October 8-9, 2009       Trento, Italy organised and funded by ARTIST 

Press Release


Trento October 12th, 2009.

Seventy five experts from Academia, Research Institutions and Industry from Europe and United States met in Trento on October 8th and 9th to discuss state-of-the-art, challenges and future opportunities in research on and industrial deployment of energy-efficient solutions in buildings, smart grids and power generation equipment. Fifteen talks (five from Universities, two from public research institutions, and eight from industry; three from US and twelve from Europe) addressed a variety of approaches to energy efficiency with particular emphasis on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to problems in this area (see the attached program of the meeting).

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings consumed 72% of the nation’s total electricity in 2006. Heating, cooling and lighting alone account for 70% and 63% of the energy usage for residential and commercial buildings respectively. It is therefore imperative to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprints for buildings. An efficient management of facilities requires the use of advanced infrastructures for data communication and information sharing (e.g. wireless sensor network), and an environment in which different services such as building controls (e.g. HVAC), electronic appliances and security functions are integrated seamlessly.

There was a general consensus among the participants about research needs and the necessity to form joint teams among industry and academia across the Ocean to provide critical mass for the solution to the energy efficiency problem. The approaches taken by the US were contrasted and compared with similar activities in the EU to identify synergies and complementarities. The state-of-the-art in modeling, simulation and design of energy efficient buildings was presented and the technical challenges were analyzed in details. Research programs and preliminary results were also introduced. To complement the building efficiency theme, the need for developing smart grids to adapt to local energy generation and consumption was outlined and alternative source of energies were presented.

“Energy efficiency in buildings is a fundamental topic in the green economy. It is also a rich source of research topics for academia and industry. This research is going to change dramatically our view of energy use. This workshop is an important milestone in forming a world-wide community interested in research and applications in this field” said Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli, the Edgar L. and Harold H. Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and chair of the workshop.

“This workshop is one of the best workshops I attended in years and it was an ideal showcase for advanced research and industrial views on the energy efficiency theme. I was pleasantly surprised about the overall quality of the presentations and of the discussion” remarked Professor Manfred Morari, Chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department at the ETH in Zurich.

“The ideas presented at this workshop should be vigorously pursued in the future. It is important that the general public as well as the research community be informed of the debate on energy efficiency” Dr. Conrad Gähler, Pre-development & Research, Siemens Building Technologies, pointed out. "Also, the necessary transformation towards better energy efficiency is a chance for the economy to create new jobs. In Siemens for instance, a quarter of our 77 billion Euro total revenue, and thus more than 100’000 jobs, can be attributed to products and solutions that make a direct and verifiable contribution to environmental and climate protection."

“Energy-efficiency is a priority of the Trentino Province and among the key research areas of our Research Institute. I welcome this initiative and I hope it will be continued in the future.” Professor Zanotti, President of the Bruno Kessler Foundation, who hosted the meeting, said at the meeting opening.
The meeting was sponsored by the Artist Design Network of Excellence of the European Community and by the COMBEST STREP project of the European community. These European initiatives pursue research on embedded systems and compositional techniques that are very much at the root of the technical problems faced in designing energy efficient buildings.

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