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Geo-clustering to deploy the potential of Energy efficient Buildings across EU

Final Report Summary - GE2O (Geo-clustering to deploy the potential of Energy efficient Buildings across EU)


Executive Summary:

Firstly introduced by E2BA in its “Scope and Vision” document, Geo-clusters are virtual trans-national areas where strong similarities are found in terms of climate, culture and behaviour, construction typologies, economy, energy price and policies, gross domestic product…..

This results in similarities concerning the promotion and use of different types of technological solutions or building materials across European regions. Geo-clusters will therefore support the definition of a coherent set of solutions in energy efficiency, tackling both technological and non-technological barriers and maximising the business potentials.

The GE2O project aims to develop a proof-of-concept of a geo-cluster approach by means of a tool: geo-cluster mapping tool. The geo-cluster mapping tool provides, based on similarities across Europe, relevant information about:

- Where and how a product/system/service/programme can be implemented/applied
- Which product/system/service can be used in a specific situation
- Where are opportunities to develop a new product/system/service/programme

The geo-cluster mapping tool is not based on fixed geographic regions but is to be considered as a dynamic tool combining single or multiple parameters and indicators organised in homogeneous layers and sub-layers.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

• Analysis of existing clusters and initiatives available at European, national and local scale.
• Identification and characterisation of best practices, lessons learnt and potential barriers.
• Identification and characterisation of a first set of layers gathering homogeneous indicators and parameters identified during the analysis.
• Definition of a methodology to correlate the different layers to enable the definition of multidimensional geo-referenced maps.
• Validation of the methodology with two pilot clusters: “Mediterranean Arc” and “Benelux cluster”

ACHIEVEMENTS

• Validation of the concept of a geo-cluster approach by means of a tool.
• Establishment of stakeholders communities across the European geo cluster interested in the continuous grow and exchange of structured information.
• Development of an extensive shared Workspace and a knowledge repository to support networking of the above community.
• Development of a comprehensive Web Portal, serving as reference dissemination tool to all interested stakeholders, with an on-line geo-cluster mapping tool for project partners and members of the established community.

Project Context and Objectives:

Experts acknowledge that energy efficiency in the built environment, including a large deployment of Renewable Energy Sources in districts, would require the definition of holistic solutions which are optimised at European (even global) scale but adapted to local and regional conditions and specificities.

This requires research in systemic approaches, flexible and modular solutions which necessarily involve large industrial players in close cooperation with SMEs and research centres, as well as other relevant stakeholders as promoters, investors and users, covering multi-disciplinarily from basic to applied and pre-normative research, demonstration and training. The present lack of such approaches and solutions form a major bottleneck for massive application of novel solutions and the creation of knowledge based jobs.

It is clear that energy efficiency in buildings will play a major role in responding to climate change and energy issues, if we are able to trigger large scale actions involving EU, all Member States and their regional and local authorities. In this framework, the concept of “Geo-clusters” firstly introduced by E2BA is highly relevant, being virtual trans-national areas where strong similarities are found in terms of climate, culture and behaviour, construction typologies, economy, energy price and policies and gross domestic product, to name a few.

This results in similarities concerning the promotion and use of different types of technological solutions or building materials across European regions. Geo-clusters will therefore support the definition of a coherent set of solutions in energy efficiency, tackling both technological and non-technological barriers and maximising the business potentials. The process of geo-clustering would strengthen a common energy-efficiency strategy to be pursued on a Pan-European level with regards to policies, decisions and measures, fully leveraging on similarities and value networks at cluster level.

Once the political and socio-economic drivers, market approaches and value networks, regulations and financial facilities as well as behavioural and cultural aspects are duly characterised and similarities identified, this will allow developing appropriate solutions and approaches according to the specific needs of different EU regions beyond geographical proximity. Indeed several stakeholders would benefit from the availability of Geo-clusters. For instance Public programme Owners could better design their Energy Efficient Buildings support initiatives by benchmarking similarities in other regions. Promoters and investors can take advantage of similar business experiences. On the other side, industry, in particular SMEs, could more easily identify Lead Markets where entrance barriers are lower for their innovative products or services, by identifying those geoclusters which share similarities from the point of view of financial incentives or loan schemes, climatic conditions, etc. Concerning the users, it could contribute to improve technology adoption and acceptance processes. In this framework, it is clear that the geo-cluster map will not be based on fixed geographic regions, but is to be considered as a multi-dimensional and dynamic tool.

2.1 Concept

The concept behind the GE2O project is based on the possibility to locate similarities across enlarged EU by combining single or multiple parameters and indicators organised in homogeneous layers and sub-layers such as for instance:

- A Technological layer consisting of building typologies, technologies and technical solutions, to name a few;
- A Context layer consisting of climatic conditions (i.e. temperature, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, rain, humidity, pollution, etc.), types of area (i.e. seaside, mountains, etc.), raw materials availability (including for instance kind of waste streams), etc.
- A Socio-economic layer consisting of macroeconomic indicators (energy price incentives and energy policies, ….), living habits and behavioural aspects (i.e. countryside, cities…), construction business process (i.e. stakeholder roles, procurements rules and typical models), etc.
- A Political-strategic layer consisting of applicable building directives and laws, standards and regulations, energy policies, etc.

This concept is schematically presented in Figure 2.1

The different layers can be analysed using a single descriptor, to identify for instance geographical areas which share similarities in climatic conditions or financial incentives, or they can be analysed based on several layers and their corresponding descriptors for more complex investigations. For instance we may want to locate those areas which share similarities from the climate point of view but at the same type sharing common financial incentives or standards/regulations. Once these descriptors have been defined across the layers, a simple and open source state of the art engine would allow to dynamically enquiry the knowledge repository where structured information are available in order to identify similarities. A schematic view is provided Figure 2.2.

Figure 2.2 - Schematic view of the operating principles

As an example, a Local Government wishing to design an Energy efficient programme could locate similarities with other EU regions and could access the knowledge repository to acquire basic and public information concerning programmes, lessons learnt, best practices, failures modes. On the other side, a company having developed an innovative product or service could enquiry the geo-cluster knowledge repository to locate areas which share similarities concerning those parameters that they identified as critical for market take-up, for instance climate conditions and building typologies.

Project Results:

see attached document

Potential Impact:

see attached document

List of Websites:

http://www.geocluster.eu/

see attached document