BE-PLATO is a Web-Application developed to provide building stakeholders with a tool to evaluate investments and Renewable Energy Systems (RES) installations. Applying these green technologies would help reduce energy dependence and increase the exploitation of renewable energy sources, reducing CO2 emissions. It is possible to evaluate the performance of several RES technologies, such as Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV), Wind Turbines, micro-CHP, and storage systems, like batteries, Latent Thermal Heat Storage (LHTS) and Solar Hybrid Cooling (SHC). The system, given some weather, economic and building data, delivers to the end-user the best RES installation scenario to meet the economic and structural boundaries of the optimization problem.
A BE-PLATO user must first register the building subject to the evaluation into the platform through the interaction with open-source map services (e.g. OpenStreetMap). This way, the system can extract valuable data like geospatial coordinates (along with weather data) and structural information (roof area and perimeter), used as inputs in the optimization algorithm.
The optimization algorithm (e.g., nonlinear problem solver algorithm such as the Nelder-Mead method) operates to predict the best possible energy configuration by providing the number and the type of RES to be installed in the building location, following the economic, energy and building constraints. BE-PLATO can also predict the overall annual energy consumption, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), the money expenditure and the Return on Investment (ROI).