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INDUSTRIALISED DURABLE BUILDING ENVELOPE RETROFITTING BY ALL-IN-ONE INTERCONNECTED TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INFINITE (INDUSTRIALISED DURABLE BUILDING ENVELOPE RETROFITTING BY ALL-IN-ONE INTERCONNECTED TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS)

Reporting period: 2022-05-01 to 2023-10-31

Most of EU buildings are highly not energy efficient and strongly energy consuming for heating and cooling, while showing poorly comfortable indoor spaces.
INF. proposes a ground-breaking approach based on robust and reliable technologies and methodologies that will unleash the potential of prefabrication in the construction sector and pave the way to decarbonisation. To do so INF. acts on 5 interconnected pillars:
- Stakeholders' engagement and building stock analysis
- Digital tools
- All-in-one prefabricated envelope technologies development
- Business matching between demand and offer
- Demonstration of best practices.
The Renovation4.0 concept behind the INF. renovation consists in coupling industrialisation + digitalisation to offer tailor-made, eco-compatible, affordable, and cost-effective retrofit solutions based on the concept of prefabricated all-in-one building envelope kits. Morevoer, an Adaptable Building Management Systems (aBMS) can help users (inhabitants and facility managers) to control and optimise the performance of each component, as well as the whole building, during the building operation phase. INF. products and actions integrate a life-cycle perspective to improve all phases of the renovation process from design to end of life.
INF. also aims to open the market for industr. renovation products and services by strengthening the demand-side and matching it with industry needs. As a result, an online knowledge hub will be created to host:
I. open databases of products, solutions, and best practice examples of renovation,
II. an interactive market potential map,
III. and a search and match engine for planners, architects, designers, and builders.
Project partners started focusing firstly on the “demand-side”, identifying the main categories of stakeholders and their needs while matching them with the key features of the industr. all-in-one envelope kits and of the digital tools serving the entire renovation action. As a result, the main outcome achieved is a set of guidelines about the “stakeholders' analysis”. In parallel, the EU building stock has been taken into consideration to evaluate its features and variability against the requirements of the industr. renovation approach. The study has been based on an extensive work of literature review, tech studies, stakeholders' interviews, national contexts investigation. The result is a public report presenting a critical review of the building stock features under the spotlight of the application of the industr. retrofit.
The BIM-Platform (BIM-P), conceived and developed as the new digital environment where all involved in an industr. renovation action can access and share project data timely and seamlessly while keeping working with their own dedicated calculation tools. Moreover, a set of interdiscipl. plugins were developed and released to a first group of stakeholders as standalone tools and interconnected with the BIM-P. They are: (i) LCA and LCC calculations; (ii) Energy and comfort; (iii) Operation and maintenance; (iv) Installation.
Tech Dev: Five multifunctional timber-based façade and roof kits (green, energy and fresh air distribution, smart window, BIPV and BIST) developed and ready to be adopted in the 3 real demo buildings renovations. Achievement reached also through fruitful iterations with a set of consultants (within the INFINITE Consortium), on alternative materials, smart connectors, LCA and LCC, design for assembling and disassembling. Such contributions led to the development of a unified multi-disciplinary set of Key Performance Indicators to evaluate the kits.
Moreover, the main functionalities of the aBMS have been internally released after the development of the user stories answering the main needs of users (mainly inhabitants, facility managers, designers and owners). Finally, the INFINITE nZEB vision has been defined, while mapping the different national regulations to facilitate the design of high-performance norm-compliant buildings.
In terms of Renovation4.0 business definition, the traditional and industrialised retrofit value chains have been mapped and analysed, resulting in a public report. Subsequently, the three most promising business models have been developed, choosing the three possible demand-side stakeholders for which a specific set of technological economically viable solutions have been shortlisted.
Demonstration plays a key role in INFINITE. The three real demo buildings (Italy, Slovenia and France) have undergone a similar path to make INFINITE renovation affordable, effective, and efficient. Local stakeholders collaborated in a permanent working table to facilitate the build-up of consensus. Moreover, all the needed pre-renovation audits have been performed - namely geometrical, energy, structural, and social. These studies identified the building retrofit needs, and the designers have schematically designed the renovation actions, followed up by a preliminary design phase involving all technology providers. The executive design phase has started, and it should be closed by early-2024.
Comm & Diss of INF approach and progress are ongoing. An audience has been created thanks to the project website, social media, periodic newsletter, participation in conferences and events. Comm materials have been created and distributed at events. Finally, a fruitful interaction with the two sister projects ENSNARE and PLURAL, and with closely related projects (DRIVE0, STEPUP, SWITCH2SAVE, GIGAREGIOFACTORY, REMODULEES, MODERATE) has been set to foster the achievement of ambitious targets for the implementation of nZEB renovation practices in Europe. The mid-term conference, a series of workshops and participations in conferences and fairs are increasing the visibility of INFINITE, and spreading out the need to cluster the importance to group around the industr. retrofit approach. This coordinated effort will boost the market penetration of this approach and finally trigger the large-scale deep retrofitting needed to decarbonise the EU building stock.
INFINITE is focused on European residential buildings, being the largest components of the European building stock, responsible for two-thirds of the building energy consumption and presenting the most complex ownership variety. The state of the art shows the implementation of very light renovation projects, mainly boosted by incentives. When talking about overall retrofit performances, such actions reveal themselves to be based on traditional long construction sites, with high rate of waste and inefficiencies, impacts on the inhabitants, risk of technically low-quality solutions.
The Renovation 4.0 approach, defined and fostered by INFINITE, proposes a deeply industrialised renovation action, quick in the implementation, less risky, with high quality components and processes. It will set the bases for long-lasting solutions, while achieving nZEB targets through (i) digitalisation, (ii) new envelope prefabrication integrating all needed functional units, (iii) the creation of a new value-chain and design process, (iv) the LCA-LCC optimisation of the technical solutions and the overall renovation project, (v) an early and deep engagement of all needed stakeholders.
Thanks to INFINITE, the European residential building sector will be able to design and implement long-lasting high quality deep renovation actions and achieve the nZEB energy goal.
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