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Affordable Housing Initiative Tech Camp in Barcelona

A flagship event by Housing Europe and ECTP in the scope of the International Social Housing Festival

Barcelona, Spain, 8 June 2023Save the date

Choosing the right technologies and approaches in the planning phase, in the selection of building materials and systems, and throughout its lifecycle is one of the keys to respond to the challenge of the Renovation Wave targets. The Affordable Housing Initiative Tech Camp is an event where Suppliers meet Providers to discuss exactly how. Ready-to-market sustainable products and services, novel technical methodologies and smarter approaches will be presented with the objective of making them work in the affordable housing context. Participants will also be invited to discuss the pressing questions that the sector is facing in this regard, such as How to define technology pathways towards sustainability, affordability, and liveability? What barriers and gaps get in the way of mainstreaming useful technologies? How can we make innovative technologies affordable? And how to make them work for the residents?

8-9 June 2023

@ VIP Room, Palau de Congressos, Barcelona



DAY 1 - 8th June 2023

@ VIP Room, Palau de Congressos, Barcelona


Moderator: Anna Gumbau


9:00      Bent Madsen, Housing Europe President of the Board

9:10      Paul Cartuyvels, ECTP President


The Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) is part of the Commission's Renovation Wave strategy for Europe, which aims to green buildings and reduce carbon emissions. The AHI includes piloting 100 renovation and construction districts with a smart neighbourhood approach to pave the way for other renovation projects across Europe. But how should these districts be renovated? What principles should the public, social and cooperative housing providers follow that would bring about the socially just energy transition? A number of organisations across Europe have taken up this challenge of developing and demonstrating innovative approaches to achieving the renovation targets while engaging citizens and developing local communities, socially and economically.

Moderation: Anna Gumbau

09:20    The Affordable Housing Initiative, Anna Athanasopoulou, European Commission

09:30    An energy transition that works for all, Sorcha Edwards, European Affordable Housing Consortium

09:40    Three perspectives of integrated renovation methodologies to transform social housing districts into inclusive smart neighbourhoods.

  • DROP Project, Naia Gómez, Ermua Municipality
  • PROLIGHT project, Momir Tabakovic, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien
  • SUPERSHINE project, Riccardo Coletta, APRE, & Paola Zerilli, University of York

10:10    Open Discussion

10:45 Coffee-break


For a socially just and affordable Renovation Wave we need to talk about what makes social and affordable housing renovations cumbersome and what opportunities hold the promise to accelerate district level approach. The European Affordable Housing Consortium has identified some of the most pressing barriers from the local stakeholder perspective. The results show an urgent need to innovate the renovation process itself, work more efficiently and aim to achieve higher degree of sustainability. Introducing more integrated project delivery, new business models and financing instruments is also crucial, along with taking advantage of data and digitalization tools. As for social aspects, communication and cooperation are the weakest points causing delays, mistrust, and low citizen interest in renovation.  Moreover, the role of the local governments as a catalyst can be crucial for overcoming those barriers. In this panel discussion we will highlight 3 barriers from different perspectives and discuss real case experiments and ideas for turning these obstacles into opportunities.

Moderation: Anna Gumbau

11:00    The need for an industrial approach to provide full renovation packages and scale up the process, Ulla-Brit Kramer (Overijssel Province)*

11:15    A need for mainstreaming circularity principles, Enrico Grillo (Sequas)

11:30    The impact and difficulties of tenant relocation, Sven van Elst (ASTER)*

11:45    Panel discussions


The European Commission will pilot the renovation of 100 districts to pave the way to (re)build quality, liveable, and affordable homes. These districts are renovation projects of reference that go ‘the extra mile’ in terms of technological, social or process innovations. There are already numerous such tried and tested examples throughout Europe, where a combination of smart, circular or modular solutions, eco-design principles and renewables, and resident involvement were developed. For the past year, as part of a collaborative effort, the European Affordable Housing Consortium has been gathering these examples across Europe, which together can potentially form a narrative or ‘blueprint’ to guide local organisations towards delivering the just energy transition. In this session some of that work will be presented. Afterwards, participants will be invited to jointly discuss the question of replicating those examples in other contexts.

12:00    Guidelines for renovating social and affordable districts – the technical component, Stefania Mascolo (GNE Finance), Nerea Gómez (ECTP)

12:10    Tbc

12:20    Opengela One-stop-shop to spread urban regeneration in the Basque Country, Andoni Hidalgo (Euroiker)

The ‘OPENGELA’ project set-up two neighbourhood offices in the Basque Country as One-Stop-Shops to give support to the residents of the Otxarkoaga (Bilbao) and the Txonta (Eibar) districts about green energy renovation. Additionally, born out of the premise that the income and repayment capacity levels of a great share of the population was too low to access ordinary bank loans and could only access subsidies or high-interest rate credits, Opengela included a financial mechanism (a mix of public and private funds) that offered loans refundable in 15 years to help those low-income households cover the full investment needed for the renovation of their homes.

12:30    The district scale and the EU regulatory framework – the perspective of the Spanish Presidency, Francisco Javier Martín Ramiro (Ministry of Transport and Urban Agenda of Spain)

12:40    [Panel Discussion] Replicating approaches from early adopters: what works? What does not? What can we learn from good practices?

Gyorgy Sumeghy (Habitat for Humanity), Alberto Rubio (Valencia Government), Andoni Hidalgo (Euroiker), Laura Collini (Tesserae)

Tapas y Prácticas

(networking event)


With the development of sensor and network communication technologies, data generation from buildings has increased dramatically in the past years. Extracting value from consumption data, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, makes the building adaptable to the exact needs of the users and optimise the construction and renovation process. In this session, frontrunners will showcase their applications of data analysis and invited to discuss how to improve the way small and medium sized housing providers access data science expertise and learn from their accumulated data to help improve energy efficiency or optimise decision making.

At the end of the session, we will introduce societal concerns to the discussion, namely how are residents involved in the process and how to avoid technology or vendor lock-in.

14:00        Welcome note, João Gonçalves, Housing Europe

14:05    Leveraging advanced technologies for the fair green transition, Leandro Madrazo (Ramon Llull University)

14:15    How machine learning can improve decision making in social housing, Elissaios Sarmas (National Technical University of Athens)

14:25    Energy Savings Verification Service: increasing trust on Energy Performance Contracts, Guillermo Andrés Nieto (Veolia)

14:35   Discussion: What can small and medium sized housing providers learn from their data? What is stopping housing providers from collecting and using their data in a widespread fashion? How can we ensure data is private, safe and usage is controlled? How can we protect our data from cyber-attacks? How can we avoid vendor lock-in and keep it open?

Barbara Steenbergen (International Union of Tenants)
Elissaios Sarmas (NTUA), Leandro Madrazo (RLU)

Timo Wanke (Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies)
Guillermo Andrés Nieto (Veolia).



9th June 2023

@ VIP Room, Palau de Congressos, Barcelona



As far as new systems for the Renovation Wave are concerned, applying circular principles to construction and renovation has captured the imagination of both practitioners and policy level actors alike. However, the field is arguably still at the level of experimentation. Most examples stem from research led experiments or grassroots movements led by highly motivated individuals working together. This indicates lower SLR or TLR levels and the need to investigate further. This session will provide examples of the latest technologies and systems using circular principles. The discussion afterwards will be precisely centred on what transformations are needed to advance this field further and bring it to mainstream adoption.

9:00          Alexis Versele, KU Leuven

The University of Leuven has developed a prototype of a steel and wood prefabricated house that can be used to provide temporary accommodation to refugees or residents while their house is being renovated. The house can be assembled and disassembled in a short time. Design for Disassembly and Adaptation principles were followed where materials and the structure are designed to be easily re-used.

9:15      Gaetano Bertino, alchemia-nova

Alchemia-nova creates out-of-the-box solutions by combining different disciplines. They connect the dots and use a systemic thinking approach for possible disruptive and game-changing innovations that are fit for future. Their leitmotif includes research, development and education as well as productisation, selling & consulting of circular economy and nature-based solutions.

9:30      Marco Pepe, Deconstraction (tbc)

DECONSTRACTION is a modular construction technology based on assembling duly sized and designed prefabricated blocks by means of an innovative memory-steel prestressing techniques on site. This construction method is eco-friendly both from a raw material perspective – use of modular elements to be reused several times upon repetitive construction/deconstruction – and in terms of connecting elements – the memory-steel, which can be recycled or even reused upon deconstruction.

Discussion panel and Q&A

Coffee-Break (10:00 – 10:30)


10:30    Barry Lynham, KNAUF INSULATION

Urbanscape® is a cover name for a range of innovative products, concepts and systems which can be used in numerous applications. They combine the key aspects for enhancing the Urban Environment by making it healthier for the residents.

10:45    Xavier Dubuisson, RetroKit

RetroKit is a software platform that provides a data management system and analytical tools to assist housing professionals in making evidence-based decisions for investment in energy upgrades, and save time and money in the delivery of their projects.

11:00    Oliver Scheifinger, Nettelbeckplatz (tbc)

Housing Cooperative 1892 pursued an experimental and innovative renewal of a housing complex built in the 1970s. The renovation was based on an award-winning co-creation process within a wide coalition of architects, social and healthcare organisations and research teams (from the EU-funded project DREEAM) with the residents, neighbourhood committees and the staff of 1892. They opted for a balanced approach, with traditional and novel technological solutions, including battery storage of the energy provided by photovoltaic installations. To cater for different needs, the architectural solution included adaptable suitable housing sizes and floor plans as well as transformation of existing flats into shared and public spaces, which were conducive to increased sense of belonging and community.

Discussion panel and Q&A


11:30    Juan Carlos Iquero, AM Platform

The Additive Manufacturing Technology Platform was born in 2006 as a community of European stakeholders of Additive Manufacturing (AM). It belongs to the Manufuture-EU platform, whose aim is to propose, develop and implement a strategy based on Research and Innovation, capable of speeding up the rate of industrial transformation to high-added-value products.

11:45    Oksana Talisainen, Mustamäe District

In Tallinn, Estonia, the renovation of the Mustamae district included developing standardized renovation solution model based on modular processes and prefabricated panels. The pilot project was the renovation of a dormitory for postgraduate students, which became the first multi-apartment building renovated with prefabricated panels in Estonia. The project deployed prefabricated wooden modular elements and a 3D laser scanning technology to obtain highly precise geometry of the building façades and balconies. Solar panels for electricity and hot water were also installed, together with a greywater heat recovery system, sensors and internet-based logging system to monitor energy and water consumption. The dorm now classifies as a nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB).

12:00    William Nelissen, Sociale Energy Sprong (tbc)

Sociale Energie Sprong signifies a renovation concept based on economies of scale to speed up the retrofit of social housing buildings in Flanders, Belgium, while maintaining the overall cost affordable. The pilot project in Hoeselt was based on the usage of industrially prefabricated external cladding and energy modules, attached externally to the buildings’ façades. This process allowed an extraordinary 9 days of renovation works onsite, which allowing tenants to remain in the building throughout.

Discussion panel and Q&A

12:30 – 13:30 Tapas y Prácticas 

A presentation by Hillswerk International initiative will accompany the Lunch break.


13:30    Alex van der Leer, SPOTR

Inspection of a large number of buildings in seconds. AI-powered property insights at scale without having to visit on-site. Digitally inspect buildings off-site, instantly and at scale. Reduce on-site visits by having remote access to the most recent building images from all different angles. Fill your data blind spots with measurements, conditions, or specific risks associated with your properties, all 100% remote. Analyze property intelligence: locate underinsurance, improve underwriting or make data-driven decisions on maintenance.

13:45   Ruth Kerrigan, IES R&D Ltd (tbc)


14:00    Elena Conte, NEMESIS

A digital tool for the estimation of a building’s Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) using information from BIM tools, combined with Building Management Systems (BMS). With Nemesis we aim to integrate SRI and best practices for building energy efficiency with BMS providing to the building stakeholders support to improve SRI by maximising as much as possible smart readiness of building together with energy efficiency in consideration of the user comfort.

Discussion panel and Q&A


Notice: the Tech Camp will be broadcasted through social media (Youtube).

Throughout the Festival

Exhibition Area and Real-time Technology Demonstrations

SMEs will showcase their market ready or close-to-market technologies.


10h        Demonstrations

11h        Interviews

12h        Demonstration

14h        Interviews

Renovation Helpdesk

A dedicated space will be occupied with one-on-one support for local practitioners with experts from across Europe. This support will be organised under a booking-only approach, via the online Renovation Helpdesk booking system available on the Accelerator website.

Limited places. Registration mandatory


The programme will be part of the 4th International Social Housing Festival (7-9 June) in Barcelona which brings more than a thousand social and affordable housing providers, policymakers, urbanists, architects, fellow NGOs, academics, and journalists. The upcoming edition is organised by Barcelona City Council and Housing Europe. Find out more about the Festival -

What can you expect from the Tech Camp?

Capacity-Building Sessions by experts in technical topics

Best practice presentations focused on affordable, high-impact technologies and technical solutions

Exhibition Area: Onsite showcase of the latest technologies & live presentations by start-ups and SMEs

A study visit to a nearby lighthouse project

Sunset Sessions for evening networking

Renovation Helpdesk offering one-to-one meetings with experts

Stay tuned for more information.


Learn more about the work of the Consortium -