Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: By the end of 2020 (2018 for buildings occupied and owned by public authorities), all new buildings should comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive obligations and thus meet 'nearly zero-energy' performance levels using innovative, cost-optimal technologies with integration of renewable energy sources on site or nearby. The drive for nearly zero-energy buildings takes place in the context of the drive for new-buildings towards zero life-cycle material impacts. Moreover, the construction of 'plus-energy' buildings - i.e. buildings producing more energy than they consume - should also be encouraged in order to reduce energy use whilst increasing the share of renewable energies. However the costs of these highly energy performing buildings still represent a barrier for investors. Therefore the construction industry needs to deliver more affordable solutions.


Scope: Projects should focus on development and demonstration of solutions which significantly reduce the cost of new buildings with at least 'nearly zero-energy' performance levels, whilst accelerating significantly the speed with which these buildings and their systems are taken up by the market. The focus should lie on solutions for appropriate indoor air quality and comfort, design adapted to local climate and site, passive solutions (reducing the need for technical building systems which consume energy) or active solutions (covering a high share of the energy demand with renewable energies), building energy management systems (where appropriate), highly efficient Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC, e.g. low temperature systems, solar cooling), electric and/or thermal energy storage of renewable energy onsite and nearby. Projects should also provide solutions for automated and cost-effective maintenance of the installed equipment, and assess differences between predicted and actual energy performance. Such differences should be documented and minimized.


The applied solutions should address the challenge to move towards a 'nearly-zero energy' buildings standard at large scale with demonstration projects that go beyond 'nearly-zero energy' buildings levels to the point where buildings are active contributors to energy production and environmental quality in particular when new districts are planned (e.g. net-zero energy neighbourhoods). The energy balance should be calculated by means of a LCA approach, considering among other issues embodied energy.


Projects should also focus on design methods for on-site and nearby-generation of renewable energy for new buildings (electricity as well as heating and cooling generation, e.g. heat pumps, integrated photovoltaics, or other options) accompanying energy efficiency measures to achieve standards higher than those of 'nearly zero-energy' buildings.


The performance of innovative technologies may be verified through technology verification schemes such as the EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) pilot programme[1].


The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.


This topic will be implemented under the PPP on Energy-efficient Buildings.


The activities are expected to be implemented at TRL 5-7 (please see part G of the General Annexes).


Expected Impact: Significant increase of the share of 'nearly zero-energy' buildings with the aim of 100% market uptake by the end of 2020. Costs reductions of at least 15% compared to current situation, with additional benefits in terms of energy reduction. Demonstration for net-zero energy districts taking advantage of onsite or nearby-generation of renewable energy.


Type of action: Innovation Actions




[1] http://iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu/etv/

Record Number: 664698 / Last updated on: 2015-03-25