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Innovation First!

Housing Europe turns 30

Brussels, 6 June 2018 | Published in Social

Housing Europe has been supporting for more than 15 years EU-wide initiatives and projects that promote innovative solutions to timely challenges and provide with evidence that shape policies of the future. We have put together below a summary of the key platforms that helped our network interact with leading organisations and institutions from a wide range of sectors, pushing our knowledge and the way we operate forward.


POWER HOUSE nearly Zero Energy Challenge (nZEC) was the first and the flagship EU project for Housing Europe that started in 2008 under the name ‘POWERHOUSE’ and was revamped in 2012 under an updated name with the support of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme to provide a structure for an exchange between social housing practitioners of the public, cooperative & social housing sector to learn from each other about energy performance of buildings and to inform policy makers of the outcomes of this exchange.

The European Core Learning Outcomes for Integration of Support and Housing (ELOSH) was a European project that addressed the need for Continuing Vocational Education & Training on the integration of support and housing for people with support needs. The initiative focused on the transfer of innovative learning results and training materials on the integration of housing with health, care and support. This material promoted the co-production of services including citizen’s needs as its core.

The HOST project, launched in 2011, part of The Ambient Assisted Living (AAL), has been a setup of experimentations and exchange of practices between 4 European countries- Italy, France, UK and Spain- and enabling the dialogue between different models of social housing organisations, such as the French generalist model of social housing and the Italian and English specialised model and the collaboration between different actors, such has housing providers, universities and institutional actors. The partners of the project will develop a digital infrastructure of the social housing and a gateway to their services.

The European Responsible Housing Initiative (ERHIN) is first online resource center entirely dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) in the not-for-profit, public and cooperative housing sector. The initiative reflects the sector’s commitment and contribution to sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe joining forces also with the tenants’ associations. The project has triggered the European Declaration on Responsible Housing, the Responsible Housing CSR Code of Conduct and the first edition of the European Responsible Housing Awards.

In the E3SoHo project on ICT for Energy Efficiency in Social Housing, Housing Europe provided a socio-economic analysis of the use of ICT in social housing. The overall aim of the project was to implement integrated and replicable ICT-based solutions for the reduction of energy consumption by providing tenants of social housing direct feedbacks on their consumption. There were three test pilots in Spain, Italy and Poland.

SHELTER was about improving the energy performance of buildings while reducing costs for Social Housing Providers & Residents by improving the planning, design and commissioning along the whole renovation supply chain. This EU funded project involved 6 Social Housing Organisations, 1 Research Centre and 3 European Professional Federations, including Housing Europe. One of the outcomes was the SHELTER Guide with recommendations a methodology for social housing providers on choosing the best adapted delivery methods. The closing event took place in association with the Irish EU Presidency.

 Energiesprong has made Net Zero Energy refurbishments a market reality that is financed of the energy cost savings, since a house does not consume more energy than it produces (E=0); plus, it only takes 10 days and comes with a 30-year energy performance warranty from the builder, while energy bills for residents stay the same.

Taking stock, looking forward. Our current and future EU projects.

HEART is a multifunctional retrofit toolkit including different components (ICT, BEMS, HVAC, BIPV and Envelope Technologies) that cooperate to transform an existing building into a smart building.  The Toolkit thus provides high energy saving levels, energy fluxes optimization, data exchange, stakeholders’ active involvement and Smart Grid interactivity. At the centre of the project are two buildings managed by social housing providers. One is managed by Est Metropole Habitat nearby Lyon in France. The other one is from ACER and situated near Regio Emilia in Italy.

Housing Europe is involved in the dissemination of the results, the intervention context, the exploitation of the project results and the demonstration activities, especially on the analysis of building users’ acceptance and satisfaction.

TripleA-reno wants to make nZE (nearly Zero Energy) renovations attractive for consumers and end-users. The project will work on improving the information and communication on real, proven performances of energy usage, indoor quality and personal health by developing an open and end-user-centred gamified (based on game-design elements and game principles) platform for decision support, quality validation and community building. The Open Gamified Platform will solve barriers concerning user behaviour and help to raise consumer awareness.

Housing Europe is involved in the dissemination of the results, the targeting of information and communication to end-users, exploitation and EU wide replication and demonstration and the validation of methodologies.

HOUSEFUL will deliver innovative circular solutions and services for the EU housing sector. The HOUSEFUL project proposes an innovative shift towards a circular economy by demonstrating the feasibility of an integrated systemic service composed of 11 circular solutions to become more resource efficient throughout the lifecycle of a building, including energy, materials, waste and water aspects. HOUSEFUL concept will be large scale demonstrated at 4 demo-sites, adapting the concept to different scenarios, including in social housing buildings. The two social housing buildings are located in Austria (Vienna) one of which is managed by social housing provider NEUES LEBEN and two in Spain (Sabadell & Terrassa) managed by the public housing provider Agència de l’Habitatge de Catalunya.

Housing Europe is involved in the co-creation process, large scale demo buildings (especially improving access to finance through alternative investments) and in providing policy recommendations at local, regional, national and EU scale to increase the circularity level of the housing sector.