Two innovative sustainability research projects carried out by the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been recognised by the European Union.
The EU’s Innovation Radar, which is a European Commission initiative to identify and support key research innovators, has recognised the Smart Spaces and POWER projects, which both received funding from the European Union, as important innovations.
The Smart Spaces project involved installing ICT-based technology to monitor energy consumption in a range of public building across 11 different municipalities around Europe, including buildings at DMU and Leicester City Council.
Participants’ energy consumption was monitored by software and reflected by red, amber and green smiley face signals with the intention of increasing their energy efficiency and changing attitudes towards energy use in public buildings.
The Innovation Radar specifically highlighted DMU’s analysis approach to the research and the creation of an online guide to allow the ICT-based services to be replicated elsewhere.
The success of the project, which took place between 2012 and 2014, has led to the commencement of a new Horizon 2020 project titled ‘EDI-Net’, which is an energy data innovation network that is increasing the capacity of public authorities to implement sustainable energy policy through the use of smart meter data, campaigns and networking.
This builds on the Smart Spaces innovation and is being used by many public authorities throughout Europe, including Leicester City Council, who are again a key partner in the EDI-Net project.
The EDI-Net approach allows for engagement with political decision-makers and finance officers as well as managers and building users. It is helping to implement local, national and European energy policy objectives to meet international greenhouse gas emission targets.
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POWER (Political and Social Awareness on Water Environmental Challenges) is an ongoing project to develop an online digital social platform which allows cities to manage their water use more effectively.
DMU is the coordinator of the project, which is working with other European partners, including Leicester City Council as one of four key demonstrator cities, to pilot the innovative approach.
Leicester is one of four European cities acting as key demonstrator cities, and DMU has been singled out by the EU as a key innovator as a result of the project’s success.
The digital social platform facilitates the expansion and governance of water networks whilst changing attitudes to water and influencing policy planning. Leicester is used as an example of how cities can deal with flooding risks and extreme weather.
Professor Paul Fleming, Director of Sustainable Development, believes this international recognition shows the significance of the work being carried out by the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at DMU.
He said: “This recognition shows that DMU’s research projects are having a real impact in creating a more sustainable world.
“To be identified as a key innovator by the European Union is great acknowledgement for the Institute of Sustainable Development’s efforts. It is reflective of DMU’s innovative outlook and ongoing partnerships with Leicester City Council and other European experts to having a real world impact in our drive for more sustainable cities.”
The EDI-Net and POWER projects have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement numbers 695916 and 687809. The Smart Spaces project received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (grant agreement number297273).
Posted on Monday 30th April 2018