EPB-based feasibility tool for renewable energy production in small buildings

July 5, 2016
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Client:  SPW-DGO4 – Walloon Department of Energy and Sustainable Buildings
Period:  2014-2015


Work

3E designed a new tool to assess the feasibility of renewable energy production in small buildings (less than 1000 m²). The tool, designed in Python, will run on any type of computer and OS. It is linked to the EPB tool and to a database owned by SPW (Service Public de Wallonie).

Each scenario built by the EPB responsible will assess technical & economic feasibility of a range of renewable energy sources: a solar thermal system, photovoltaics, biomass heating, air-water heat pump, ground source heat pump and cogeneration.

In a first step the tool assesses renewable technologies which could be implemented on site, based on a set of qualitative criteria (e.g. roof orientation, heat consumption, storage room, and distance from a heat network). For technologies which look feasible, the tool calculates the overhead costs, the return on investment, the primary energy and CO2 saved by each renewable solution compared to the reference case calculated in the EPB tool.

Potentially feasible renewable energy systems are automatically sized in an optimal way (collector area, installed capacity, thermal output, storage size…). Results (€, kWh, ton CO2) are compared between technologies and with the EPB reference case in clear and simple graphs. Last but not least, the tool generates a feasibility audit report in PDF format, summarizing the basic assumptions, the calculation methodology and of course, the results.

Background figures (primary energy factor, CO2 emission factor, energy prices, material and installation costs, discount rate etc…) are either extracted from the EPB file uploaded by the user or from a dedicated database put in place and updated by the Walloon General Operational Direction for urban planning, housing, heritage and energy (SPW-DGO4).