Optimising public buildings using internet of things and indoor climate systems


Deadline: 30 April 2018, 12:00


In Denmark, 90% of the primary schools struggle with poor indoor climate conditions, including low thermal comfort levels and low air quality. As a consequence, pupils are exposed to unhealthy and unfavourable learning conditions. The situation calls for urgent solutions involving both user involvement and new smart technologies. The project Smart Cities Accelerator addresses this issue. As a first step, researchers have developed a browser-based platform (in Danish) which gives facility management and school staff an opportunity to constructively do technical and behavioural interventions.

Furthermore, using sensors and actuators, the platform will in near future be able to set up modern smart control strategies for the entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)-system of an existing school located in the Høje-Taastrup Municipality outside Copenhagen.


Description of the call

Facing this challenging situation, this open innovation call aims to find new and viable technological solutions which involve the monitoring of classrooms and the automation of HVAC-systems. The solutions, sensors and actuators, should attend to:

  • Connectivity (open source standards are required)
  • Installation costs
  • Running costs
  • Durability

The call will select wireless sensors and actuators with long life batteries and/or energy harvesting systems. Technologies not yet fully developed can also be implemented and evaluated in our field tests. Furthermore, partial solutions are also accepted. Hence, companies developing only specific sensors or actuators are welcome to participate and cooperate with potential partners.

The challenge

The sensors and the actuators must satisfy the following requirements to be considered:

  1. Open communication standards. We are only interested in technologies built on open APIs. Our rationale is that we want to avoid getting locked into a single vendor, once we use its products.
  2. Low installation costs for easy replicability of the field test into other business cases. Our test field is the first step towards a smart retrofit of non-residential, complex buildings.
  3. Minimal running costs (easy maintenance and no need for new batteries) and durability. We want low energy, wireless hardware. We aim to eliminate the need for plugs, and even batteries, when possible. Hence, technologies using solar panels, or other energy harvesting methods, are prioritised.
  4. Cost effective and “plug and play” monitoring network. We strive not to use existing building management-systems (BMS), nor local wireless networks. We wish to build our own networks for data collection and commands exchange among actuators.

Sensors and Actuators Network

We strive to make a cost effective, “plug and play” type monitoring network. The monitoring network will later on collect all the information that is needed to evaluate the indoor climate and the proper functioning of the HVAC-system.

List of sensor types we are interested in (please submit additional types if you think they are valuable within the scope of the project):

  • CO2
  • Temperature (air, surface, return pipe temperatures on radiators, HVAC-system, etc.)
  • Occupancy
  • Light
  • Window and door opening
  • Noise level
  • Relative humidity
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Water flow (heating water)
  • Energy use (heating, electricity)

Furthermore, we are interested in different network technologies (e.g. WIFI, zigbee, LoRaWAN, enocean, etc.).

Actuators Network

List of actuators we are interested in:

  • Radiator thermostats and valve controllers
  • Dampers (ventilation dampers, sometimes needs to integrate with existing dampers)
  • Automatic window motors (opening and closing of windows)

Furthermore, we are interested in different network technologies (e.g. WIFI, zigbee, LoRaWAN, enocean, etc.). We may also allow the use of more than one wireless technology, if necessary.

How the competition works

Stage one:

Proposals can be submitted from 9 April until 30 April 2018, at noon. A selection of finalists will be announced short after the submission deadline.

  • Open for submissions 9 April 2018.
  • A webinar took place on Apr 24, 2018 to present the open call and answer any questions. Click here to listen to the webinar.
  • Deadline for submission of solutions 30 April 2018, at noon.
  • Selection of finalists 2 May 2018.

Stage two:

The selected finalists will be invited to a virtual boot camp and the final pitch event at Høje-Taastrup City Hall on 18 May 2018. Travel costs for up to two members per accepted proposal will be reimbursed by EIT Climate-KIC in accordance with the terms and conditions provided (see the Competition Manual). The winning proposal will receive professional advice and assistance by EIT Climate-KIC on how best to progress with turning their idea into reality.

  • Bootcamp (individually organized maturation process) 4-11 May 2018.
  • Open Innovation Day; final pitch and announcement of final winner 18 May 2018.

Why participate?

Indoor climate in schools is an area subject to increasing interest. Monitoring schools’ indoor climate and controlling their HVAC systems presents new opportunities, both to increase thermal comfort and air quality in the classrooms and to make schools energy efficient.

This open innovation call gives the participant the opportunity to show and demonstrate their products in a real environment that has potential scale beyond the municipality of Høje-Taastrup. At the same time, it will be possible to research and develop products and solutions in collaboration with all the actors in the project and by that qualify the outcome.

Companies traditionally operating in the market of home automation for residential buildings here get a chance to enter the market of non-residential buildings. Working with the Smart Cities Accelerator partners will ensure high degree of quality for the developed solutions.

Competition Manual

The competition manual contains further information about:

  • Competition objectives
  • Specifications and criteria
  • Important dates
  • IPR and legal details
  • The structure of the process and how it will be managed
  • The competition partners and prizes

We highly recommend that you read this document carefully before submitting a solution.

Please download the Competition Manual.

Proposal Template

All solutions must be presented via the submission form linked below. Submissions that are not sent via this route will not be considered.

Submission FormDownload the competition manual

Answers to Competition Questions

Questions and answers related to the competition will continuously be uploaded here.

Q: Is it possible to upload other documents to the application?

A: Yes, it is possible to upload illustrative materials such as illustrations, diagrams, pictures etc. We will not take additional text material into consideration.

Q: Where do I find more details about the consultancy and for Open Innovation Day?

A: We will make sure that you receive all the information that you need for each step you enter. You are always welcome to contact Climate-KIC, Jakob Stolt (jakob.stolt@climate-kic.org) if you have any questions.

Q: Do I need to go to Denmark to participate in the competition?

A: All our events, interviews and consultancy will be offered online in English. You will only need to go to Denmark for the Open Innovation Day, if selected for this.

Q: Is it okay to submit a project only for monitoring, or do we need to have a complete solution including actuators?

A: We do accept partial solutions, even if you are only specialised on a specific sensor, you are welcome to present your ideas.

Q: Do you only considers sensors and actuators with AC/DC plugs?

A: No, we do actually prefer not to have any AC/DC connection. We would also like to have solutions without batteries (energy harvesting solutions, e.g. using small PV panels and small accumulators), or solutions with long lasting batteries.

Q: What is the scale?

A: At the school in Høje-Taastrup Municipality we do have four different buildings, all in the same location, next to each other. We can either go for solutions for one of those buildings (6 to 10 classrooms) or implement solution for the entire school. We also have Sengeløse school as a demonstration site, and the aim is also to include public schools in Lund and Båstad (Sweden), as they are partners in the overall project. Additionally, the Municipality of Copenhagen, Denmark, is also considering using results from this call.

More Q&As will follow.

Partners and Contacts

Organizing partners

Questions and contacts

For further information and questions concerning the competition, please get in touch with:

  • Jakob Stolt, Senior Project Manager, Climate-KIC, phone: +45 28 10 98 92
  • Davide Cali, Postdoc, Technical University of Denmark, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (DTU Compute), phone: +45 45 25 30 95

Contact us: nordicevents@climate-kic.org