Beca – Balanced European Conservation Approach – ICT services for resource saving in social housing

Acronym BECA
Start date 01/01/2011        End date: 31/12/2013
Program CIP-ICT-PSP-2010-4 Grant Agreement ID: 270981 View Cordis file card
Topic ICT for energy and water efficiency in social housing

Energy efficiency investments are a cost-effective means for decreasing energy consumption, reducing energy bills and reducing the likelihood for energy poverty. The BECA solution, offering resource management (RMS) and awareness, services based (RUAS) on ICT and smart metering, achieved 15% savings for heating, 11% for cold water and 17% for hot water. Savings amount to 570MWh which equals 177tons of CO2 per year. Financial pay-off is achieved by most stakeholders during the first 3 years and by almost all stakeholders after ten year across seven pilot sites in seven countries. The socio-economic net benefit for the BECA project, extrapolated for ten years, amounts to €1.7Million in pilot buildings alone.

BECA website

In BECA, ICT-based services for social housing tenants have been evaluated in 7 pilots in 7countries across Europe as depicted in the map. More than 5,000 social housing tenants have access to BECAResourceAwareness and/or ResourceManagement Services in the pilots, which are designed to evaluate the impact on overall residential energy consumption. In each pilot site an integrated approach is followed, involving a team of different partners with corresponding skills and expertise working together to successfully implement and operate the different services. Typically, a pilot site team includes a social housing provider, an IT service provider responsible for the development and implementation of the web-based services and in some cases also a utility and energy provider.

The BECA solution is based on Smart Meters measuring amounts of energy or water flowing through them and capable of communicating the readings autonomously every few minutes to a centralised server. Two major service categories are distinguished: ResourceAwareness Systems(RUAS), which provide tenants with greatly enhanced, timely feedback about their energy use, and Resource Management Systems (RMS), enabling end users (tenants), housing providers and/or energy providers to manage energy consumption in smart ways, leading to greater efficiency and lower GHG emissions.

Five key stakeholders are identified by the project along with public authorities (policy makers, local city councils). Social housing companies provide living space and are the main reference point for all stakeholders including tenants. Once responsible for reading of traditional meters, the measurement provider adopts a new business model using new technologies often developed by IT-companies. In most pilot sites the energy provider remains passive or, in some cases, is actively hindering access to building infrastructure and / or the collection of data required. Lessons learnt are provided for all stakeholders.