In the framework of the Built4People (B4P) Partnership, CINEA and DG ENER organized a clustering meeting on September 25th in Brussels, which gathered innovative EU-funded projects. e-SAFE was present, together with NEBULA, DRIVE 0, RINNO, Surefit, InCUBE, INPERSO, EBENTO, FORTESIE, AEGIR, RE-SKIN, REHOUSE.
Robert Goodchild (CINEA) and Carlos Sanchez Rivero (DG ENER) kicked off the meeting by setting the scene: Energy Efficiency targets have been reinforced (11.7% of consumption reduction compared to the 2020 baseline) through the EED. The EED also has direct reference to crucial topics enshrined in the EPBD, such as Minimum Energy Performance Standards, Building Renovation Passports, one-stop-shops and more. While a significant budget has been allocated for climate, energy and mobility, there is a need to break silos and exchange, discuss challenges and find solutions between local, national and EU stakeholders working actively on these topics.
Alain Zarli (ECTP), Anastasiya Yurchyshyna (NEBULA project) and Noelia Ortiz Santiso (ERAIKUNE Construction Cluster) then gave an introduction on the Built4People partnership which objectives are to contribute to a highly energy efficient and climate neutral EU building stock by 2050. The B4P Innovation Clusters have common ambitions to increase their interdisciplinarity, their multi-sectoral coverage, and their European outreach.
After this, participants came to the stage to present the technologies they are developing within each project, how they are applying them to pilot sites and what impacts they are planning to have in terms of buildings’ decarbonization.
For e-SAFE, the coordinator Giuseppe Margani together with Gianpiero Evola from UNICT gave a brilliant presentation about the project’s innovative solutions!
Participants then broke into 2 groups to brainstorm about 1) Innovative technological solutions and 2) Digital solutions, business models and construction workflows. This represented a unique opportunity to discuss common challenges between projects, lessons learned but also to draft potential policy recommendations.
Participants in the first group (Innovative technological solutions), identified several challenges, such as the lack of awareness and understanding of the benefits, affordability, as well as regulatory constraints at local level preventing fast implementation of such solutions.
Drawing on their experience, participants drafted several potential policy recommendations, in the fields of financing, regulation, and standardization:
- Finance scale-up of pilot cases.
- Adapt fiscal incentives to 1) consider real performance of buildings and 2) encourage circularity of material used (recycled material over new).
- Better integration of various financing tools into one single, long-standing programme.
- Improve the reliability and enforcement of EPCs (update when building is in use according to actual performances)
- Develop an integrated approach for regulation on Energy efficiency and air quality, noise, light, seismic protection.
- Consider evolving conditions due to climate change (in particular for heat wave)
The second group (Digital solutions, business models and construction workflows) also identified key challenges:
- Technical: sharing, accessibility and interoperability of data; and limited replicability potential given the diversity of the EU building stock.
- Socio-economic: Costs and competitiveness, financing, acceptability and lack of awareness.
- Value chain: Fragmentation of the value chain, with a lot of SMEs; low digitalization of the construction industry; lack of digital skills and lack of workforce.
- Regulatory: Complex certification or framework missing; Complex regulatory framework, with renovation not compulsory; Incentives not always adequate.
Participants put forward some common lessons learned. First of all, given the low awareness, reluctancy, and lack of trust that project partners can sometimes face, developing co-design activities with occupants and other stakeholders is key. There are also some risks related to developing innovative technologies; in fact, it is often complex to demonstrate in real life (certification issue), not to forget risk of bankruptcy. Construction companies are also dependent on the supply chain, with rising costs and a shortage of materials.
Building on these challenges lessons learned, participants were able to draft some preliminary policy recommendations:
After an intense and fruitful workshop, Mathieu Daloze from DG ENER concluded the event by thanking all participants and announcing the upcoming projects financed under the 2023 Built4People call.
We're immensely thankful for being part of these insightful discussions about the future of Europe's built environment sector. The e-SAFE project and consortium have gained valuable insights through this day of exchange and discussion with experienced colleagues.
We look forward to future events like this!