Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Europe is facing the challenge of deep rehabilitation of residential buildings (including buildings of historic value) while lowering the costs of refurbishment. Nowadays at the scale of Europe, fossil energy is mainly used in residential buildings for two usages which are space heating and Domestic Hot Water production. Such a large building stock needs innovative, efficient and cost-effective retrofitting solutions to meet the planned net-zero energy standards. Moreover, due to the current economic crisis investment capability in building retrofitting is limited and public incentives tend to decrease. Breakthrough solutions are, therefore, needed which combine affordability along the whole life cycle, reduced maintenance and higher performance reliability with reduced energy use.

Scope: Systemic approaches need to be developed which integrate the most promising cost-effective technologies and materials. The solutions could include, for example, energy use through innovative heat pump systems; combination of renewable energy sources at building level; exploitation of heat recovery for water and air as well as ICT, enabling to adapt the system to the end-user behaviour without losing control of the global efficiency of the system.

In combination and synergy with the efforts addressing envelope improvements to reduce drastically the buildings heat needs, a systemic approach related to space heating and Domestic Hot Water (DHW) needs to be developed, having in mind that in the coming years DHW is going to be the first thermal need in residential buildings. The risk of overheating should be also analysed together with the whole renovation solution.

The district scale, as well as the interactions between the buildings and the thermal and electrical energy networks (i.e. impact on the energy demand) should be taken into account. Innovative solutions with a high degree of flexibility with regard to the grid are required by realising the full potential of ICT and control system solutions. The integration of (compact) thermal energy storage should play a pivotal role as moving the demand from peak periods to other ones or yielding the full potential of renewable. The approach should be based on a methodology incorporating modelling, simulation, virtual reality, with the aim of identifying the optimal cost-effective solutions. Standardisation issues to facilitate integration of system components should be addressed.

Energy efficiency should be addressed by proper system integration and installation, e.g. through synergy between technologies which have already been proven at a small scale and need a larger scale demonstration.

Financial models should be validated too, in order to ensure the feasibility of the replication of deep energy efficiency rehabilitation of residential buildings in Europe, where the current economic crisis originates important socio-economic barriers.

A high replication potential is necessary while taking into account the supply chain issues. At least two demonstration sites should be considered in two different climatic conditions in order to ensure that the technologies are as widely applicable as possible. The impact at district level should be taken into account when defining the overall approach and should be reflected in the selection of the demonstrators.

In addition, to ensure appropriateness of business models, the participation of building owners (private or public organisations) is recommended. User involvement in renovation processes will require special attention, in particular when a deep retrofitting is required. Social and behavioural aspects are critical factors for project success. In parallel, new low intrusive techniques and the utilization of tools and technologies that speed up construction processes with high quality standards are welcome.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national / regional research and innovation programmes and/or cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds in connection with smart specialisation strategies. For this purpose the tools provided by the Smart Specialization Platform, Eye@RIS3 may be useful[1]. The initial exploitation and business plans will address such synergies and/or additional funding. Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project. The results of these activities as well as the envisaged further activities in this respect should be described in the final report of the project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Level 5-7. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

·                Demonstrate innovative retrofitting solutions as real cases approaching net zero energy standards.

·                Reduction of at least 60% in energy consumption compared to the values before renovation while ensuring affordability.

·                Demonstrate a high replicability potential.

·                Return on investment should be below 7 years in the case of deep retrofitting.

·                Advent of a new generation of skilled workers and SME contractors in the construction sector aware of the need of a systemic approach towards energy efficiency should be promoted through the proposed activities.

Type of action: Innovation Actions.

[1]; the relevant Managing Authorities can be found at</p>

Record Number: 665061 / Last updated on: 2015-03-25