Living Labs

During the project, 3 Smart Grid laboratories will be developed in the University of Cagliari in Sardinia, the University of Cyprus, and the Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences in Greece. These will be real-life environments based on existing infrastructure such as university dormitories and libraries or administrative and municipality buildings. Throughout the project, Universities and companies will transform them into living labs while taking in consideration that there are people living inside. The purpose of the Living Labs is twofold. First, it will allow the students to test their knowledge in a real life environment, letting them record and assess the response of actual users. Second, it will enable the industry to test their products, further strengthening the cooperation between academia and industry.

In all Living Labs important smart grids technologies such as power generation, storage, controllable loads, measurement systems at several points are illustrated and tested in a real environment with real people living inside. Moreover, the Living Labs allow the students to control certain elements (e.g. charging/discharging of storage based on different settings) and to utilize different communication methods. Most importantly, the students will be able to record and assess the response of the actual users of the pilot installations to any changes in the controllable smart elements (e.g. change of heat pumps settings when excess generated energy is foreseen, etc). Students will therefore greatly benefit by implementing control algorithms on hybrid inverters, analyze real data, examine the social energy behavior, and hence acquiring a hands-on experience on a real installation.

Furthermore, the Living Labs will be freely accessible to the public in terms of visualization of their operating situation through measurements (respecting anonymity where applicable). The developed contents and material will be freely available, as will the Living Labs, which will result in wider utilization by other Universities and students. The methodology will be also open to everyone with clear steps detailing all needed actions to transform a pilot installation into a Living Lab so other Universities can recreate the process.

The Living Lab will enable students through active research activities to realize the actual impact of their choices on a real life establishment with real people living/working inside. Moreover, the private companies will be able to take advantage of the Living labs, for example by putting into test new related products (e.g. new smart meters, thermostats, controlled plugs) in real environments. The transferability potential will further increase by initiating the necessary procedures to enroll the three living labs into the European Network of Living Labs, in which only a small number of Living labs exist in Southern East European countries.