The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a partner in the Smart Village Lab project, the first physical realisation of innovative living lab Green Energy Park. The lab will investigate how living can become smart, sustainable and energy efficient in the future and will be inaugurated in autumn 2020. It was developed in collaboration with VUB research group MOBI and Flux50, the Flemish spearhead energy cluster. VUB’s board of directors approved an investment of €1.6 million for the project. The European Regional Development Fund contributes €300,000 and Interreg North West Europe €800,000.
Smart housing in a smart residential area
The Smart Village Lab consists of several flexible homes that are mainly used for the development of intelligent systems that allow a home to be managed smartly and sustainably. The homes will exchange electrical and thermal energy via a smart energy grid, to which collective energy systems such as neighbourhood batteries and collective charging infrastructure for electric cars are connected.
For example, solar panels can be linked to the car or a home battery, to washing machines or to heating. With the advent of a capacity tariff from 2022, in which peak consumption will determine a portion of energy bills, it will become important to spread electricity consumption. Simultaneous use of, for example, a washing machine, recharging a battery and cooking will significantly increase the bill.
Research, development, training and demonstration
The living lab supports Flemish and European research and development projects. Within these projects, new technologies can immediately be tested and refined in a real environment, which greatly enhances the quality of these projects. The living lab will also be used for education and training and can be visited by schools and the general public. In this way, everyone can become acquainted with these innovations and their importance in the social energy transition.
European and Flemish support
The development of the Smart Village Lab was made possible thanks to the collaboration with Flux50, the Flemish spearhead cluster for energy. It is supporting the development of the living lab under the Interreg project RegEnergy and the European Regional Development Fund Smart Multi Energy Lab (SMEL), together worth €1.1 million. The EVERGi team of the VUB research group MOBI coordinates the research in the field of energy and mobility and is supported by European Horizon2020 and Flemish ICON projects.
Green Energy Park
Green Energy Park was established in a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel. As a Strategic Living Lab Centre, located in the Research Park of Zellik, Green Energy Park stimulates collaboration between companies, knowledge institutions, governments and end users by offering them unique living labs where they can test and refine their innovative developments in a realistic environment. With these living labs and its knowledge, expertise and training centre, Green Energy Park aims to bridge the gap between research and exploitation. It focuses on four research domains: Energy and mobility, Smart regions, Hospital of the future and Bio-tech.