POWER HOUSE Newsletter - 22.04.2014

The conference
People’s lives are strongly connected with modern cities. The urban centres of tomorrow are being shaped rapidly, while numerous challenges are being raised that demand adequate, sustainable solutions and political will. What can be the role of the social and affordable housing sector within this scenery? CECODHAS Housing Europe along with its French member l’Union Sociale pour l’Habitat organise an international conference that will attempt to provide some responses.

The first part of the event will focus on social and affordable housing providers within the urban context to better understand the challenges that cities of tomorrow will be facing. Between new constructions and refurbishment plans, how urban areas should adapt to be accessible, sustainable and in line with the new lifestyles? How can the social housing sector react?
The second part of the day will provide an overview of the work carried out by the POWER HOUSE nearly-Zero TaskForces. 

The award
The day will conclude with the CECODHAS Housing Europe Award ceremony. How can the social and affordable housing sector serve energy efficiency goals in an innovative way? Teams taking part in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 have tried hard to tackle this challenge in a creative way… The mix of Jurors, coordinated by CECODHAS Housing Europe, and their skills and competences will assure that the evaluation of the proposed projects will be made from different angles and therefore that usability and affordability criteria from the perspective of the residents and the providers will be reflected in the jury’s choice.

To register, please send an email to alessandro.cesale@housingeurope.eu by 30 April 2014 (paricipation fee= 200€)

News from the Financing TaskForce

News from the Financing TaskForce

NHF along with CECODHAS Housing Europe, as co-coordinators of the POWER HOUSE Financing TaskForce, have recently published a Report on Exemplary Financing Models from across the European Union. Although many Member States now have in place or are working towards nearly Zero Energy definitions which will be incorporated into building requirements for new build construction, a large proportion of the housing which will be being used in 2050 is already built – and therefore there is also a need to identify funding sources which are as low cost and accessible as possible to drive a low energy refurbishment programme for these as well.
In this report we considered where we are now in terms of financing energy efficiency in buildings, where we need to get to, and what the next steps are in moving towards the final required target. This process also included examination of ten different financial models currently being used by various member states, taken from a cross section of housing types and tenures, and with consideration of the benefits and limitations of each.

On the 4th March 2014, CECODHAS Housing Europe organised in the framework of the Financing nZEC TaskForce the Workshop "Financing the Energy Transition in the affordable housing sector" in order to explore conditions of success of financial models for energy efficiency in the affordable housing sector. The introduction given on the current market situation and trends towards 2020 resulting from the report “Energy refurbishment for sustainable Social, Public and Cooperative Housing: insights on the current market & trends towards 2020”, offered a good starting point for the debate with representatives from the European Investment Bank and DG Energy, European Commission and the other participants.

In a nutshell, the outcome of this debate was that there is no one-size-fits all approach of low-carbon finance in the affordable housing sector. Factors such as type of housing tenure, type of rent legislation, potential of energy savings due to climate specificities need to be taken into consideration when reflecting on how to improve the supply and demand for finance so as to trigger the energy transition in the affordable housing sector. Bearing this in mind, in a further step, CECODHAS Housing Europe will encourage the development of Low-carbon Finance Platforms in various Countries that would reflect those specificities. Download here the report of the Workshop "Financing the Energy Transition in the affordable housing sector".

News from the Warm/Mediterranean climates TaskForce

News from the Warm/Mediterranean climates TaskForce

On the 13th & 14th February 2014, the members of the nearly-Zero Energy Challenge Warm/Mediterranean Climates TaskForce met in Barcelona to discuss about tools available to finance energy efficiency in social housing.

The first part of the event (attended by some 90 participants) was mainly dedicated to the opportunities offered by the EU, particularly by the Structural Funds for the new programming period 2014-2020 as well as by other supporting schemes and programmes in place, including the Horizon2020 Call for Proposals recently launched. The second part focused on the schemes used in Spain, France and Italy with some concrete example of large refurbishment and new-build projects (download here the presentations made during the Workshop).

The Workshop was followed by a study visit to “Roc Boronat” (95 dwellings - building connect to the first district heating/cooling network “Districlima”) and to “Can Cortada” (160 dwellings – energy classification B) both managed by the Patronat Municipal de l’Habitatge de Barcelona (PMHB). A short video clip of the Study Visit including interviews of key speakers will be soon available on the CECODHAS Housing Europe YouTube Chanel…stay tuned!

The following day, TaskForce Members met to discuss internal issues and take stock of the work done to date in the framework of the POWER HOUSE nZEC project. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the RELS consortium; this represented a good opportunity to discuss about synergies with this MED project, particularly concerning the development of an advanced module of the POWER HOUSE nZEB On-line Course dedicated to social housing practitioners. TaskForce Members had also the chance to work on the finalisation of the “Mediterranean House Manifesto”, a document in 10 points that describes how the TaskForce intends a nearly-Zero Energy Building designed for Mediterranean climates. The final version of the Manifesto will be soon made available and endorsed by key stakeholders.

News from the Cold/Continental climates TaskForce

Flash is required!

On 4th & 5th December 2013, the members of the nearly-Zero Energy Challenge Cold/Continental Climates TaskForce met in Wiesbaden (Germany) to discuss cost-optimal levels of energy efficiency investments, which means basically the appropriate ratio between energy savings and investment costs. A key challenge is indeed to be able to compare the actual energy consumptions of various buildings typologies against actual investment costs in order to guide the decisions of project promoters about what kind of measures they have to undertake, but also to influence the future national energy standards that will have to be put in place as a requirement of the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD). Participants had also the opportunity to enjoy the presentations of two IEE running projects - EnerPHit and ENTRANZE - and to explore potential synergies with them (download here the presentations made during the Workshop).

The meeting was followed by a study visit to a project site where both nearly-Zero Energy and Passive House standard blocks where under construction. The comparison of 4 strictly identical buildings, 2 built under the German national energy performance standard (EnEV) and 2 built at the passive house standard came to the conclusion that even in including the extra energy savings made by the passive house standards, the cost of passive house is around 10% higher that nearly zero energy buildings. This extra cost needs to be compensated by either the increase of the rent (not always possible for regulatory reasons) or increase of the invested capital. According to this project of the Wiesbaden Housing Company GWW, the most cost efficient way to use financial resources would be to design low energy buildings, but not zero energy buildings, and to strike the carbon balance with on-site production of energy. Those results confirm the relevance of CECODHAS Housing Europe position regarding the 2030 Energy and Climate Policies which emphasises the key role of finance and decentralised energy production. To find out more, please watch the video of the Workshop and Study Visits!

News from the Divided/Cooperative ownership TaskForce

News from the Divided/Cooperative ownership TaskForce

The Divided/Cooperative ownership TaskForce has published the following three reports based on the experience of its Members and the analysis of the TaskForce Case Studies

Cost-effectiveness in Divided and Cooperative Ownership in practice
The study is based on the direct experience of low energy buildings constructed in Bulgaria, Estonia and Italy, including both new constructions and refurbishments projects. The information provided by Housing Managers as well as the feedback from the people living in the buildings was key to help drafting this report. To assess the cost effectiveness of the operations, three parameters such as Investment costs vs. Running costs balance, Increased market value of the property due to the higher energy standard reached and the Improved comfort that is reflected into higher users satisfaction, have been identified and analysed.

Legal & organizational framework and Communication & marketing of nZEB in Divided and Cooperative Ownership
In divided and cooperative property buildings, the role of tenants is crucial for the decision making process, especially for what concern the retrofitting of existing buildings. Different Member States have different roles in the decision making process, in some cases with special rules for energy efficient renovation. The aim of this report is to describe the situation in different Member States, especially in Bulgaria, Estonia and Italy, and to address good organizational practices to facilitate the decision making process for renovation in the different national/regional legal frameworks. The second part of this publication is dedicated to Communication & marketing activities of nZEB in Divided and Cooperative Ownership. This topic is of extreme relevance for new constructions and it is interesting also for deep renovation projects.

Financing nearly-Zero Energy projects and Renewable Energy Sources in Divided and Cooperative Ownership
Two themes of extreme importance for the construction and retrofitting of nearly-Zero Energy multifamily buildings have been thoroughly addressed in this publication:
- financing, which is vital especially for retrofitting projects, and renewable energy applications, which according to the nZEB definition must be used in order to cover a significant share of the energy consumed in the buildings;
- the need for clear condominium rules in order to facilitate the decision making process for retrofitting and simple financing schemes, which take into account the different types of the buildings’ occupants.

News from other European Projects

News from other European Projects

In the last five years, Social Housing Organizations have played an exemplary role in improving the energy efficiency of the housing sector. They have anticipated forthcoming national legislation and have punctually experimented with the construction of low-energy buildings and innovative energy refurbishment. AFTER aimed to promote and continue this effort especially in light of the obstacles and challenges presented by the current economic situation.

The AFTER project aimed to enable participating and non-participating Social Housing Institutions and Organizations all over Europe to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock with cost optimal solutions. Its goal was to promote and develop existing European knowledge in the areas of energy saving strategies and encourage their implementation by companies in the housing sector. Social Housing Organizations in 6 different countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia) and their partners - including National Housing Associations, Scientific Committee and National Tenants Associations - have been cooperating to highlight and evaluate the most efficient and adaptable energy saving measures.

AFTER asserts the importance of establishing energy efficiency as a major goal even after construction of the building. The project promoted measures adapted to a variety of investments and situations. A special emphasis is placed on the important contributions of operation maintenance and management in the energy performance of buildings. In order to help the Social housing Operators to implement the energy saving operations, AFTER have produced several Guidelines and tools, downloadable from the AFTER website www.afterproject.eu:

Handbook on AFTER Methodology: Indicators for economic and energy performance, assessment on common measuring units; Indicators for energy awareness; «Tips» regarding the implementation of the ESM.

- Retrocommissioning: What is Retrocommissioning? Main steps and Tools, Retrocommissioning step-by-step;
- Energy efficiency measurement protocol;
- Tenants survey;
- Optimization solutions and measured performance improvement.

E3SoHo and SHOWE-IT are demonstrating the potential of ICT solutions to significantly reduce energy consumption in social housing in different climates across Europe. The European Commission funded both projects under the ICT-Policy Support Programme.

This BUILD UP Web Seminar will discuss the results of these two projects, and replication potential including economic feasibility. Other initiatives on ICT applied to energy efficiency in buildings will be presented. Learn about innovative ICT solutions and its applications in social housing and other buildings, such as reduction of energy consumption and influencing user behaviour among social housing tenants.

This BUILD UP Web Seminar will address the following:
E3SoHo and SHOWE-IT projects: Concept, ICT solutions deployed, and obtained results;
Replication potential; and
Current European initiatives in the field of energy efficiency in buildings.
Javier Mardaras, E3SoHo project coordinator
José Luis Burón, Head of ICT Research Group, ACCIONA Infraestructuras
Luis Juan Muñoz, SHOWE-IT project
Register to this BUILD UP Web Seminar: https://inive.webex.com/inive/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=701995203

SAVE the DATE - Forthcoming events!

07 May 2014 - Nearly-Zero Energy Building Congress, Madrid

12-13 June 2014 - Third Divided/Cooperative ownership TaskForce Workshop + Study Visit, Tallinn

03 July 2014 - Second POWER HOUSE nZEC Symposium, Versailles

28-30 October 2014 - World Sustainable Buildings 2014 (WSB2014), Barcelona


The sole responsibility for the content of this Newsletter lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EACI nor the European Commission is responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

For further information, please visit www.powerhouseeurope.eu