Press Release

Smart toolkit to boost renovation market

Smart toolkit to boost renovation market 300 450 admin_heart

BRUSSELS, 14/05/2019

Integrating technologies could lead to reducing energy use in social housing by 90%.

Social housing renovation could be transformed by an innovative approach to retrofitting, a new report by Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) and the University of Lyon (ENTPE) has found. The report is a milestone for the HEART project (Holistic Energy and Architectural Retrofit Toolkit), which is developing a multifunctional retrofit toolkit to transform buildings into smart, low-energy homes and offices.

“The market research confirms that HEART’s innovation is unique,” says Claudio Del Pero, HEART Manager and Senior Researcher at POLIMI. “Our holistic approach to integrating renewable retrofit components and tools in a single solution tackles major challenges of deep renovation. This guarantees energy efficiency, affordability, and comfort, improving the sustainability performance of the building.”

The report highlights the regulatory and innovation context of deep renovation, reviews markets across Italy, France, Spain, and Slovenia, and presents the state of play for key retrofit technologies used in the HEART toolkit. According to the European Commission, almost 75% of Europe’s buildings are energy inefficient, and the renovation rate ranges from just 0.4 to 1.2%, depending on the country. Yet minimising energy consumption in buildings – and indeed, developing nearly-zero energy buildings (nZEBs) and positive-energy (or ‘smart’) buildings that can interact with the grid – is central to Europe’s climate and energy policy, and essential for meeting ambitious targets for 2030 and beyond.

“The global climate change challenge may be won only by radically rethinking our energy system. The energy consumption of buildings is a critical part of this system. The results from this report fully support the technological path that HEART has chosen,” says Mohammed Elmankibi, Research Director at ENTPE.

In particular, HEART is targeting social housing as the testbed for the new toolkit. Housing Europe, a network of social housing organisations whose members manage about 11% of households in Europe, is one of 16 partners in the consortium.

“This is a holistic package, that combines all the different elements – photovoltaics, renewables, insulation and so on – for deep renovation, and that can help to choose the most optimal mix and settings. This means that HEART shows how to get the best value, in terms of energy performance and investmentcosts,” says Sébastien Garnier, innovation and project manager at Housing Europe.

The HEART system will be tested on buildings managed by social housing providers, such as Est Métropole Habitat, a social housing organisation managing 16,000 social housing units in eastern Lyon, France. A second test site is owned by ACER (Azienda Casa Emilia-Romagna) Reggio Emilia, a public housing provider in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Over the next two years, after the HEART interventions, the buildings will be in line with nZEB levels of energy consumption (<50 kWh/m2/yr) – and should achieve energy savings of 90%.

These test cases for the HEART system are typical of the target market in Central and Southern Europe: medium-size, multi-storey condominium buildings, constructed in the second half of the 20th century and located in moderate climatic zones. It is estimated that there are around 1,005,000 such buildings in Europe.

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About HEART:

The HEART toolkit incorporates different components and technologies, which cooperate to transform an existing building into a smart building. In developing this toolkit, the project advances and improves energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies in buildings across Europe. Particularly in Central and Southern Europe where climate change is leading to increased electricity consumption both during summer and winter seasons. The core of HEART is a cloud-based computing platform that includes decision-making and energy management features. The HEART toolkit thus becomes the heart of a building, regulating its energy consumption and energy flow.

Announcing the HEART Project

Announcing the HEART Project 300 450 admin_heart

BRUSSELS, 30/01/2018

A toolkit for measuring, tracking, and ultimately increasing energy efficiency in buildings is in the making – discover the new HEART project!

The building sector in Europe is responsible for 41% of final energy consumption, of which 27% is attributable to the residential sector. Climate change is expected to reduce heating demand gradually in northern and north-western Europe while increasing cooling demand in southern Europe, sharpening peak electricity demand during summer. While considerable progress was made in recent years, energy retrofitting of the European building sector must evolve further.

The energy performance of residential buildings in the EU has been a topic of discussion, and on 19 December 2017, the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission reached an agreement on new rules to improve the energy performance of buildings. The EU Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič stated that:

The fight against climate change starts ‘at home’, given that over a third of EU’s emissions is produced by buildings. By renovating and making them smart, we are catching several birds with one stone – the energy bills, people’s health, and the environment.

The new 4-year Horizon 2020 Innovation Action (IA) project – Holistic Energy and Architectural Retrofit Toolkit (HEART) – focuses on improving energy efficiency in the building sector: HEART aims to develop, test and validate a holistic and multi-technological, integrated and interconnected system for the deep rehabilitation of residential buildings.

HEART is a multifunctional retrofit toolkit including different components (ICT, BEMS, HVAC, BIPV and Envelope Technologies) that cooperate to transform an existing building into a smart building. While the toolkit focuses on providing high levels of energy efficiency in existing residential buildings, the concept can be extended to new residential and commercial buildings. The core of HEART is a cloud-based computing platform that can be used as a support tool both in the decision-making phase (design of the retrofit intervention) and in the operating phase (energy management of the building and of its technical systems).

HEART contributes to the improvement of the European building renovation process by measuring retrofit planning and implementation optimization, reducing total energy consumption, reinforcing the integration of renewable energies, rationalizing energy flows inside and between buildings and smart grids, involving stakeholders, and supporting energy financing.

The Coordinator of the HEART project, Professor Niccolò Aste from the Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano says:

The global climate change challenge may be won only by radically rethinking our energy system. One of the most critical aspects of this endeavor is represented by our buildings’ consumptions – heating, cooling and electricity – making up for about 40% of Europe’s total energy budget. The EU’s energy policies aim at realizing nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs), however, the greatest weight of the energy share is due to existing buildings whose low efficiencies risk becoming unsustainable. It is thus utterly important to devise building stock retrofit strategies able to produce concrete solutions effective at a large scale.

The project HEART aims at realizing the transformation of existing buildings into nZEBs through multi-technological synergistic systems in which building envelop and technical plants closely interact to guarantee at the same time the highest levels of efficiency and economical convenience and comfort for tenants. The second challenge I will face in the next years is to coordinate with the same effectiveness the multi-disciplinary team that supports the project and to adequately value the contribution of all the project’s partners.

Uros Stritith, Associate Professor at the University of Ljubljana says:

HEART project focuses on improving energy efficiency in the building sector and aims to develop, test and validate a holistic and multi-technological integrated and interconnected system for the deep rehabilitation of residential buildings. As a person in charge and a head of the Laboratory for Heating Sanitary and Solar Technology and Air-conditioning I will co-ordinate work between coordinator Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) and a partner University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (UL-FME) in the context of HEART project data management as well as experimental and numerical work at specific work packages in on-going project.