To keep the tool easy accessible and user-friendly, the required data inputs are kept to a minimum. Where additional data is available, the user can input these as well. In other cases, estimates based on statistical and scientific research are used.
The inputs required for the individual companies consist out of three types:
- General information: type of business, size, location in the cluster, working regime;
- Energy use information: forms of primary energy used (electricity, natural gas, steam, etc.), total energy use (optional), energy use profile (optional);
- Energy production information: availability of energy like solar power or waste heat, potential for production of own energy, e.g. roof space suitable for solar panels.
Some inputs are optional, e.g. when the data is (currently) not known. These inputs will then be derived from statistical datasets to estimate the energy consumption and profile. E.g. the specific energy use of different industrial applications can be estimated through life cycle analysis statistics, likewise the energy user per m² of office space can be estimated with historical datasets. Additionally, the yield of a solar power installation on the roof, will be calculated for the given geographic location. If the detailed data, such as the total energy consumption or the yield of an already existing solar power installation is available, it is best to be filled in as to reduce the estimation variance.
The inputs for the business cluster as a whole are primarily legal, economic and spatial constraints. Examples of these are questions such as is the installation of wind turbines allowed, what is the applicable cost of capital and what is the geothermal heat potential of the site. These are parameters that can be found in various national databases.