Prosumer example: The sowiso apartment building in Schwyz
Buildings take on an important role regarding greenhouse gas emissions. To cut down on fossil fuels, buildings need to become more energy efficient. But how can this be done? The “sowiso” house in Schwyz demonstrates it. The prosumer example building offers not only a unique view on the Swiss Alps but also modern and sustainable energy management. According to the oxford dictionary a prosumer is “A prospective consumer who is involved in the design, manufacture, or development of a product or service.” (Oxford Dictionary). In the context of energy, we refer to prosumers as buildings or small areas that produce electricity, heat or other energies themselves. The energy production may cover any fraction of the energy usage. Buildings that are producing enough energy to be year-round independent from the public grid are referred to as self-sufficient.
Max-Peter Felchlin, the building owner, has been interested in alternative energies for years. He had already gained experience by building a low-energy house 25 years ago. In comparison, the sowiso house will become even more energy efficient thanks to modern devices and software. smart-me delivers the smart metering system for energy measurement, optimization and billing. In the app or web portal, the tenants and Felchlin call up the energy data for electricity, water and heat in real time. Additionally, the system also integrates the three EV charging stations.
The overall package from smart-me convinced me with all energy measurements, evaluations and online functions.
Electricity from own production
There used to be a pudding factory (“sowiso”) on the property. Today, one of the most modern residential buildings in the canton is located here. In fact, the owner Max-Peter Felchlin had decided early on that the wanted to create a fully automated prosumer building. He therefore planned a solar thermal as well as a PV system. Subsequently, the tenants benefit from cheaper, locally produced PV electricity. Of course, there are also advantages for Felchlin. First, he doesn’t pay the meter rental to the energy supplier. Second, he sells the electricity and heat directly to the tenants. While, all of the excess electricity is sold to the local energy supplier.
Ownconsumption instead of grid infeed
In this prosumer example, tenants receive electricity and heat from the local PV respectively solar thermal system. In order to measure the individual consumption, each apartment and the shared appliances are measures by smart-me devices. These measure energy data and send it via WiFi in the cloud. While electricity is measured directly with the smart-me 3-phase meters, the heat and water meters are wired to the M-Bus gateway. Is also has a WiFi interface and brings the measured values to the cloud. Additionally, smart energy devices such as heat pumps and boilers have been installed.
All of these intelligent components are bundled, monitored, visualized, optimized and billed on the smart-me platform. The energy management system controls the energy consumption in the building with the help of automated if / then actions. Depending on how much energy is produced, the heating, the boiler and the EV charging stations are optimized. Hence, own consumption is increased and thus the profitability of the PV system. As soon as the corresponding electric cars are on the market, they will be used as energy storage. In addition to the web portal, the all-in-one solution also works with an app, on which tenants can access the live energy consumption of their home.
EV Chargers in prosumer communities
Electric cars have enormous economic and ecological potential if they are charged with locally produced solar power. At the time of moving into the building, three charging stations were therefore already installed, one in the underground car park and two in the visitor parking lots. The electrician also prepared the underground car park with ribbon cables for a later expansion of the charging infrastructure. The charging stations are monitored, controlled and billed via the eCarUp backend.