A new EU wide research initiative to significantly reduce the energy consumption of public buildings has been launched in a joint partnership between De Montfort University (DMU) and Leicester City Council.

SMARTSPACES is a three year project that will enable public authorities across Europe to significantly improve the management of energy in their buildings by exploiting ICT such as smart monitoring. The project, with a value of more than six million euros, is led by the German consultancy firm, Empirica, and includes 11 pilot sites with more than 550 buildings in eight countries.

In addition to partnering with Leicester City Council to develop systems to engage with users, managers and visitors of 20 public buildings, De Montfort University will take the lead in evaluating the success of the entire project, drawing on the university’s extensive expertise in the analysis of energy and municipal buildings.

DMU director of sustainable development, professor Paul Fleming, said, “The buildings sector represents a huge, largely untapped potential for energy savings. Public buildings make up 12% of all buildings in the EU and along with the residential buildings contribute 40% to total EU energy consumption.

“This project is a great example of DMU using its expertise in sustainability to reduce energy consumption in buildings on an international scale.”

The project, which began in early 2012, is co-funded by the European Commission with the CIP Policy Support Programme.