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Assistant Buildings’ addition to Retrofit, Adopt, Cure And Develop the Actual Buildings up to zeRo energy, Activating a market for deep renovation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ABRACADABRA (Assistant Buildings’ addition to Retrofit, Adopt, Cure And Develop the Actual Buildings up to zeRo energy, Activating a market for deep renovation)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-02-28

EU dwelling stock accounts for about 200 millions units, representing around 27% of energy consumption in the EU. Three-quarters of the buildings standing today, including the residential stock, are expected to remain in use in 2050. So far, only about the 1,2% of EU’s existing buildings are renovated every year. EU’s energy efficiency challenge in buildings mainly concerns the energy efficient refurbishment and investments in its existing buildings stock. Yet, there is a clear investment gap in this sector and in particular in the housing market. This is due to the fact that high investments are required up-front and characterized by a high degree of risk with potential limited return on investments; furthermore, there is a generalized lack of confidence by both public and private investors (including owners and financial institutions).
Therefore it is necessary to develop harmonized actions that can help unlocking the public and private finance sources, fill the energy efficiency investment gap and ultimately contribute to re-launch the construction market and create new jobs.
In order to reach this, ABRACADABRA shares knowledge, builds capacity and capitalizes on all possible win-win solutions that may arise from the mutual collaboration of key financial actors, decision-makers and social stakeholders at national and EU level. These win-win solutions are based on the prior assumption that non-energy related benefits play a key role in the deep renovation of existing buildings.
In particular, ABRA actions focus on the following main benefit: the generation of a substantial increase of the real estate value of the buildings through significant energy and architectural transformation (mainly integration of Renewable Energy Sources systems with new volume additions or new buildings’ construction) to go beyond the minimum energy performance and aim at achieving Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs). This aims to result in an important reduction of the pay-back time of the interventions, a strengthening of the key investors’ confidence, a higher quality and attractiveness of existing buildings and, finally, concrete market acceleration towards energy efficient buildings and nZEBs. Thus, this comprehensive renovation process bringing the existing building to a very high-energy performance level will be linked to the economic, financial, environmental and social co-benefits of deep renovations, taking into account the pay-back time and net present value of investments.
Several studies have been already carried out to overcome some of these barriers. By building on top of these studies, ABRA proposal aims at demonstrating to the main stakeholders the attractiveness of a renovation strategy based on new Assistant buildings’ addition and Renewable Energy Sources (AdoREs); by AdoREs we refer to one (or o set of) assistant building unit(s) like aside or façade additions, rooftop extensions or even an entire new buildings adopting the existing buildings (the assisted buildings) to deeply and comprehensively renovate them up to nZEB.
At the urban scale, ABRA proposal is thus based on the implementation of a punctual densification policy proposed as a tool to foster the investments in the deep renovation of the existing built environment in the peripheral/consolidated areas around the historical centers.
ABRA proposal combines different domains, especially “the creation of new building” for the renovation of old ones, providing the economic circle with trust and bankability and ensuring a return of the investment.
To achieve the afore-mentioned objectives and overcome the technical, legislative, financial and social barriers to the adoption of deep renovation and nZEB retrofitting of existing buildings, ABRA consortium has implemented the following work plan, and in particular:
1. Has successfully managed the overall activities of the project (WP1)
2. Has developed the technical, financial and regulatory Abracadabra toolkits focused on nZEB renovation through the AdoREs and documents supporting policies/norms to regulate AdoREs (Tool-kits and policy recommendation in WP2). The first set of feasibility studies has been carried out on the 11 pilot buildings.
3. Has designed (WP2), shared (WP3), discussed, (WP3, WP4), and amended (WP3, WP4) new strategies for Deep Renovation through AdoREs to ensure a stable investment climate for financial and market actors;
4. Has established and engaged groups of local stakeholders (market actors, policy makers, etc.) to be committed and involved in National and local Stakeholders’ Community (the national SCs) in discussing and amending draft versions of the toolkits and of the policy supporting papers the replication of successful retrofitting actions (WP3);
5. Has managed the first four International Workshops (WP4), elaborating the contributions of the National Stakeholders’ Community (SC) and has produced harmonised EU documents;
6. Has started engaging the exchange information and collection of feedbacks from other stakeholders outside the target countries, thus enhancing and further capitalising knowledge on AdoREs (WP3, WP4, WP5);
7. Has designed a set of instruments for data collection and engagement for further promising case studies, in order to disseminate ABRA methodology (WP 3);
8. Has drafted the potential contribution and implementation of ABRACADABRA in the CA EPBD (WP4);
9. Has initiated the dissemination of the preliminary results using an open web platform to upload and download ABRA tool kits, documents, design proposals, draft norms etc. to involve other professionals, construction companies, ESCOs, real estate investors, policy decision-makers and financial institutions (WP5).
The innovation character of the ABRA project beyond the state of the art lies in combining different key players of the Deep Renovation sectors that could potentially be involved in the AdoREs strategy: administrations/owners of public and private buildings, building construction components, RES policy-makers and market actors. In particular, the project has implemented – via the National Meetings and the International Workshops - interactions between different and often segmented building market actors to properly match the complexity of deep renovation and to find win-win AdoREs solutions. In particular, as far as it regards the activities that can remove governance barriers and support development and implementation of sustainable energy policies and legislation at EU, national and local level), ABRACADABRA has involved policy makers (in particular during the 3th round of National Meetings and the International Workshop on regulatory aspects), trying to strength a dialogue between them and the key market actors. By combining energy, environmental, social and real estate market, ABRA aims at triggering the legislative and the market disruption accelerating the revolution towards nearly Zero Energy in existing buildings.