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Certified smart and integrated living environments for ageing well

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Homes4Life (Certified smart and integrated living environments for ageing well)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-02-28

Age-friendly environments are one of the most effective approaches for responding to demographic ageing, however, there is still a huge building stock not adapted to the needs of older people. Homes4Life addresses this challenge by contributing to the development of a common European framework for age friendly living environments and defining the Homes4Life certification scheme to tackle end-users’ needs and requirements through a holistic and life-course approach integrating construction and ICT solutions. The main long-term objective of Homes4Life is to provide European citizens with better choices for independent living at home and in the community, and leverage investments to update Europe’s built environment.
The direct objective of Homes4Life is to develop a European certification scheme for age-friendly buildings and neighbourhoods that is ready for wide-spread adoption by a dedicated community of lead users.
In conclusion we can confirm that all the objectives and subobjectives of the project have been achieved. The actual outcomes from the project are:
1. Homes4life Vision: It is a document outlining the sector vision at 2040, provides guidelines and tools for stakeholders to create business and policies about age-friendly environments.
2. Taxonomy and KPI definition methodology: The working taxonomy presents a structured and detailed breakdown of what it means for a home to be age friendly. The KPI-framework uses it as its structuring principle.
3. Homes4life Certification Scheme: A new European Certification Scheme for age-friendly housing in Europe. The scheme establishes a new conceptual framework for age-friendly housing.
The main impacts of the project in figures are 11 buildings successfully tested with the Homes4Life Certification Scheme, participation in more than 50 events to disseminate the Vision, Homes4Life Community of Interest of 190+ stakeholders, participation in one book chapter , 3 scientific articles published, and 26 letters of stakeholders committed to support the development of age-friendly environments based on vision and taxonomy, and the post-project exploitation of the Certification Scheme.
During the first and the second Reporting Periods all the objectives have been achieved: 1) the development of an inspirational and realistic long-term vision and working taxonomy of the needs and requirements for the development of age-friendly living environments and 2) the development of a functional brief for the deployment of Homes4Life vision. 3) To develop and validate the Homes4Life certification scheme . 4) To deliver proof of increased future investment into age-friendly living environments. 5) To ensure a wide-spread dissemination and exploitation of Homes4Life results.
To develop and validate the Homes4Life certification scheme on the basis of the functional brief, an approach to the development of the certification scheme was made in the first period, that has been fully developed in the second period of the project. The CS validation phase has been performed through a series of test in 12 buildings distributed over 10 pilot sites in different European countries and has been completed and contrasted through a Call for Comments on the previous versions of the CS.
For the fourth objective of the project, there have been gathered 26 letters from a wide range of organisations to support the development of age-friendly environments based on Homes4Life vision and taxonomy, and especially the post-project exploitation of the Certification Scheme.
For the last objective, during all the project, a big effort has been made to disseminate and communicate the project and its activities participating in several conferences and events and promoting the project in different media and social media and has been created the Homes4Life Community of Interest with a wide range of stakeholders from public authorities to construction and industrial experts, technologists, providers of personal household services and representatives of inhabitants and older adults.
The main exploitable results resulting for the project have been:
• The Homes4Life vision document (WP2): to increase awareness about age-friendly environments for funded research, business opportunities, and policy making.
• The Homes4Life Taxonomy and KPI definition methodology (WP3): will be exploited in the domains of research and policy. In the research arena, the Homes4Life tools can have value as carrier instruments and structuring principles for organization, interpretation and presentation of research and innovation in integrated urban and rural development
• The Homes4Life newly developed and validated European certification scheme (WP4): There are contractual relations foreseen between the organisations which will undertake the different roles in the post-project exploitation. In particular:
o Those who market and sell the certification scheme will pay royalties to the Managing Entity.
o Service contracts will be established between on the one hand the entities performing training and assessments, and on the other hand the ones ensuring marketing & sales.
The developed Homes4Life taxonomy has addressed the gaps and omissions in current discourse on age-friendly homes and ageing well. In particular, the work made served to highlight the importance of the personal, emotional and social aspects of the home environment in defining its fitness for purpose and perceived worth, as well as the lack of coverage of these aspects in current certification and labelling. The results at the end of the project are the development of the Homes4Life certification scheme and the definition of its exploitation strategy.
As the overall objective of the project is to support investment in age friendly living environments the project has defined a strategy to foster the investment in age-friendly living environments among all the stakeholders involved. The strategy includes several retro- and prospective analyses of pilot cases in various member states which illustrate the various business models that can be deployed to support investment decisions into age-friendly housing.
Finally, another purpose of the project is to create a solid Community of Interest around the concept of Homes4Life that can follow once the project ends.
The development of an agreed scheme for European certification, will provide all the stakeholders with an adequate basis for investment decisions in smart living environments for ageing well (both private and public) based on expected returns, and that can really foster an increased investment into building stock fit for the longevity challenge in a future.
From the policy making point of view the consortium considers that the results and knowledge of the project are crucial to continue advocating the importance of affordable and good quality age-friendly housing towards EU institutions and organisations working on active and healthy ageing, putting the focus not only on the physical and architectural aspects of housing, but also on the personal, social and economic aspects of an age-friendly home.
Finally, also, the need to take action to adapt mainstream housing has become more apparent in view of the impact of the Covid19 crisis and this may also accelerate the move away from large-scale residential LTC (Long Term Care). New tools and solutions are needed – Homes4Life and its results can be one of them.
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