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Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - syn.ikia (Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

As the world debates actions to combat climate change, the success of reducing greenhouse gas emissions GHG relies largely on the transition to a low carbon and energy-efficient built environment.
The syn.ikia innovation project within the EU Horizon 2020 framework involves 13 partners from seven countries and aims to enable the development of sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods in different climates, contexts and markets in Europe.
Over the course of the project, four real-life plus-energy demo neighbourhood projects tailored to four different climatic zones will be developed, analysed, optimized and monitored, demonstrating the functionality of the plus-energy neighbourhood concept for the rest of Europe. Both new construction and renovation projects will be targeted.
The syn.ikia project will deliver a blueprint for sustainable plus energy buildings and neighbourhoods, leading the way to plus energy districts and cities.
The overall objectives can be summarized as:
1. Implement the syn.ikia solutions in real-life demonstration projects of sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods at four climatic types in Europe;
2. Monitor and evaluate the impact of the demonstrations and the overall project;
3. Deliver guidelines to key stakeholders involved in the design, construction, operation, and management of sustainable plus energy buildings and neighbourhoods;
4. Provide strategies and tools for connecting the building components and energy systems with neighbourhood energy systems to unlock the flexibility potential;
5. Present strategies and tools to maximize the utilization of renewable energy by real-time matching of energy demand and production through flexibility optimization, data intelligence, and IoT devices in integrated systems;
6. Give recommendations and guidelines to policy makers aiming to increase the uptake of sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods and have a direct impact on future innovative policymaking;
7. Facilitate new business models, approaches, and services for financing of plus energy neighbourhoods and to enable commercialization with engagement of relevant market actors;
8. Develop effective strategies to perform replication, exploitation, market upscaling, and reduced investment risk of the plus energy neighbourhoods;
9. Communicate and disseminate activities carried out in syn.ikia and provide plans for exploiting innovations.
From the beginning of the action to the end of the eighteenth-month period, the syn.ikia project was implemented smoothly. The project team was built successfully, and an efficient cooperation was established between the partners. A broad list of activities was executed in a timely manner and all the deliverables were submitted as planned.
The four demonstration projects have been designed to meet the ambitious targets of syn.ikia with respect to energy performance, indoor environment, costs and social. One of the demonstration projects is already under construction, the others are in the design phase. The main results so far include documentation of the integrated design of the demonstration projects, including technical specifications of innovative solutions, performance evaluation, and integrated energy design processes at the neighbourhood scale. Our report on design and performance prediction of the syn.ikia demonstration projects shares comprehensive results of integrated energy and future proof design.
The definition of the evaluation framework for Plus Energy Buildings and its extension to Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods (SPEN) have been the center of activities during the first period.
The SPEN evaluation framework has been extensively disseminated with a communication campaign through the social networks, the project website, and others communication tools and platforms, e.g. BUILDUP.
Moreover, the architecture description of syn.ikia ICT framework (ontology) and the syn.ikia cloud hub have been designed. The communication and security between the edge computers at the demo sites and the cloud hub has been defined, and the respective API has been defined as well.
For the demo cases projects in Spain and in the Netherlands the operational ranges of the active components have been determined and potential operation scenarios for the evaluation of the energy flexibility were proposed. For both demo projects, a building model has been developed. In the upcoming period, simulations will be performed for all potential operation scenarios and a variety of external conditions (weather, occupancy, user behaviour) using the building model to determine the energy flexibility range. The simulation results will be used to propose generic guidelines for realizing energy flexibility in SPENs.
During the first 18 months of the project, the consortium has produced an in-depth overview of the current state of the policy landscape relevant to the development of sustainable positive energy buildings and neighbourhoods. The policy inventory has been completed by a gap analysis of the regulatory framework, providing a robust basis for the ongoing efforts to redefine integrated strategies to the deep decarbonisation of buildings.
Furthermore, a Communication and Dissemination Plan and Strategy was developed, syn.ikia’s online presence was established through a website, social media and online newsletters. The project’s visual identity was consolidated, and several dissemination materials were produced such as flyers, videos and banners. Syn.ikia’s scientific research was promoted through workshops, conferences and media campaigns and an online community of stakeholders was set up to inspire, connect and create synergies around SPEN.
Expected results beyond the state-of-the art include the demonstration and documentation of scalable solutions for sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods in different climates and contexts. This will be achieved by integrated design, construction, monitoring and evaluation of four real-life demonstration projects, demonstrating the multiple benefits of such neighbourhoods: more than 100% energy savings, 90% renewable energy generation triggered, 100% GHG emission reduction, and 10% life cycle costs reduction, compared to the 2020 nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB).
The results will serve as basis for design guidelines for sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods, as well as for revising codes and regulations across the EU.
The policy analysis will be followed up by recommendations articulating the strategic contribution of SPENs to achieve climate and energy targets as they tackle larger-scale projects, simultaneously improving community facilities, health, wellbeing, safety and public spaces. Further work will develop a replicable methodology for the capturing and valuation of multiple benefits that will improve the business case and decision-making of political, financial and built environment stakeholders.
In the next months, syn.ikia will expand its online and media presence by focusing on the promotion of the demo neighbourhoods. For this, not only already established channels will be used but also new formats like podcasts, infographics and digital handbooks. An online decision-support system will be developed for resident engagement and satisfaction in the neighbourhoods. Syn.ikia’s online community of stakeholders will grow and consolidate its members and an increased collaboration should be expected with fellow EU projects.