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Friendly and Affordable Sustainable Urban Districts Retrofitting

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Tackling the complexity of retrofitting urban districts

Retrofitting entire districts with energy efficient products and techniques is a sustainable and cost-effective approach to reducing heat loss and cutting fuel use, especially in older buildings. However, the sheer scale of the task – combined the fragmented nature of the construction sector – adds complexity to the decision-making process.

Climate Change and Environment

The FASUDIR (Friendly and Affordable Sustainable Urban Districts Retrofitting) project is tackling this issue by developing new business models and related tools that should encourage the growth of sustainable urban retrofitting across Europe. The project’s key instrument is an Integrated Decision Support Tool (IDST), a new methodology supported by a software tool which will help decision-makers select the best retrofitting strategies. FASUDIR is also creating a repository for retrofitting technologies and involving a variety of stakeholders. Project Dissemination Manager, Giulia Barbano, spoke to CORDIS about the project’s latest developments. How is work on the IDST progressing? The IDST is currently under development, with work progressing in parallel on the web interface and the simulation core. Particular effort is being devoted to the visualisation options and the usability of the final software. In the end, the IDST must provide accurate and usable information to users in an appropriate time frame. This is a key issue, as district-scale energy simulation is computationally intensive, while other performance indicators can be calculated effectively in real time. Development of the beta version is due by the end of January 2016. What about the project’s efforts to develop the repository of technologies? The repository was finalised last year and is currently being implemented in the IDST. This will allow users a selection of technologies and systems that can be applied at building and district scale. The work required a substantial design effort in respect to the structure of the repository as sustainability solutions vary greatly in scale, impact and technological complexity. Furthermore, each solution in the database is presented with technical data on energy performance, together with softer information including economic parameters, social impacts, maintenance recommendations and aesthetic considerations. How is FASUDIR involving key actors in the tool’s development? Key actors have been involved from the start of the IDST development through the establishment of Local Project Committees (LPCs), including experts on urban planning and retrofitting in all project countries. The LPCs have convened at key moments, first at the beginning of the project through a consultation on the needs and key issues of the current process for district scale retrofitting, then for an expert review of the developed methodology. The LPCs will be consulted again as the beta version of the IDST is completed for a final usability review, with a first public demo scheduled in February during SBE16 Torino conference. Three diverse urban areas have been chosen to validate FASUDIR’s work, what has happened so far? The chosen case studies are a prefabricated housing district in Budapest, a recent residential development in Frankfurt, and part of the historic city centre of Santiago de Compostela. The three areas are vastly different in climate, population profile and retrofitting needs – and in management and policy context. One of the greatest challenges was to ensure that the development of the methodology and IDST would take into account such diverse needs. This goal was accomplished by the involvement of the demo sites and through the LPC approach. Another key task was collecting the relevant data and involving key local stakeholders. Data collection has proven to be a complex procedure and one that has focused the consortium’s efforts in order to ensure that the IDST can be applied in a variety of cases.


Retrofitting, urban districts, FASUDIR, software, repository, IDST, buildings, construction

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