My colleague Jörn Weißhuhn and I recently participated in a general project meeting of another Horizon 2020 project called DR-BOB (Demand Response in Blocks of Buildings), which has a similar goal to Sim4Blocks. After representatives from DR-BOB joined the Sim4Blocks project meeting in Barcelona in October 2016, this was a second chance to get to know each other better and to find possible synergies and ways to profit from each other’s work.  We travelled to the town of Cluj Napoca, located in the north west of Romania in the district of Transylvania (also known for Count Dracula), where we received a warm welcome from the DR-BOB team. They gave us open access to all parts of the project meeting and to their workshops. It was interesting to see their approach to the topic of demand response in blocks of buildings, which took into account all levels from project management up to detailed technical information.

We were then given the chance to present about the Sim4Blocks consortium, the four demo sites and their specific demand response approaches, and also the work in progress and first results. The following discussion showed various similarities and differences in our approaches and targets.

Implementation of metering and control is a key part of DR-BOB, whereas in Sim4Blocks the metering and control structure exists at the demo sites from previous projects and is only modified for the planned demand response applications. In general, DR-BOB focuses more on commercial, office and public buildings and their HVAC systems. The goal of DR-BOB is to develop a unified control and monitoring approach, while in Sim4Blocks a different approach is used in each pilot site. DR-BOB is pursuing a more market-oriented approach, while Sim4Blocks is doing more comprehensive basic research. This, and the fact that both projects have pilot sites in different European countries, means that they complement each other well. DR-BOB and Sim4Blocks can benefit greatly from each other in future, especially regarding the development of business cases and control strategies as well as to get a comprehensive overview on the potential of demand response throughout Europe.