrid solutions that not only encapsulate a single building but also smart cities and entire economies.

Keep connected and learn more about BIM, its applications and further research!

Exergy Analysis applied to a Power to Gas Plant

Exergy Analysis applied to a Power to Gas Plant

The share of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) for the European power-generation sector has almost reached 30%. Despite that, in the heating and cooling sectors only 20% comes from RES and in the transport sector, 7% was just exceeded in 2016.

In order to enable higher RES penetration, future energy systems would require further development of relevant infrastructures. Many strategies and technologies are being applied and developed and as a new integral and promising approach, power-to-x (PtX) technologies have attracted more supporters since they not only serve for demand-side management and energy storage but also facilitate the substitution of fossil fuels in the sectors of building, industry and transport.

Nevertheless, these systems are known for high capital costs and low roundtrip efficiencies. The system performance depends on the operating point of the electrolyser and system design, particularly the heat exchanger network.

To understand how the system performance is improved from one design to another, component-based exergy analysis can be employed. This will identify the sources and magnitude of the thermodynamic inefficiencies occurring with each component, highlights the components with the highest inefficiencies, and pinpoints the directions for system improvement.

In this paper, we investigate a Solid-Oxide Electrolyzer (SOE) based PtM plant with a fixed-bed catalytic methanator and a membrane module for methane upgrading. We employed a top-down approach to providing optimal system designs step by step from the system concept to optimal conceptual designs. Furthermore, we carried out an exergy evaluation to the system designs in order to understand how exergy dissipation and performance of the overall system and each component vary from one to another.

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Towards Low Carbon Heating and Cooling in Buildings

12th March 2019 / 09:00 -15:30 

We kindly invite you to our joint event “TOWARDS LOW CARBON HEATING AND
COOLING IN BUILDINGS — three different perspectives”, organised by Heat4CoolSunHorizon and Thermoss projects. 

Buildings account for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in Europe; to achieve full decarbonisation of the building sector, we must initiate the installation of smart heating & cooling systems. 

This event aims at discussion available and existing renewable energy solutions that will reduce buildings’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions while increasing cost savings. 

Heat4Cool is promoting the application of six technologies for the refurbishment of buildings. 

The Sunhorizon project aims at unlocking the potential for a cost-effective solution based on innovative heat pumps and solar technologies. 

Thermoss aims to contribute to wider deployment of advanced building heating and cooling technologies and facilitate their connection with district heating.

When: 12thMarch 2019
Time: from 09:00 to 15:30 
Where: ISH fair – Room Transparenz 2 in Portalhaus, level 1 Frankfurt, Germany (download map here)  

Please note that in order to attend the workshop you will need to obtain a ticket to ISH fair. 



(downloadable version here) 

09.00   Welcome Coffee & Registrations

09.30   Welcome, Thomas Nowak, EHPA

09.35   Keynote Speech on ongoing policies – Horizon 2020 , Representative from European Commission (TBC)

Session 1 : Project presentation by project coordinators

10.00   Heat4Cool, Marcello Aprile

10.10   Thermoss, Federica Fuligni

10.20   Sunhorizon, Stefano Barberis

Session 2: Coupling renewable and heating & cooling solutions/New technologies

10.35   Integration of Heat pumps in the Heat4Cool concept, Fahrenheit

10.50   Bringing Natural Gas at the highest electrical efficiency: The case of SOLIDpower, Thermoss

11.00   District heating pilot site in Budapest, Thermowatt – Heat4Cool

11.10   Solar
and Heat pumps: how to couple the most socially accepted low carbon
H&C technologies (BoosteEat, TVP, DualSun) – SunHorizon

11.30   From data to value – Connectivity Solutions, Bosch Thermotechnik – Thermoss

11.40   PMC material: The new era of batteries, Sunamp – Heat4Cool

11.50   Panel discussion

12.15  Lunch break 


13.45    How
Monitored data can make H&C more sustainable: SCHNEIDER monitoring
and communication system- SunHorizon and Thermoss

14:05   Data checking analysis and validation, STAM – Thermoss

14.15   Heat4Cool
Smart Energy Management Tool: From monitoring to comfort profiling and
control automation, Hypertech- Heat4Cool      

14.25   Panel Discussion 

15.30 End of the meeting