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Certified smart and integrated living environments for ageing well

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Homes4Life (Certified smart and integrated living environments for ageing well)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30

Age-friendly environments are one of the most effective approaches for responding to demographic ageing and increasing the Healthy Life Year indicator. However, there is still a huge building stock not adapted to the needs of older people. Even today, new buildings don´t yet properly address the need for creating smart living environments for ageing well.
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. Homes4Life scheme aims to foster (public and private) investments making explicit the benefits for each stakeholder of transforming the building stock into a smart and integrated age friendly living environment.
The main long-term objective of Homes4Life is to provide European citizens with better choices for independent living at home and in the community, supported by the full range of digital opportunities, and leverage investments to update Europe’s built environment so that it is ready to meet the challenges of home-based independent living models.
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.
The sub-objectives and main outputs are:
1. An inspirational and realistic long-term vision and working taxonomy of the needs and requirements for the development of age-friendly living environments.
2. A functional brief for the deployment of Homes4Life vision, that overcomes the gaps detected in R&I projects and certification/labelling schemes.
3. The Homes4Life certification scheme on the basis of the Homes4Life functional brief.
4. The proof of increased future investment into age-friendly living environments.
5. A wide-spread dissemination and exploitation of Homes4Life results.
During the first Reporting Period two main 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.
For the first one,the vision and working taxonomy of the needs and requirements for the development of age-friendly living environments different activities have been made:
It has been analysed the socio-economic context in different member states in order to identify the flexibility required by Homes4Life certification scheme for its successful deployment in all over Europe (variation in ICT deployment and technical gaps, different levels of digital literacy, different social structures of housing, ownership structures, experts consultation) and it has also been done an overview of 67 ongoing experiments in the domain of age-friendly housing all over Europe. All this has led to the development of a 2040 vision document on the impacts derived from the adoption and implementation of age friendly living environments in Europe which will be disseminated among all relevant stakeholders. This Vision document focuses on the key factors aimed at supporting the development of an age-friendly housing approach. It will be used for dissemination among all the stakeholders and for exploitation purposes of the certification scheme.
At the same time,and aligned with these activities, based on the vision and all the work done, the working taxonomy of the needs and requirements for age-friendly living environments (social interactions, wellness, socio-economic options... ) has been developed with the objective of presenting a structured and detailed breakdown of what it means for a home to be age-friendly. It is the basis for the development of the KPI-framework, which in turn informs the development of the Homes4Life Certification Scheme later in the project.
For the second achievement, the functional brief for the deployment of Homes4Life vision, several activities have been conducted:
The follow-on step ,after the working taxonomy, has been to work in the transition from vision-based, high-level concepts to a comprehensive, “universal” set of indicators that can form the basis for more specific requirement-setting and verification in the certification pilots in further steps of the project (the KPI framework). To achieve this objective have been identified among the existing certification schemes, guidelines and initiatives around age-friendly housing and in the existing research and innovation (R&I) initiatives, gaps or uncovered fields that are fundamental for the Homes4Life Certification Scheme. With the KPI framework already identified the functional brief has been defined. This functional brief formalizes the need of the Homes4Life certification scheme around Age-Friendly Housing, and it details the expected functionalities of the certification scheme as well as the constraints it will have to face.
In this period, a first approach to the development of the Homes4Life certification scheme has been made, which will be fully developed in the second period of the project.
During this period, 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. It has also 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 developed Homes4Life taxonomy has addressed the gaps and omissions in current discourse on age-friendly homes and ageing well. In particular, the work made in the first year has 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 expected results until 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 will also define the strategy to foster the investment in age-friendly living environments among all the stakeholders involved.
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 with potential for widespread adoption across Europe, would 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 could really foster an increased investment into building stock fit for the longevity challenge in a future. The impacts of this would be:
• Savings and return of investment both for individuals and society reached with the renovation of a dwelling with Homes4Life criteria.
• Social and comfort intangible benefits derived from the increase of self-sufficiency living at home.
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