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08
May
2012

VTT tests self-sufficient apartment

VTT has built an energy self-sufficient test apartment in Oulu, Finland, for the research and development of building-specific energy production.
The research environment, connected to the electricity distribution network, produces the energy required for living and motoring with its own solar and wind power.

The roof of VTT’s research environment holds a 5.5 kilowatt wind power plant and around 20 square metres of solar cells generating 4 kilowatts. Together, they produce enough electricity for living and running an electric car. The test apartment is used as accommodation for visiting scientists, and it is located in connection with VTT’s offices in Linnanmaa, Oulu. VTT’s test apartment can be lived in for around two days with no external energy.

“It would be a major step into this direction for Finland, if we were to start using electric cars powered by renewable energy sources for private transportation in urban traffic. Intelligent energy solutions would also promote change in consumer habits towards lower energy consumption and costs”, says Jussi Paakkari, Vice President, R&D, ICT at VTT.

“We are talking about a complete solution including a renewable energy production unit, a wind power plant, solar panels, electric car, electricity storages and an ecological apartment, graphical displays and a database solution allowing one to monitor the electricity consumption”, recounts Klaus Känsälä, Senior Research Scientist at VTT.

The apartment is equipped with normal, energy-saving household appliances and other equipment. Lighting is optimised, based on a low-voltage network using 24 VDC voltage. The resident can affect the energy consumption through his or her choices.

VTT is collecting data of the apartment’s consumption and production and the choices made by the residents in its database. Consumption data is stored in the database at one-minute intervals. VTT’s research scientists utilise the data in designing future forms of living and sizing the new systems. The test apartment helps VTT to study what are the benefits of energy self-sufficient living for the consumer.
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