Interview with Lucia Gonzalez

By Marketplace Editorial

Lucía González is the leader of the Use Case Validation work package (WP3) of District of the Future (DoF) and represents EIP-SCC Commitment 524 – Formalising an Open Framework for Optimisation to tackle all elements of a city district. The project’s goal is to demonstrate that the energy consumption and the CO2 emissions in city districts can be lowered by 30-40% by using some innovative Information and Communication Technologies.

1. Could you describe your commitment in a few words?

The District of Future (DoF) is a project funded by the European Commission that aims at demonstrating how energy efficiency can ne increased in city districts using innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The project is funded through the FP7 programme under the Directorate-General Communications Networks, Content and Technology. It is also known as A Modular Open Big Data Energy Optimizing Framework for cities and it supports the main goals of the HORIZON 2020 research and innovation policy improving Europe's competitiveness, growth and job creation while tackling the main current and future societal challenges.

The project work intends to formalize an Open Framework for Optimisation to tackle all the elements of a city district together mainly focused on energy consumption and efficiency. Simply applying DoF strategies on other districts on European cities, it will contribute to the European objectives in Energy and Climate Change:

  • 20% of energy from renewables
  • 20% increase of energy efficiency
  • 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

The objectives of the District of Future project are:

  • To help city leaders achieve quantifiable and significant reductions up to 30 to 40% in energy consumption.
  • To improve citizen awareness and people’s involvement as part of the problem and, consequently, of the solution.

The outcomes of the project are:

  • To use innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT) approaches.
  • To provide a system to support city authorities and citizens in making the right decisions.

The architecture used by the DoF project is represented in this figure:



2. What is the status of your commitment progress right now?

The DoF project will be finished by October 2016. We are right now finishing the technical activities such as platform design and validation, energy optimizing tools development, etc. and we have launched the End Users activities such as Engagement, Training, Dissemination and Business Model definition.

The DoF platform has been installed in three pilot use cases, so far. The three cities are located in different European countries, with different climate patterns throughout the year. This will enable the running of optimisation and simulation activities with different constraints and boundaries conditions. Moreover, the three use cases have had a different historical and social evolution thus making them three different test environments.

The chosen pilot cities are: Corby in the United Kingdom, Orleans in France and Sabadell in Spain. In each of them, energy efficiency and renewable energy devices have been deployed since the project started in 2013. Different building typologies have been chosen in each city to be controlled and monitored by the DoF platform so as to study different types of building such as residential and industrial areas.

3. What are the main strengths of your commitment?

From the beginning of the project until now we have already improved energy consumption in the district buildings involved in the use cases by implementing energy saving activities, achieving around 5-10% of the objectives.

The commitment will assure a 40% of energy savings not only in the three cities involved in the project but also in other European cities. The industrialization of the solution is a must for the DoF Project, through sustainable business models.

In addition, we have highlighted how important it is to introduce sustainable methods to reduce energy consumption in Europe by increasing energy efficiency. We thus expect that the environmental impacts of the DoF project will be significant. From a social perspective, there will also be important changes in citizens’ habits and lifestyles, through their involvement in the communication infrastructure in the district energy consumption reduction process.

Finally, the DoF project brings a significant revolution regarding energy sector business models. It will help both city managers and final users to get control over their energy consumption patterns which will lead to the deployment of energy efficient solutions and cost reduction having a substantial impact on local economies. Furthermore, we want to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of our planet and leveraging the new technologies that are, nowadays, within our reach.

4. What are the main challenges your commitment is facing and how could the Market Place help you to overcome them?

The main challenge of our commitment is the industrialization of the solution at a district level in other European cities and regions. Therefore, we need to disseminate and share as much as possible the results and lessons learned from our project. The Market Place will be of great help to contact other European cities interested in implementing our solutions.

5. What are your next steps?

The next step is to finalise the project in October 2016 and to define the way we will approach the market from the business model point of view.


For further  information, visit District of Future webpage.