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Finding smarter energy solutions for Milton Keynes

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer was the only viable source for property footprint and boundary extents that could deliver on the required currency and accuracy for the building to garden ratio calculation.

    Geof Blissitt, Sales Director, SBL Infotech

MK:Smart Future Cities project is a large collaborative initiative, partly funded by HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) and led by The Open University, which will develop innovative solutions to support economic growth in Milton Keynes and help make major strides towards becoming an energy efficient city. Using various locationbased datasets from OS, the council-led consortium is creating an Open Energy Map which will help identify properties suitable for various sustainable energy options.

What were the challenges?

  • Supporting sustainable growth in one of the fastest growing cities in the UK without exceeding the capacity of the infrastructure, and meeting key carbon reduction targets.
  • Developing innovative energy services through creating a state-of-the-art MK Data Hub and demonstrating its business value for the energy sector.
  • Making information about sustainable energy options publically available so that residents and businesses become part of the decision-making process.
  • Collecting, collating and analysing MK energy data from various sources about energy and water consumption, transport data, data acquired through satellite technology, social and economic datasets, and crowdsourced data from social media or specialised apps to create a living Open Energy Map.

What was the solution?

OS provided various geospatial datasets which can be incorporated into an Open Energy Map (which was created by MK:Smart, with MK energy data being fed in and then shared). Large-scale mapping, satellite or aerial imagery as well as geo-referenced address data can identify which properties are suitable for various sustainable energy options. The first focus of the project included analysing residential and commercial gardens’ suitability for ground source heat pumps (GSHP) which extract warmth from the ground to heat radiators and water in the home.

What were the benefits and outcomes?

  • Available garden space – without obstructions such as trees – can be identified for its potential suitability for a GSHP.
  • The suitable properties are then attributed with address information, and numerical data relating to potential yield from an installed GSHP.
  • The GSHP suitability dataset can be fed into the Open Energy Map.
  • Residents and businesses can access the Map from the council website to see if their property is suitable for GSHP installation, as well as the potential yield.
  • The Open Energy Map will provide contact details of local installation companies.
  • As new datasets are created – for example solar roof suitability – these will be added to present a range of options for any given property.

The products used

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