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Residential Renovation towards nearly zero energy CITIES


R2CITIES proposes several progresses beyond the state of the art, some of them are directly related to technological activities (PV integration at district level, new solar thermal concepts to supply energy, new systemic approach or integrated project delivery tools for district retrofitting) with direct and indirect impacts also covering non-technological topics.

Smart city concept – Innovation and Society

Included into the smart city concept, the residential retrofitting activities planned in R2CITIES will increase the impact at final users’ level bringing close to the people real technological innovations.

Nearly zero district retrofitting - Systemic approach

R2CITIES aims to develop and demonstrate an open and easily replicable strategy for designing, constructing, and managing large scale district renovation projects for achieving nearly zero energy districts.

Low energy - Standarized concept

R2CITIES aims to deploy the low energy standardized concept at district level, taking into account the benefits achieved by the scale economies and systemic approach. No standards for district retrofitting are defined yet, so a lot references will be obtained from the demo sites in order to support new regulations or, at least, best practices guidance.

Diagnosis tools at district level

R2CITIES aims to develop some new methodologies for the diagnosis of the potential residential district refurbishment, taking into account the structural and energy analysis, the potential problems with the final users in terms of social acceptance, and the financial and investment constraints

Integrated project delivery tools residential district focused

Implementation of BIM technology to the renovation of near zero energy districts. Improving of interoperability between energy calculation and BIM tools by contributing to the development of standards. Development of a new methodology based on IPD principles to the renovation of near zero energy districts

Energy conservation measures for district retrofitting

  • Photovoltaic Energy - New tailored PV integrated solutions will be developed and adapted for the achievement of a relevant local electric energy generation that allows nearly zero districts retrofitting, even taking into account some heat recovery properties by means of hybrid systems.
  • Solar thermal - Integration of specifically designed solar thermal collectors to be used systematically and intensively at district level. The concept of the collector field will be tailored to the specific arrangement of the buildings in the district as a whole
  • Storage systems - Strategies for sizing and management of intermediate storage will be developed, for different levels both for temperature, which determines its losses, and energy processing level, being in this case bigger the closer is the end user
  • Distribution systems - This project will address infrastructure needs in a unified way so that the design of the solutions will consider both the distribution of thermal energy, and communications infrastructure, instrumentation and power of these devices. This will get a reduction in assembly time and better adaptation to the constraints that may be encountered during implementation.
  • Architectural and technological aspects for integrating green energy technologies in buildings - R2CITIES will address the definition of high-value green energy applications as active construction elements and the identification of non-active building materials and space requirements ideal for replacement
  • State of the Art for retrofitting of walls - R2CITIES will study advanced solutions for retrofitting residential districts, taking into account innovative insulation materials

Methods for energy management and measurement

R2CITIES will deploy a Building/District Management System for the control of energy generation / storage/ use by means of the integration of open-source computer-based subsystems like database server, reporting engine or document engine. These modules are commonly part of business management applications but they could be successfully used for this kind of proposed control application. The joint management of different facilities will enable improved overall system efficiency, channelling the generated energy to each user depending on their needs. On the other hand, the collected information will be accessible from remote locations, and then will be possible to display the system status and carry out adjustment actions and remote maintenance

Methodologies to quantify energy savings

R2CITIES will establish a plan to measure and verify energy savings adapted to residential buildings retrofitting at district level

Tools and guidelines for implementation at urban level

Legislative framework – the authorities’ point of view
New tools will be developed to convince and help authorities attracting private capitals towards this sector by means of:

  • Incentives schemes for tenants investing in the energy efficient renovation of their dwellings
  • Incentives schemes for private companies investing in the energy efficient renovation of the existing residential stock
  • Effective promotion of the extensive involvement of ESCOs (Energy Service Company) in the renovation process
  • Effective promotion of the extensive involvement of long term banks' loans in the renovation process

Reliable and cost-effective solutions – the customers’ point of view
During the project, several options will be identified to help overcome the mentioned barriers:

  • Highly efficient technological solutions will be tackled so that the extra investment is also followed by large energy savings during plants operation
  • Affordable devices will be sought to reduce as much as possible the investment cost
  • Reliability and durability will be a key point for the solutions considered, since major renovations happen only after 30-40 years.
  • Easy and fast installation will also be major issues to be taken into consideration.
  • Devices/Systems developed within the project or found on the market will be analysed both from the technical and the economical point of view.
  • A database reporting on the advantages introduced by the systems investigated will be elaborated.
  • Clear and systematic information will be gathered in this way that could help tenants along the decision process.