Saving energy: Sunshine IT helps

Save energy with Sunshine: an advanced computer system capable of integrating geographic information and weather forecasts to reduce consumption, offering administrations and citizens ideas for developing “green” attitudes and strategies. Trentino Network is one of the participants in the pilot projects which in Italy start in Trento, Ferrara, and Bassano del Grappa.

1) What does the project consist of?

Sunshine aims tooptimization of energy consumption. Three main actions: produce an assessment of the energy behavior of buildings by integrating existing information (cadastral and topographical) to produce "eco maps" that give an indication of the general behavior of a certain inhabited area from an energy point of view. Furthermore, based on localized weather forecasts, we want to correlate energy consumption with weather conditions to keep consumption under control and, thirdly, manage public lighting based on real conditions of need. All this, based on innovative platforms that aggregate various types of data and make the results available to the "energy managers" of companies and the population.

2) What role do you have in this project and with whom do you collaborate?

Trentino Network is a local telecommunications network and services operator; keeping the infrastructures operational and under control requires significant amounts of energy, this makes us one of the main "consumers" at the local level; our participation in Sunshine has as its main objective the monitoring of our consumption to promptly identify possible causes of inefficiencies. In the project we collaborate primarily with the Graphitech Foundation (coordinator Raffaele De Amicis), but also with Italian and European companies in the energy and ICT sector.

3) Where is it being experimented in Italy and in Europe? Will it be extended in the future?

For Italy, the "Pilot Projects" will be in the Province of Trento, Ferrara, and Bassano del Grappa. At the European level we will have the drivers in Schwechat (AT), in Zagreb and Spalato (CR), in Lamia (GR), in Paola (Malta). The extent of the project, then, will mainly depend on the results.

4) What data are you managing? As? With what difficulties?

Implementing efficient energy management, especially in the business environment, involves the structured management of data from various sources: construction characteristics of civil works, temperature measurements, consumption measurements of the various technological devices and so on. To all this in Sunshine we will also add the weather data. Measuring means controlling and being able to introduce improvements. Correlating all this, bearing in mind the company's production processes, is the most delicate aspect and requires attention.

5) How does Sunshine affect citizens' lives concretely?

Sunshine scenarios would make available to citizens information such as the energy pre-classification of a certain inhabited area or the weather forecast in a specific area so that decisions and behaviors can be adopted at the level of the individual "energy wise“.

6) Has an estimate of possible energy savings been made?

The possible energy savings they mainly depend on the inefficiencies that will be detected; the estimates vary from a few percentage points up to double digits; but these remain estimates because even today, after a few years of talking about "green", in many realities there is still no culture of "measuring"; this is precisely the first thing to activate if we want to talk about savings.

7) Sunshine started in February 2013: how long will it last and what are the first results?

The project will last three years; in the early stages, information will be collected on the various sites where the trials will be held and will be used to create what will be the "nervous system" Sunshine, that is, the system that will collect information from the various sites and process them to suggest possible improvements. The first results will be seen in a few months, when we will begin to have a structured view of all the data collected; this will already be a result; to follow we should begin to see the first improvements.

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