COBWEB – revolutionising energy management in buildings

In 2013 Oxford Brookes University’s Low Carbon Building Group secured funding for this project from the Technology Strategy Board, as part of their Future Cities Solutions Competition, which rewards solutions for UK cities facing challenges in energy, data and transportation.

The initial £100k facilitated the development of a prototype data platform for (real time) power and heat usage, with the ability to identify community trends and individual usage patterns in both domestic and commercial buildings, undertaken by a team
of experts headed by the world-leading Low Carbon Building Group of Oxford Brookes University who provide the project with technical expertise on energy, building tools and platforms.

The COBWEB prototype is a next generation and innovative common building energy platform on the web, which has the capability to rapidly data-mine, report, map and track real-time energy usage in domestic and commercial buildings. It has the ability to revolutionise energy management in buildings and if successful, COBWEB can provide a valuable insight into how and why energy demand changes in order for cities to respond quickly.

The team also includes software experts Mastodon C, who provide technical expertise in Big Data platforms, data-mining and visualisations, and Rickaby Thompson Associates, the leading industry experts in building energy who provide commercial and management expertise.

About the Low Carbon Building group

The LCB has an international profile in the field of carbon counting, building performance monitoring, post-occupancy evaluation, low-carbon retrofitting and climate change adaptation of buildings and neighbourhoods. The Group also holds world-leading expertise in the study of thermal comfort, in particular the adaptive approach based on field surveys. Publications from the Group in low-carbon buildings and sustainable design are recognised international references. Other related areas of expertise include: urban energy modelling using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), low carbon communities and design of low-energy buildings in diverse climates.

Oxford’s Science Transit plans

Oxford Science Transit plan aims to transform public transport along the county’s ‘knowledge spine’.

The Science Transit will be a fully integrated public transport system that connects the area’s centres of innovation and economic growth with the two universities.

It will mean that people using Oxford Science Transit will be able to hop on, and off, high-frequency bus and rail services using ‘smart’ tickets (akin to Oyster cards), planning their journeys using real-time information and updates.

Our vision is for an integrated public transport system that is:

  • Developed and promoted as one system using a common branding that will be recognised internationally as world class in urban/inter-urban transport systems

  • Accessed by a single transaction, irrespective of the number of stages to your journey, with cashless payment enabled through the use of the latest smart transaction technology

  • Supported by integrated information systems that provide the traveller with informed choices and allow the operators to manage the transport system as a whole in real-time.

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire

An extra 6,500 ‘hard to reach’ homes and businesses across Oxfordshire will be able to receive high-speed fibre broadband following an additional £5.1 million funding announced on 9th February 21015. Better Broadband for Oxfordshire will now ensure that superfast broadband is available to at least 71,000 homes and businesses across the county by the end of 2017.

The extra money is made up of £1 million from South Oxfordshire District Council, £500,000 from Cherwell District Council, £250,000 from the Vale of the White Horse District Council, £200,000 from Oxfordshire County Council, £1.2m from BT, and a further £1.95m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme.

This injection of new money brings the total investment up to £30.1 million for the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme, which means that at least 95 per cent of all premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24 Mbps and above by the end of 2017. Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, welcomed the new investment saying: “Today’s announcement marks the next step in the transformation of the digital landscape of Oxfordshire. We want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, and this new £5.1 million investment will help us reach thousands more local homes and businesses. By 2017, 95 per cent of the UK will be able to access superfast speeds and I congratulate Better Broadband for Oxfordshire for the remarkable progress they have made already in helping us deliver this.”

The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire partnership roll-out began connecting the first homes and businesses to faster fibre broadband just over a year ago and is now close to enabling 40,000 premises to have access to high-speed fibre broadband. The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire partnership is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which itself recently announced two million homes and businesses around the country are now able to connect to superfast broadband as a result of BDUK.

More details about the communities to benefit from this new funding will be announced later this spring and local people will be able to follow its progress via the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire website:

Planning and surveying on the new phase will begin in the autumn, and engineers from Openreach (BT’s local network business) will start building and installing the fibre and structures before the end of the year, expanding the reach of fibre alongside the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme already underway.

Super Connected Oxford

Oxford has been awarded £5m funding from Government to become a Super Connected City by offering access to faster broadband speeds for businesses and delivering wireless infrastructure that will provide free wireless to all who live, work and visit the city.

Small and medium sized businesses in Oxford can apply for a voucher to enable them to get funding for ultra-fast broadband, under
a broadband connection voucher scheme is funded by government and administered by local authorities.

Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “The voucher scheme is designed to provide support for small and medium sized businesses to set up an ultra-fast broadband connection that will develop their business potential.

“The Council’s scheme is aimed at SMEs that can use ultra-fast connections to expand and grow their businesses across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.”

If you are a small or medium sized business in Oxford you can visit the Connection Vouchers website and register your interest for the broadband connection voucher scheme.