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Solutions and Technologies for deep Energy renovation Processes UPtake

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - StepUP (Solutions and Technologies for deep Energy renovation Processes UPtake)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2021-01-31

Deep renovation is key to reduce the current energy demand of the European building stock, which alone accounts for 40% of the EU final energy consumption, and achieve the EU vision of a decarbonised building stock by 2050. Most of the technology to achieve this goal is available on the market today. However, renovation rates are far from the target 3%, and shallow retrofits persist with low impact on energy consumption. Comfort levels are one of the main reasons owners renovate, however this opportunity is not captured in the framing of energy renovation. Current business models rely on public funding, with few incentives for private investment.
The StepUP project will develop a new process for deep energy renovation with fast design to operation feedback loops. This will reduce the performance gap and optimise investments, while scaling up promising Plug&Play technologies to minimise disruption, while maximising impact on energy, costs, and user comfort. The 5 key objectives of StepUP are:
1. Make renovation more attractive and reliable with a new methodology based on near-real time data intelligence to identify cost-optimal, high impact interventions at any stage of the building life;
2. Reduce the performance gap to 10% between design and operations via a life-cycle software platform to plan renovation, identify solutions to reduce energy consumption, improve IEQ, integrate renewables, and optimise operations through continuous monitoring and verification;
3. Minimise time on site to 40% of current renovation time via innovative passive and active technologies to a market-ready modular renovation package of Plug & Play Technologies, including renewable energy generation and storage;
4. Optimise renovation investments via innovative financing models for integrated optimisation of energy, comfort and cost performance over the building life, based on progressive financing and building performance as a service;
5. Accelerate the renovation market via an interoperability protocol for renovation solutions, enabling compatibility with the StepUP solutions to allow the integration of third party market products, fostering an open Plug&Play technological environment accessible to innovative SMEs.
On the tools and methodologies side, work has started on the StepUP business model, via a first version of the Feasibility phase business case tool to provide preliminary financial evaluation of the renovation. The StepUP renovation methodology has been released as a public report, which document describes the main steps of the methodology and the tools which support its implementation. A companion document, the protocol to gather data before and after renovation, has also been released on the project website. A first version of the LEAN methodology to plan renovation projects has been produced and used in the pilots to define the timeline. The main use cases of a renovation project were defined, to create a story map to drive software development. A preliminary version of the software platform is available to be tested in the pilots, including early prototypes of key functionalities, such as uncertainty assessment of the building performance after renovation.
On the technologies side, Technology Provider Clusters were established in Spain and Italy, working groups with external companies providing technologies which are suitable for integration in the P&P StepUP solution. Their feedback has been key to shape a first version of the P&P Protocol, outlining the core principles to integrate third party products with the StepUP technologies. Preparatory testing activities on the P&P technologies included the creation of a mockup of the P&P Envelope from the design of the panel and the production line, the assembly of the façade in the workshop, to transport and installation in a temporary structure. The information collected through this process was used to improve the design of the panels and the production and assembly line. In parallel, SmartHeat has advanced with the definition of a custom Plug&Play container for the storage unit and the creation of a process for the continuous improvement of large heating systems (such as in apartment buildings) which need non-intrusive solutions.
The final pilot buildings were selected in both Hungary and Spain, and the renovation design process has started, including detailed design for the P&P technologies to deploy in both. A first version of calibrated models has been created for the Hungarian and UK (virtual) pilots.
Outreach activities focussed on the creation of the main digital channels and their use for virtual engagement. A first set of digital promotional materials is available, including a timelapse video of the mockup installation. Partners have participated to events aimed at scientific and industrial communities, both at international and national level. The project website hosts the StepUP blog, featuring posts on relevant renovation topics for a wide audience.
To reduce the performance gap, a digital twin software solution, built upon market leading IES tools, will take real-life data from the actual building, filling gaps with AI and Machine Learning, and use it to feed an accurate physics-based model which can be used as an operational model, i.e. an accurate representation of the building at any point in time. This model can then be used to design the renovation solution, with higher accuracy predictions reducing renovation investment risk.
To minimise time on site and accelerate the renovation market, the StepUP project will develop an open P&P Protocol for the interconnection and interoperability of deep renovation technologies available on the market, and fast track to market the two key StepUP P&P Technologies which will be industrialised in the project by Manni (P&P Envelope) and Suntherm (SmartHeat). The P&P Envelope is a pre-assembled envelope solution for deep renovation which can cut down on-site time to almost one third. SUNTHERM has a proven groundbreaking technology with the SmartHeat System for heating storage in homes, which will be scaled up to larger buildings in the StepUP project. This cost-effective solution can be installed by the local plumber and replace existing heating systems with minimal impact on the building operations. The integration of third party and P&P technologies via the open StepUP P&P Protocol for modular solutions will maximise access to the market by innovative SMEs.
To optimise renovation investments, the smartEPC model will be expanded for uptake across Europe. Developed by Energinvest, it integrates performance-based maintenance to develop a building value model to analyse and manage building asset value. smartEPC will integrate condition assessment, comfort and IEQ into contract award criteria, stimulating deep renovation and disconnecting contract duration from payback time and financing horizon, removing a substantial barrier to the deployment of this innovative approach.
These results, deployed through the iterative process of the StepUP Renovation methodology, are expected to reduce the cost, impact and uncertainty of the renovation process, making it a more attractive and reliable investment, in turn increasing renovation rates across Europe to trigger substantial energy and emissions savings.
Hungarian pilot - post-renovation concept
SmartHeat thermal storage
Virtual pilot
P&P Facade mockup
Spanish pilot - post-renovation concept