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Housing Europe starts working on a massive EU project that lowers barriers to test innovative solutions in construction

15 March 2021 | Energy, The future of the EU & Housing

The 5-year Horizon 2020 project, METABUILDING Labs (MBLabs) is oriented towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that aims at reinforcing the construction sector value chain with new tools, innovative materials, upgraded technical framework, living labs, and upskilling. We tell you a bit more about its goals and the place of public, cooperative, social housing providers in it.

The MBLabs project that officially started this January, aims to unleash the innovation potential of SMEs within the construction sector by lowering the entry barriers to test innovative solutions in a network of testing facilities in Social Housing Organisations and Living Labs. In this project, 13 countries from the EU and beyond (France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Poland Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Turkey) have come together and allow direct feedback from the end-users during the final development stages. In regards to “Living Labs”, Housing Europe will cooperate with other partners to bring more building owners and asset managers to the ecosystem.

The role of Housing Europe in the project will be that of leading a dedicated requirements elicitation task to define the specifications of the MBLabs matchmaking module. The module will allow innovators to find a suitable pilot space in construction and renovation projects of housing owners and Living Labs. Housing Europe will be representing Social Housing Organisations and will facilitate the connection between innovators and housing owners interested in providing real-life testing facilities  with users. Our contribution will also focus on informing about relevant EU policies and the drafting of policy recommendations at EU and national level based on the insights gathered during the project.

As part of the project development, MBLabs will be able to demonstrate its featured technologies in selected pilot buildings environments in 4 different countries and climate contexts in Spain, France, Italy (social housing building envelope refurbishments) and Turkey (new build, administrative building). The Social Housing Organisations acting as pilot building owners are: 

  • POLYLOGIS (Paris, France): block of flats with 7 residential floors and a common attic area (42 units). Planned renovation year: 2023

  • VIPASA (Asturias, Spain): L-shaped building block with 3 floors. An exterior corridor gives access to the duplex on the first floor (16 units). Planned renovation year: 2023

  • CASA SPA (Florence, Italy): Isolated building 3 floors above ground (4 units). Planned renovation year: 2023

The MBLabs concept consists of 5 innovation pillars.

1) SME outreach by meta clustering & Open Innovation Digital Platform as cornerstones to engage and support SMEs in innovation and testing based on the networks of MBLabs’ 40 consortium partners, targeting over 180 clusters and building upon the sister H2020 METABUILDING project which reaches out to 9000 SME cluster members. 

2) OITB Brokerage Business Model: the SEP will be a light brokerage structure in the form of an association - with the consortium partners as members - that serves as a business provider to entities running testing facilities and/or providing innovation services for building envelopes and finances itself through membership fees, adapted to the size and financial capacities of its members, marketplace revenues and a commission for the brokerage service.

3) Harmonised testing framework for building products development: consisting of guidelines for the characterization of smart/active systems, a detailed and validated energy model and LCAs to assure the application of EU regulatory practices. 

4) O3 Building Envelope Testbench (standardized, replicable, affordable, Digital Twin enabled): first fully replicable, standardised, cost-effective Open Source/Open Data/Open Access Building Envelope Testbed enabling virtual testing and made available (co-funded) to some of the project partners. 

5) Streamlined access to Living Labs & pilot matchmaking: with a single-entry point, an innovative matchmaking module and standardised internal procedures.

Partners exploitation plans:
1. Platform owners
2. Testing facilities
3. Technology developers
4. Consultants
5. Living Labs

 Find out more about METABUILDING Labs

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