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ICT tools to foster Small and Medium Enterprises collaboration in energy retrofitting sector

InternationalConference on “Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions 2015”

Session n° 4

 Author(s): Fabio Disconzi[1], Arturo Lorenzoni[2]


Title: ICT tools to foster Small and Medium Enterprises collaboration in energy retrofitting sector


Keywords: energy efficiency, business model, collaborative tools, SMEs development, local development

Since decades the European Commission has turned the spotlights on energy efficiency in the building sector. While the technological domain has been investigated achieving interesting results, on the organizational and financial sides there is still a lot of room for new advancements.

Especially in certain countries, the construction sector has to face a lot of challenges. The highly fragmented markets, the cumbersome organizational models adopted by big enterprises on one hand and the lack of knowledge and skills of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the other hand, the perpetual variability of supporting schemes and the plethora of regulation frameworks represent huge barriers in leveraging new ways to collaborate.

Focused on SMEs, NewBEE EU-project sheds a light on innovative methodologies to set-up new collaborative business models in the energy-retrofitting sector which may accelerate the transition towards more sustainable buildings and cities.

SMEs currently face two main problems: a) the availability of easy to access knowledge and b) the ineffectiveness of existing organizational and business models. To tackle these issues, NewBEE provides a comprehensive ICT platform to foster innovative methodologies facilitating the collaboration of actors of energy retrofitting chain enabling the adoption of the business models.

The paper briefly introduces the NewBEE project approach followed by the description of the core modules of the tools:

a.            Prompt and accessible information about emerging technologies and business model are collected in the information repository.

b.            The pre-assessment tool lets buildings’ owners to roughly estimate the energy saving potentials of common renovation processes, receiving an order of magnitude of the investment’s economics.

c.            The virtual breeding environment is the main module of the tool: it is where SMEs collaborate putting in place virtual collaborative networks to make a proposal.

d.            The financial simulator enables building owners, investors and SMEs to understand the effects of different financing schemes and the implications of energy costs variations on the profitability of the investment.

e.            The energy assessment module provides a professional tool to simulate the building performance before and after the refurbishment process.

The application of the NewBEE methodology has been tested in 4 real business cases: Spain, Slovenia, Germany and Finland. Recommendations raised during the demonstration phase are reported.

In a market traditional like the building one, NewBEE project shows how innovative ICT technologies may help SMEs to fine-tune their business model, creating opportunities to collaborate both in a virtual and real way.


Presentation: oral 

[1] Collaborator, University of Padua, .

[2] Professor, University of Padua, .