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Smartspaces is something to smile about

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Energy and water wastage could reduce by 10% in Leicester’s public buildings as a result of new project. As part of its commitment to research that has an impact on the public good, a new project by De Montfort University (DMU) aims to reduce energy, gas and water wastage in public buildings across the city of Leicester.

Leicester City Council (LCC) has joined forces with environmental experts at DMU to create the Smartspaces project, which will potentially save up to 10% of energy use.

Energy, gas and water consumption will be electronically monitored in 20 council buildings as well as five buildings on the DMU campus. This information will then be illustrated via easy-to-understand illustrations on a new website www.smartspaces.dmu.ac.uk from 16 January 2014

Good performance is reflected as a happy, green face. Poor performance is reflected as a sad, red face. Yellow faces represent neutral performance. Building users will then be encouraged to find ways to reduce their energy wastage and get their usage back in the green.

Professor Paul Fleming, Director of Sustainable Development at DMU, said: “The way that energy and water use is communicated to building users is critical in helping them to make the right decisions in reducing consumption.”

“Through the Smartspaces project we are using our expertise and data to help users of public buildings to save energy and reduce water use. This keeps energy use down in public buildings which reduces costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Rory Palmer, who leads on climate change, said: “Leicester has always been at the forefront of addressing environmental issues ever since we became the UK’s first Environment City in 1990. The Smartspaces project is a clear demonstration of how we as a city are continuing to address these important issues while at the same time reducing costs and carbon emissions.

“Smartspaces is part of the city’s comprehensive carbon action plan which aims to reduce carbon emissions. If this pilot is successful there is no reason why other institutions and organisations can’t also become Smartspaces.”

The project makes use of the extensive energy metering in public buildings in Leicester which collect electricity, gas and water consumption data in buildings every 30 minutes. It is intended as an invaluable tool for the energy managers responsible for these buildings as they can quickly identify and diagnose problems or see the impact of energy saving measures.

Energy consumption data is combined with an on-line discussion forum where building users communicate and collaborate with other building users and energy managers around the city.