“coupling REnewable, Storage and ICTs, for Low carbon Intelligent Energy maNagemenT at district level”

RESILIENT resulted in:

Growing investments in distributed energy resources (DER) – renewable distributed energy generation combined with demand response, energy storage, plug-in electric vehicles and active management of distribution networks – will require new business and technology platforms to manage the increased level of diversity and complexity of global energy management. The increasing variability of both generation and loads will also require more sophisticated and decentralized decision…

RESILIENT Project details

Total cost: EUR 8 028 950,18

EU contribution: EUR 5 500 000

Coordinated in:  Italy

Topic(s): EeB.NMP.2012-1 – Interaction and integration between buildings, grids, heating and cooling networks, and energy storage and energy generation systems 

Call for proposal: FP7-2012-NMP-ENV-ENERGY-ICT-EeBSee other projects for this call

Funding scheme: CP-IP – Large-scale integrating project

Project ID: 314671F
Funded under: FP7-NMP

From 2012-09-01 to 2016-08-31, closed project

Details available at:

Smart local energy management

EU-funded scientists are seeking effective methods to manage all the phases related to energy production, transformation and distribution.

Currently, remarkable efforts are being devoted to integrate fossil with renewable energy (RE) sources in a bid to achieve higher RE shares and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. However, growing investments in distributed energy resources (mainly RE sources) call for new ways to handle the increased diversity and complexity of energy management. Along with these, more sophisticated and decentralised decision making is also needed to cope with variable energy generation and load profiles.

RESILIENT’s innovative concept is based on interconnecting buildings, distributed energy resources, grids and other networks to ultimately assess the associated energy and environmental benefits.

RESILIENT leverages combined heat and power units and RE technologies such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors.

It also combines heating networks for energy distribution, thermal or electrical storage technologies, and an energy management system for providing real-time accounts of energy demand and supply. Based on these, RESILIENT greatly assists in decision making. Specifically, it controls the time to operate each energy resource, the power levels, the time to store energy and the priority loads. Scientists have hitherto developed tools for simulating thermal and electrical grids, and developed thermal, electrical and heat models for buildings. A combined statistic and stochastic approach has been used to calculate the generated loads for each building. 

The integrated concept were installed and validated in three pilot projects in Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom. These demonstrators will be used to assess the energy and environmental benefits and to validate models and technologies to apply them afterwards throughout Europe.

The RESILIENT project was launched in order to develop solutions for the interaction and integration between buildings, grids, heating and cooling networks, energy storage and energy generation systems.

Energy consumption is in fact yearly increasing at worldwide level, this makes more and more urgent to find out effective methods to manage all the phases related to the energy production, transformation and distribution process. Furthermore an increasing in energy consumption and the requirements of a sustainable development fosters the need to integrate traditional fossil fuel based Energy Sources with energy resources from Renewable Energy Sources reducing hence the impact of Green House Gases emissions.

The concept behind RESILIENT is the design, development and instantiation of a new system of interconnectivity between buildings, Distributed Energy Resources and grids, assessing the associated energy and environmental benefits. The integrated concept, worth to manage and correlate different energy sources and storages in a dynamic way, has been then validated in three pilot projects in Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom. These demonstrators have been used to assess the energy and environmental benefits and to validate models and technologies to apply them afterwards throughout Europe.

RESILIENT proposed innovations on the ICT framework side through the development of innovative software components for simulating and real time management optimization on the basis of real-time accounts of energy demand and supply at district level.

In particular a District Information Model for energy efficient applications (ee-DIM) has been introduced, and a District Simulation tool (DIMOSIM) allowing an ease modelling and simulation of both the thermal and electric grid in districts, and enabling their evaluation in terms of energy, environmental and economic criteria, has been developed. Moreover a Multi Agent System (MAS) optimization tool for smart grid management able to find the optimal outcome and solve problems autonomously, and a replication tool, useful for optimisation in urban planning and designing/refurbishing new/ existing districts have been developed.

RESILIENT proposed innovation also concerning both the methodological side via the development of a Methodology for assessing the energy savings at district level and the application of the Model Predictive Control approach for energy district optimization, and the development of new technologies for electric energy storage. These new tools, methodologies and technologies developed within the project have been integrated first, installed, and tested at lab scale and then implemented at real scale level. Three different Pilot sites with different characteristics (i.e. a University campus, an Energy Centre, Social Housing buildings) have been, in fact, selected in three different countries (Italy, UK, Belgium), in different climatic zones for the validation of the proposed concept. Monitoring campaign showed relevant environmental impacts (in terms of energy savings and CO2 reduced emission), societal impacts (in terms of new job generation) as well as economic impacts (money savings) with interesting opportunities for exploitation of the solutions developed on the market (revenues generation).

In particular the project demonstrated the annual primary energy demand of buildings collated at a district level can be decreased by 20% compared to their expected energy performance summed on an individual building basis can be achieved at Pilot level. Thus relevant impact achieved at Pilot site level allowed on one side to validate the RESILIENT approach and on the other to achieve results that could foster both its replication in other European districts, and the penetration on the market of the developed solutions.

Project Context and Objectives:

The development of energy-efficient, climate resilient and affordable district energy systems in cities is one of the least-cost and most-efficient solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy demand. The increasing variability of both generation (from solar, wind, etc.) and loads requires more and more sophisticated and decentralized decision making.

Today, several concepts have been developed to improve the integration of renewable energy sources (RES) in the grid: Virtual Power Plant (VPP), Micro grid and Energy Hub. The integration of such concepts at the district level – in order to make the area as self-sustaining as possible – does not solve by itself all the complex issues. Firstly, demand and supply do not necessarily take place, for example, concurrently: in an autonomous district it is necessary to (nearly) instantly match local demand to local supply, instead of relying on external grids but typically, VPPs and microgrids do not necessarily take care of this local optimization. Secondly, it is imperative to achieve an overall balance in all energy flows within the district, whether they are electric or thermal, requiring flexible approaches able to deal with multiple energy types (including heat). An energy hub does take care of the conversion among flows, but it is not part of a global optimization scheme and local balancing requires local buffering via storage systems.

These issues indicate that a further integration and interaction between concepts like VPP, microgrids and energy hubs is required, and to be considered if they are tied together in a structured, well-managed and optimized way. The tight integration of Renewable units, cogeneration units, storage units should be embedded into an ICT framework that will support an energy flow smart strategy, and advanced ICT algorithms and networks are absolutely necessary to ensure a seamless system that can tackle all issues above, while being completely transparent for the end users.

In this context the main objective of the RESILIENT project has been to design, develop, install and finally assess energy and environmental benefits of a new integrated concept of interconnectivity between buildings, distributed energy resources, grids and other networks at a district level. This new concept is based on an innovative combination of energy-efficient solutions: the Combined Heat and Power technology (CHP), renewable distributed energy generation technologies (e.g. wind-turbines, PV panels, solar thermal collectors, etc.), heating networks, for energy distribution at a district level, storage technologies, to balance the weather dependent renewable energy production, and the District Energy Management System (DEMS) based on an ICT framework for real-time energy management.

The ee-DIM Information model provides a representation of concepts and their relationships, constraints and operations to specify data semantics, and contains the structured information the ICT framework will rely on. All district elements (e.g. buildings, energy systems, network, users) are formalized in order to allow information to be processed automatically by software tools. The formalization is made using an ontology that defines the elements, their characteristics, their interrelationships, and the constraints to which they are subjected.

The simulation tool (DIMOSIM) allows an easy modelling and simulation of energy concepts in districts and their evaluation in terms of energy, environmental and economic criteria. The DIMOSIM has been also integrated with a replication tool, developed in the framework of the RESILIENT project, that benefits of all functionalities of the existing simulation tool, but with additional functionalities such as the ability to upload 3D files. The replication tool, tested at the Ebbw Vale Pilot site, enables to compare energy concepts and modify parameters in order to find the lowest levels of energy consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as global costs of energy. This tool can be useful for optimisation in urban planning, the design of new districts and refurbishment of existing districts.

The Multi Agent Optimization tool enables to implement different management strategies that can be both Multi-criteria (i.e. Min. Cost, Respect Comfort, Min. CO2 emissions, Max. use of local produced energy) and Multi-flow (i.e. heat and electricity).

The multi agent management system offers several advantages respect to state-of-the-art solutions (i.e. micro grids and virtual power plants) because it takes into consideration multiple actors in the optimisation process, different interrelated energy flows (i.e. electrical and heating), and considers at the same time in the optimisation process the physical constraints, the demand and-supply and the interactions with the energy markets.

Before deployment of the real-time management framework the tool has been tested a district level in the Belgian Pilot site for one year. Several management strategies in a district with four residential buildings (consumers) connected to a network of heating/cooling generators (producers) have been validated. This allowed to determine the optimal commands for the comfort temperature set-point and for the power generation level and minimization of its price and generated CO2, and to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve significant reductions of costs (CO2 and prices) and energy consumption. In the last year of the project the use of the tool has been also implemented at the UK Pilot site.

A part ICT results also a novel technological component consisting an electrical energy storage has been developed and tested in the framework of the project. The electric storage system fulfils the scope of contributing to effectively manage the local renewable energy production.

S&T results – Processes & demonstration

In terms of process & demonstration development main project’s achievements are related to the deployment of technology enhancements foreseen at each Pilot of the three Pilot sites according to the functional and topological characterization of the Pilot.

In the following a summary on the Pilots characteristics and technologies deployment is presented for the Pilot in UK, Belgium and Italy.

The Ebbw Vale site (UK), known as “The Works” combines multiple newly constructed buildings that operate within varying sectors (education, commercial and leisure) on a 78-hectare site that was formerly occupied by a steelworks, which closed in 1982. Demolition and remediation work subsequently enabled the site to be suitable for development, with buildings attached to the District CHP network coming on stream in 2012. Since the beginning of RESILIENT, two 490kW biomass boilers and two 17,500l thermal storage tanks have been installed with a total maximum heat output of Energy Centre to 7780kW. Installation of Solar Photovoltaic modules has been also carried out at EbbW Vale Pilot site in the Learning zone. A new Building Energy Management Strategy was also introduced, including new hardware and software, which were installed to monitor real time losses resulting in closer to 100% of generated heat being retained.

The demonstration site in Belgium is located between Hasselt and Kuringen. The project RESILIENT has been developed in the framework of the larger project “Crutzenstraat” of energy-efficient social housings divided in 3 phases under construction since the project beginning. Phase 3, developed during the RESILIENT project, included heating plant combined with a cogeneration unit and thermal energy storage. The apartments of Phase 3 are inhabited and the CHP has been feeding electricity and heat. Phase 3 includes 28 studios with a community space. I
n most residential houses or dwellings, individual boilers are installed nevertheless this solution makes it difficult to implement renewable energy or other energy efficient techniques on a larger scale thus a different energy strategy has been adopted. In particular a centralised heat pump system in combination with a district heating system and back-up boilers have been considered, and instead of fitting the dwellings with their own individual heating system, a central heating system was installed.

RESILIENT demo in Savona, Italy

The University Campus of Savona (Italy) is located near the motorway junction of Savona. The Savona Campus is made up of 6 main buildings (Lagorio, Marchi, Delfino, Locatelli, Branca, Library). It is composed of: 28 classrooms and 4 study rooms, one Library, 22 centres and research laboratories, 14 companies have their own offices in the campus, Soccer Field, Tennis Court, 60 University Housing, Bar and Canteen university. The Savona Campus is mainly used for academic purposes. Its offices and classes are open from Monday to Friday every week. The classrooms are used intensively during the lesson period (September-December, March-June), while the request for heat and electricity is lower during the exams. In August the campus is closed for a holiday period of two weeks. Most of the buildings present in the Campus receive heat and electricity from a Smart Polygeneration Microgrid (SPM) consisting of several renewable and traditional generating units integrated with storage devices and connected by an electrical grid. In particular this complex grid consists of a micro cogeneration gas turbine fed by natural gas, a photovoltaic field, three solar-powered Stirling engines, two electrical vehicle recharge stations, electrical battery storage, thermal storage devices and absorption chillers. The SPM is connected to the national electrical grid (Enel Distribuzione) in a single point and able to both sell and purchase electrical energy. In February 2014 there has been the official inauguration of the Savona Campus SPM that started to feed in the Campus satisfying its electrical and thermal requests thanks to the installation of two trigenerative microgas turbine units, able to produce heat, power and cooling in summer and thanks to the connection of the Innovative Energy System Laboratory to the SPM where it acts as a cluster of generators as a powerful test bench for control strategies for Distributed Generation technologies.

S&T results- Assessment, replication and concept awareness

In the framework of the assessment, replication and concept awareness domains, different results have been achieved and briefly summarized in the following.

In particular in the assessment domain a detailed evaluation methodology for district energy systems based on different efficiency criteria (i.e. energy, environmental emissions, economic) and the identification of the equipment for validation has been initially done. At the moment indeed there is no standardized and widely accepted methodology for performance evaluation of district energy systems. Each district has its own, specific method, which makes comparison to other districts very difficult. The developed methodology assesses the impact of choices both in the design as well as in the operation phase, by means of a set of performance indicators.

The output is not only a general methodology, but also a software module that can be implemented in district energy management systems. It can help in fact decision-makers and planners in decision-making processes related to the design and operation of district energy systems.

Afterwards an assessment according to the energy/cost savings analysis has been done, showing that both the energy bills, and the GHG emissions, have been reduced at the Pilots thanks to the RESILIENT project.

At the Ebbw Vale site (UK), since the commissioning of the new biomass boilers and the new BEMS Demand Led Energy Strategy, the overall reduction of energy between the period 2014/15 and 2015/16 achieved over 3,600,000 kWh savings, corresponding with financial savings of nearly €20,000 and more than €1,600 a month.

At the Hasselt Pilot site (Belgium) positive learnings, based on one year of measurements, showed that the CHP produced 45,5 MWh electricity over the monitoring period enabling primary energy savings of the CHP amount to 14,6% which corresponds to a CO2 emission reduction of 6 tons. Thanks to the performance of the heat pump, it was proved that the installation of wind turbines could have been a feasible option and it’s been planned that the turbines will be installed in the next phase of the housing project, early 2017.

At the Savona Campus Pilot site (Italy) a complete annual primary energy saving of 482100kWh has been demonstrated via RESILIENT can be achieved, equal to a 15% reduction compared to the previous scenario and a saving of 20% of the CO2 emissions. This interesting results was achieved by the enhancement of the smartness of the demonstration site’s facilities at users’ level (increase of the regulation efficiency, installation of thermostatic valves and reduction of transmission losses). In particular the self-generation by the CHP and PV and the increased role of the cogenerative units in the thermal supply enabled to achieve such significant result.

In the replication domain an analysis of replication opportunities for the RESILIENT approach has been done. The assessment in fact of the positive achievements above mentioned suggests positive RESILIENT concept and the replication potential of innovative business models. In the framework of the project, thanks to the instantiation of novel technologies three novel business models for the production and distribution of electric and thermal energy have been implemented at the three different pilot sites of the project, each with peculiar features in terms of involved end-users, developed technologies and infrastructures, and expected benefits from the main involved actors. An analysis of innovative business models based on multicarrier configurations has been also done enabling to underline the benefits that can arise from RESILIENT concept implementation. Afterwards an extended business model of the Hasselt pilot site for both the electricity and heat supply has been presented. Some additional players and technologies have been added to the business model that may be of interest to be considered and implemented in the pilot site.

RESILIENT demo site in Hasselt, Belgium

Moreover a district replication tool has been developed to assess in a quantified manner the replication opportunities for deploying the concept in other districts. The replication tool is based on the detailed simulation tool DIMOSIM with benefits of all functionalities of the detailed simulation tool. The tool allows the definition of a virtual district from a very simple interface.

A calibration methodology has been developed as a module of the DIMOSIM simulation tool within the RESILIENT project. Thanks to this tool any district can now be simulated either for different measured climates (to consider yearly variations) or also for different countries.

Finally achievements devoted to increase the impact of the project at a worldwide level (concept awareness domain) and to boost its exploitation potential have been reached through standardisation and liaison activities. Standards can foster in fact also the market uptake of project results and standardization represents at the same time an opportunity and a challenge for the future in energy efficiency in buildings. In particular during the course of the project an International Workshop has been organized with CEN-CENELEC representative, Industry representative and RESILIENT partners.

RESILIENT partners took part also to various round tables with international standardization bodies and discussion groups (e.g. VoCAmp, Open Geospatial Consortium). In particular it’s worth pointing out that RESILIENT representatives took part to the International Electrochemical Commission and in particular to the TC120 Electrical energy storage (EES) systems whose aim is to prepare normative documents dealing with the system aspects of electrical energy storage which includes any type of grid-connected energy storages which can both store electrical energy from a grid or any other source and provide electrical energy to a grid. RESILIENT partners have been also committed in liaising also with different EU-funded projects during the course of the project.

In particular RESILIENT in conjunction with the PERFORMER (Grant Agreement N°: 609154) project organized 4 International events (“ICT for sustainable places” in 2013 and “Sustainable Places” in 2014, 2015, 2016), covering all the topics of interest in the Energy-efficient Buildings Public-Private Partnerships (EeB PPP) and smart grid focal areas, that become a reference event, for stakeholders alike to access up-to-date information.

Sustainable Places 2017 (SP2017) is to be held in UK at Teesside University from 28th-30th June 2017, for details please refer to the appropriate links on the current web site.

Moreover clustering activities have been continuously undertaken during the course of the project with the AMBASSADOR project (Grant Agreement N°: 314175) that then took to the development of joint activities. In the last project year the two Consortia decided, in fact, to use a common application case (Savona Campus) for several purposes: use the AMBASSADOR DSP for a new application case, test a further management system on Savona Campus, assess the different approaches both in the simulation environments and in the management systems. RESILIENT liaised also with the SWIMing project (CSA project) to disseminate its approach and data model in the co-funded projects context and have the opportunity to make comparison among similar approaches and data models for energy districts.


During the course of the RESILIENT project it’s been demonstrated the collective optimisation approaches, targeting the district scale, are more efficient than individual building-level approaches. This applied to both the impact of CO2 emissions and energy costs.

In particular as far as the project impact is concerned, the major target of the RESILIENT project was to develop a complete value chain where the annual primary energy demand of buildings collated at a district level can be decreased by 20% compared to their expected energy performance summed on an individual building basis, this energy gain being associated with a decrease of more than 20% of the CO2 emission reference level.

The potential for innovative energy solutions at district level was found in a proper installation of the energy management system and effective monitoring of the pilot sites. The energy system supported the different energy ambitions set by RESILIENT which were tailored to the local circumstances in each of the three pilot sites in UK, Belgium and Italy. The achievement of significant annual energy savings should be quite a nice motivation for cities to investigate the potential of energy districts, and there are plenty of opportunities for further applications as the energy need and increased consumption is common to developed countries.

The software tools developed are also worth the RESILIENT replication. The replication tool developed over the past four years, and validated at the Ebbw Vale Pilot site, enable to compare energy concepts and modify parameters. With this information the lowest levels of energy consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as global costs of energy can be found.

The Multi agent optimization system is also characterized by flexibility and scalability thus facilitating its deployment on different districts. It considers the evolution of the districts and facilitates the management system upgrade and can easily be adapted if new behaviours are detected, for instance, different occupancy, comfort or price conditions. The tools developed can be thus useful for optimisation in urban planning, the design of new districts and refurbishment of existing districts. City planners and district managers can simulate basically every energy district.

The creation of new energy districts alike the RESILIENT concept will be relatively easy from the technical point of view. Nevertheless it has to be pointed out there is a challenge in scaling up, which is the need for a common language. Communication between energy districts has not been standardised yet. Further improvement of this common language and interaction with the energy system will be the next steps in the development of resilient district energy management systems. 

Finally, among the impacts generated by the project it’s interesting to quote the spin off company born from the University of Genova Research Group – Thermochemical Power Group which is named H2Boat, for the development and the commercial exploitation of innovative storage technologies mainly based on hydrogen and the development of energy efficiency solutions for the residential and nautical sector.

Dissemination activities

The goal of dissemination and communication activities performed within the project was to reach the widest dissemination of the foreground generated by the project and raise public awareness on the RESILIENT approach. In particular at the beginning of the project an efficient communication strategy has been be set up and the target audience for RESILIENT communication and dissemination activities has been defined. Different target groups have been identified according with the project theme: experts from the EEB value chain, End-users, facilitators, and according to their role in the value chain. In particular experts from the EEB value chain have been targeted because they are able to give feedback on on-going and foreseen development activities, bring useful inputs related to research findings, existing tools, best practices and market evolution, and contribute in lobbying for future regulations and policies, the end-users have been targeted because they can help define the market needs and give feedback on developed tools, and the facilitators have been included in reasons of their capacity to include project outputs in future guidelines, regulations and policies, and to promote the project objectives and results in their surroundings.

The prioritization in particular allowed to have at a glance a picture of the status of developments of the results and their market potential in the short-medium and long term. Moreover a risk analysis has been carried out to highlight different risks categories (i.e. technological, market, partnership, legal, regulatory) might impact on the KER and to monitor them in order to take mitigation actions if needed and prepare suitable contingency plans. The final status of development for the project’s KERs has been then presented in the appendix of the Deliverable D6.11 due at M48 providing updated characterization of the results in order to highlight its novelty aspects, its reference market analysis to have an outlook of the addressed market status, partners roles in the development, and exploitation route. It’s to be outlined that during the course of the project some results are expected to be exploited just one year after the project end as reported in section 4.2. The potential exploitation strategies discussed during the course of the project kept into consideration both formal and informal IPR protection method. In particular traditional IPR protection based on patenting activity has been undertaken for the project results related to the control and management of thermal energy and different patent applications have been done by representatives from the University of Genoa.

The partners have been indeed involved in the communication actions at national and international level by managing the communication in their specific sector/area of interest/assignment. Each Partner proactively contributed to communicate and disseminate contents related to the project by exploiting their normal relevant communication channels in order to reach the widest audience Europe-wide.

The various dissemination activities carried out by partners have been tracked for monitoring purposes through yearly based Dissemination reporting. Among the various activities particular relevance has been played by the yearly organization of the international event “Sustainable Places” in cooperation with the PERFORMER FP7 project. The organization of this event saw, during different editions, the cooperation of various RESILIENT partners (i.e. CEA, CSTB, University of Genoa, VITO, and D’Appolonia) and this supported once more the cooperation process among the partners committed to achieve a successful event happening.

Exploitation activities

Along with the Dissemination activities the exploitation activities have been also undertaken since the project beginning and an activity monitoring was carried out during the course of the project. In particular two living documents (i.e. the Draft plan for use and dissemination of foreground and Report on exploitation status and perspectives) have been prepared at M12, M24, M36. These reporting enabled to keep track of the status of development of the different project exploitable results. The exploitation activities started since the first project year in particular the first list of the main Items of Innovation (also called Key Exploitable Results – KER) expected to be developed throughout the project was initially defined in M9. A revised list was then prepared at M10 and agreed during the General Assembly at M12. The list has been continuously revised during the course of the project to better define the characterization of the results, the partners contributing to and the exploitation plan. In particular during the course of the project two Exploitation Strategy Seminars have been organized to discuss the results and to carry out their clustering and prioritization.

RESILIENT Coordinator



EU contribution: EUR 771 826,98

Via San Nazaro 19
16145 GENOVA

Activity type: Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)

Administrative contact: Laura Giovanelli
Tel.: +39 010 3628148
Fax: +39 010 3621078

RESILIENT Participants












Infrax, Belgium