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FASUDIR newsletter #1

Updates on the first 9 project months

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Welcome to FASUDIR!

by Ander Romero Amorrortu, FASUDIR Coordinator (Tecnalia)

We are pleased to invite you to read the first newsletter of the EU FP7 project FASUDIR (Friendly and Affordable Sustainable Urban Districts Retrofitting).

Our mission is to support the necessary building-retrofitting market mobilization in Europe to fulfill EU-targets in 2020 and 2050. The key instrument will be the Integrated Decision Support Tool (IDST), developed to help decision makers to select the best energy retrofitting strategy to increase the sustainability of the whole district.

FASUDIR will give a holistic view to the Governments, Municipalities, and in general to the stakeholders involved in the urban planning about the existing possibilities as well as the constraints that they will have to face when retrofitting the district or the community. FASUDIR aims to be a decision tool that will allow Authorities to introduce energy efficiency measures, renewable energy technologies and other energy-related actions in the development of districts retrofitting.

I hope you all enjoy our first newsletter. It is the first in a series designed to communicate our findings and progress. Should you need more information please visit our webpage or get in touch.

Project overview

Energy retrofitting of buildings is envisaged as the most promising strategy to reach EU’s “20-20-20” targets. However, the traditional approach to the building energy efficient retrofitting brings poor results in relation to urban sustainability, resource efficiency and economic return. The district retrofitting approach is frequently the most sustainable and cost-effective, but the selection of the most appropriate technologies and retrofitting strategies for each specific project can become very complicated due to the large amount of factors to be taken into account.

The objective of the FASUDIR project is to develop an integrated software tool that supports decision making in retrofitting projects. The tool is based on a new methodology that will evaluate the global sustainability of the retrofitting scenarios, providing recommendations based on metrics and novel indicators to increase the energy efficiency, without penalizing and preferably enhancing the global sustainability, resource efficiency and the environment of the district.

FASUDIR’s IDST will incorporate key actors and relevant networks at the district scale and the entire value chain, and will ensure that new technologies for energy and resource efficient retrofitting are incorporated. FASUDIR takes advantage of the economies of scales and the variety of stakeholders when scaling up to the district, giving more opportunities for the development of new business and financial models with high impact in the economy. The developed methodology and software tool will be validated in three diverse urban areas, including a variety of historical periods. With stakeholder feedback loops, training, and validation, the IDST will ensure robustness and applicability in the entire value chain.


Case study focus: Budapest

by Ida Kiss (ABUD)

The Budapest case study site – Zsókavár - is located in the suburbs of Budapest, at the edge of the city. The site is made up of prefabricated housing blocks and public buildings, built in the 1970s on 0.27 hectares area, and is home to about 1400 citizens (616 flats). There are various types of buildings (low-rise public buildings, 11-storey towers and longitudinal blocks) typical of the housing estates of the era.

The general condition of the buildings until recently was really poor, which also resulted in the social segregation of the area. The population is ageing and the owners are indebted, many household are unable to pay the operational costs of their apartments, which are really high due to the uncontrollable heating and high infiltration losses (it is common that the overheating of rooms is compensated by the opening of windows during wintertime). The public spaces were also unmaintained and degraded.

Thanks to the specific grants of the last decade addressed to the rehabilitation of prefabricated housing blocks the energy retrofit of these types of buildings is spreading, however there are great differences in depth of renovation depending on the financial sources of the projects.

The energy retrofit of the case study site started three years ago and is being realized in 4 phases, however the last phase will be delayed or even cancelled due to lack of subsidies. The first phase received a higher rate of subsidy and the applied technical solutions are better (16 cm rockwool insulation), while in the later phases the retrofit solutions were cheaper (10-12 cm EPS insulation) with the lower rate of subsidy. In parallel with the energy retrofit, the renewal of public spaces is also being realized.

The FASUDIR tool will be validated on the project by counter-checking the improved performance of the already retrofitted buildings and help the decision-makers in the preparation of future projects for better optimizing their investments.

The work so far

Task 2.1 - Analysis of European buildings and districts

by Margherita Scotto (D'Appolonia)

The work has been organized analyzing the European urban districts, trying to identify typical building and district typologies in Europe and associated energy consumption patterns - at least in the countries represented in the project. This activity had allowed to define a proposition of building typologies for the FASUDIR project aims that includes nine categories and depends on their primary use: Single-family houses, Apartment blocks, Offices, Education buildings, Hospitals, Hotels and restaurants, Sport facilities, Wholesale and retail trade services buildings, Other energy consuming buildings.

Additionally, in D2.1 it was included the list of parameters and data that should be available for the Building and District sustainability assessment. Existing databases and processes have been analyzed and a comparative analysis has been included.

From the analysis performed it was noticed that the building retrofitting activities are managed as single actions, considering them as stand-alone elements, ignoring the interaction between them and the district scale highlighting by the contrary the need to develop a user friendly decision support tool.

In order to carry out the initial diagnosis, many data have to be entered in the energy model and KPIs calculation tools. These data have been identified and solutions chosen to facilitate their entry, however the KPIs will be further developed under the Task 2.4.

The aspects that will determine the system boundaries have been identified however the definitive elements which will be considered as constraints for the further development of the FASUDIR’s IDST will be analyzed and detailed later in the project in particular in the work packages related to the repository on technical and successful experiences and in the design of the methodological framework.

(The deliverable is available on the FASUDIR website, and is currently pending review from the EC.)

Task 2.2 - Requirements and constraints for retrofitting

by Giulia Barbano (iiSBE Italia R&D)

In order to understand the European context for sustainable retrofitting, it was necessary to face one main challenge: to capture up-to-date and relevant information on regulatory frameworks regarding environmental, social, cultural, economic constraints, presenting it in a clear and understandable way. The research carried out in this task was therefore divided in three main actions: the first was a review of previous projects and existing outputs in the field, to build a baseline; the second was a questionnaire distributed among European experts, in order to update the collected information and gauge the key challenges in a wide variety of contexts; and finally, a detailed insight into the project countries, describing the key elements for each context - ranging from energy legislation, to sustainability assessment, to financing frameworks.

The work carried out in this task highlighted the difficulty of summarizing in a homogeneous framework the variety of possible constraints and regulations, due to the different national implementations of EU directives and the fragmentation of assessment systems and financing programs. Additionally, the different regional priorities emerge as a key factor of added complexity, as each country has its own approach with regards to heritage conservation and urban retrofitting.

The final result builds on the national analyses carried out by projects such as ENTRANZE, the BPIE Data Hub and the Concerted Action EPBD, updating the information collected on the energy framework and broadening the overview to a variety of sustainability themes, and widening further the scale of focus from the building to the district, as the two scales on which the FASUDIR project operates. Additionally, the work focused on identifying some key financing models that are viable at district level, and defined the possible key stakeholders in district retrofitting projects.

The work carried out in this task provided an initial understanding of the challenges that the project will have to overcome in the definition of a decision support methodology that holds in a variety of European contexts, which will be developed through WP4.

(The deliverable is available on the FASUDIR website, and is currently pending review from the EC.)

Task 2.3 - Existing methodologies and tools

by Ewa Alicja Zukowska (Acciona)

As it is known the main objective of the FASUDIR project is to provide an Integration Decision Support Tool (IDST) based on a new methodology supported by a software tool. Therefore in this task we gathered information about existing initiatives, certification methods, European projects, legislations, standards and support tools, to identify what is still missing in the field of the sustainability assessment methodologies of urban districts retrofitting projects, and what would be relevant in the future for the stakeholders in the decision making process.

Some difficulties have been found mainly in predicting real stakeholders needs, and what type of tools are missing to help them select the best energy retrofitting strategy to increase the sustainability of the district.

The most relevant result of this deliverable would be a set of identified priorities in the decision making process, as well as tools and methodologies used for the retrofitting projects until now. An overview of the existing initiatives from this deliverable supported the T2.4 work, as a base for the selection and identification of FASUDIR key performance indicators (KPIs). Moreover this work has supported the WP4 and WP5.

(The deliverable is available on the FASUDIR website, and is currently pending review from the EC.)

Task 2.4 - Key Performance Indicators

by Paul Mittermeier (MUAS)

The objective of Task 2.4 was the development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess urban district retrofitting projects along their environmental, social and economic performances, with focus on resource efficiency, low emissions, health & comfort and cost efficiency. To ensure usability and effectiveness, the FASDUIR IDST contains a collection of sustainable retrofitting strategies and technical solutions at building and district level. Each strategy can be characterized according to achievable energy savings and different sustainability aspects using specially developed KPIs.

The development work was divided between the different involved partners according to their expertise in the fields of environmental, social and economic issues. To describe the KPIs objectives and calculation methods, detailed assessment guidelines have been developed for each KPI. It is necessary to evaluate the impacts of different energy retrofitting measures on the sustainability of each renovated building as well as on the sustainability of the whole urban district. Therefore we developed KPIs on building and district scale concurrently. Caused by the particularity of district retrofitting projects many known indicators from existing methodologies, R&D Projects and CEN/TC 350 Standards were not suitable or had to be adapted. Therefore a feasibility analysis of each KPI had been conducted in order to evaluate the time effort for the data gathering as well as the calculation of the indicator. The analysis showed that the data to assess a couple of indicators is not comprehensively available for existing buildings. Often the collection of the necessary data is untenable due to the high costs and required time for a high number of buildings. Hence, the assessment methods of the relevant KPIs were refined and improved.

The main challenge of the task was to find a trade-off between the accuracy of the KPIs calculation results and the time effort of the data collection and data entry. Finally the results of the task was a set of KPIs for building and district level that is able to generate meaningful results for a solid sustainability evaluation of urban district retrofitting projects. The developed KPIs will be used in the FASUDIR methodology to help the users of FASUDIR to find the most sustainable retrofitting strategy for an urban district.

(The deliverable is currently in final editing, and will be available soon on the FASUDIR website.)

Task 3.1 - Best practices in retrofitting

by Peter Gyuris (Geonardo)

As part of Task 3.1 in FASUDIR, Geonardo, in conjunction with D’APPOLONIA, iiSBE, ABUD and ACCIONA, identified and compiled the existing databases of available technologies and solutions as well as best practices on energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings and districts. For this, the partners conducted a thorough research of the ongoing and completed projects and initiatives implemented at EU and Member States level on energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings and districts. Project repositories utilised for identifying the most relevant retrofitting actions and databases at European level included those under the EeB PPP and FP6/7 CONCERTO initiatives.

Each best practice was investigated with regards to the funding source(s) and investment scheme(s) identified and utilised, actors and stakeholders involved, and the social and technical advancements achieved during the interventions (e.g. increased comfort in cities, carbon emission reductions, application of state of the art tools or services, etc.).

Task 3.1 and its deliverable report D.3.1 have shown that in Europe there are energy renovation/retrofitting projects that have been able to achieve their intended sustainability objectives. They have also laid down to some extent the associated costs for implementing such investments and the actors and stakeholders involved in their implementation. It was observed that while some projects such as EFFESUS provide solutions for the retrofitting of historic buildings, some other projects provide more focussed solutions such as the EUR-ACTIVE ROOFer project which builds on the experience of roof insulation/renovation techniques of an international consortium.

The results of this task and its deliverable D.3.1 will be helpful for decision makers in identifying successful stakeholder cooperation schemes and those best practices and available technologies for building and district retrofitting interventions with the goal of setting a baseline of how the improvements can comply with the refurbishment objectives.

(The deliverable is available on the FASUDIR website, and is currently pending review from the EC.)

Task 4.1 - User requirements and business models

by Derek Bunn (LBS)

Understanding user requirements and their business objectives in undertaking potential district retrofitting projects is crucial to designing an effective decision support tool. With this in mind, an in-depth survey of a wide range of stakeholders was undertaken in the spring of this year and the results of this is reported in FASUDIR_WP4_D4.1, whose release is imminent.  The FASUDIR project is not the first to undertake studies of this kind (the parallel ECODISTRICT and SuPerBuildings projects have done similar studies), but this project is far more detailed on the business model dimensions and the aspects needed to full specify a multi-criteria decision aid at the district level. The survey took place in Italy, Germany, Hungary, Spain and UK, being coordinated from London Business School.

The stakeholders ranged from federal government planners through architects, technical advisers, local planners, energy suppliers and ESCOs to owners and social housing managers, covering district projects that range from three or four buildings to many thousands.  Potential users evidently value an approach that is easy to understand and helps to guide users' preferred solutions, though various constraints,  to a well-structured, multi-criteria trade-off analysis. This is quite distinct from a software models that is a prescriptive "black box" algorithm. On business models, whilst economic payoff is widely used, users have many other objectives and these depend upon ownership, the projects  and their type of organisation. The importance of energy efficiency metrics, and often the incorporation of renewable energy facilities, are key objectives.

For district level solutions, social policy is also important in a way that transcends smaller projects, and communication between a wider range of stakeholders, and the need to engage a variety of owners and users in compromised solutions is a challenge that distinguishes the task from single building projects. Alignment with regional constraints is crucial and most stakeholders believed that a software tool with an e-platform could be substantially beneficial in this respect. Not only can it facilitate communication between decision-makers, but also help with the credibility of the projects and its widely dissemination to improve community support.

The results of this survey now feed into the major stage of WP 4 that determines the overall methodological specification of the decision-support tool, and this will be actively progressed during the next nine months.


Networking Update

by Andrea Moro (iiSBE Italia R&D)

"Exploitation and Dissemination" is a key issue to secure the success of IDST software on the market. For this reason the project pays particular attention to establishing an effective exchange of information with the stakeholders of the building sector that are the potential end users of the main FASUDIR results. To achieve this objective, in each country (Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary and UK), project partners have formed a Local Project Committee (LPC), which consists of experts and members of the building sector both from the public and private side. The LPCs meet to assess and discuss the status of the project FASUDIR and offer advice. The intent is to ensure the development of a software (IDST) that really meets the needs of the stakeholders. The main tasks of LPCs in the FASUDIR project are:

  • to provide advice from the end user’s point of view regarding the IDST
  • to support the organization of local dissemination events
  • to act as multiplier and aggregation system for stakeholders
  • to help the IDST to reach the market
  • to secure developments of the IDST beyond the project’s lifetime

Each LPC includes representatives of the following categories of stakeholders: Central government, Local government and municipalities, Multilateral funding bodies, Retail banks, Social housing organizations, Public sector facilities and commercial users, Distribution utilities, Planners and architects, ESCOs.

The first LPC meeting took place in each country between February and March, corresponding to the first Milestone of the FASUDIR project. The objective of this first meeting was to get the stakeholders’ expectations about the IDST software. The next meetings will be focused on the IDST methodologies, the IDST beta version and to show the system running in real scenarios.

LPC Focus: UK

by Valeria Ferrando (IES)

The first UK Local Project Committee meeting took place at IES premises in Glasgow on February 19th, 2014.

The meeting was chaired by IES and six stakeholders with different profiles were attending. We had a representative of the Public administration (Jackie Sawyer  Highland Council), an architect (John Easton , SUSTaim ), an expert of historical districts (Carsten Hermann, Historic Scotland-part of Scottish government), a consulting engineer (Jake Williams, Buro Happold) and two researchers with expertise in optimisation, load shift and districts energy schemes (Paul Tuohy, Strathclyde University and Andrew Peacock, Heriot Watt University).

All attendees were very interested in the FASUDIR expected outcomes and proactively participated to the discussion with ideas and suggestions. In particular the IDST methodological approach was discussed, and the LPC members provided very good suggestions on what has to be taken into account in decision making from their own perspective. The importance of engaging with the final end users of the tool was one of the most important topics raised together with the necessity to inform the users on the criteria used for ranking the retrofitting options, especially from the financial point of view.

The UK LPC members were very keen on the project and have been involved also in other tasks so far providing advice and useful comments.

Upcoming project activities

Deliverable 2.4 (KPI) will be available soon on site, marking (together with D4.1) the second Milestone of FASUDIR.

The next milestone, at the end of February 2015, will be the definition of the IDST methodology and architecture.

Future networking activities

FASUDIR will be presented in a dedicated session at the World Sustainable Building conference WSB14 in Barcelona, running October 28th-30th 2014.

Visit the conference website for more information, and the detailed program of the event.


Project partners:

Fundaciόn Tecnalia Research & Innovation | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften München | Acciona Instalaciones SA | D'Appolonia SpA | Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited | Geonardo Environmental Technologies LtD | ABUD Mernokiroda KFT | CalCon Deutschland AG | Consorcio de la Ciudad de Santiago de Compostela | London Business School | International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment Italia Research and Development srl | Acciona Infraestructuras SA

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 609222.
This publication reflects only the authors’ views and the Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
Copyright © 2014 FASUDIR, All rights reserved.

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