In November Housing Europe participated at the Retrofit Europe conference in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands.
This “SBE19 NL” 2-day Conference was the first conference in Europe of the 2019-2020 cycle of international conferences on Sustainable Built Environment. Sorcha Edwards, Housing Europe Secretary General took part in the closing panel session on ‘How to get 250 million homes adopt retrofits?’ and highlighted the battle on two fronts the social, public and cooperative housing sector are fighting in practice.
For his part, Sébastien Garnier, Innovation and Project Manager at Housing Europe, presented various innovative EU Horizon 2020 projects in which Housing Europe and its membership are working on. For instance, Transition Zero on the market-uptake of zero energy bill renovation concepts (Transition Zero); the development of an completely integrated and computer-optimized renovation toolkit (HEART) and, finally, the increase of residents satisfaction and acceptance of deep renovation by new technological advances in the field of Gamification Engines, Ethnographic studies, Decisions Support Systems and Morphologic Design (Triple-A RENO).
The conference tried to link the newest innovations with market demand. It provided a deep dive into current policies, technologies and challenges like social acceptation, upscaling of production, choice of concepts for local climates and avoiding material rebounds. Solutions being discussed more in depth include modular packages for large scale retrofitting; prefab retrofit panel production units and upscaling; Circularity of materials- an issue Housing Europe has been working on as part of the HOUSEFUL project- and CO2 impacts of retrofitting. Also examples about the 1st generation H2020 projects were presented (MORE-CONNECT, MOBISTYLE, P2ENDURE, PROGETONE), in particularly on deep renovation and how to implement a diverse range of innovations.
The question of ‘How to get 250 million homes adopt retrofits? shows the magnitude of the task ahead. However it was promising to see that innovations are bearing fruits. The technological obstacles are only one of the barriers however, and the environmental objective of retrofits must be facilitated by a higher levels of acceptance, comfort and affordability for residents, feasible long-term business cases and a more holistic focus on CO2 (and embedded energy) savings.