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Pre-fab and integrated renovation toolkits: an opportunity for a Renovation Wave in Social Housing?

Find out more in our market review report & watch the webinar.

8 October 2020 | Published in Energy, Future of the EU & Housing

The "Renovation Wave" requires social, public and cooperative housing providers to shift to the next gear in terms of techniques and products. They are increasingly looking at pre-fabricated and integrated renovation concepts to improve delivery speed, cost and affordability, comfort and end-user requests.

Through a market review, Housing Europe has been screening different models of renovation toolkits in Europe, such as the one being developed in the EU-funded HEART project. As a result of this market screening, Housing Europe published a report and organised a webinar with its members to understand the potential of renovation toolkits.

But first, what exactly is a “renovation toolkit”? The definition that was used was that these solutions are integrated packages of pre-fabricated components, such as insulation/façades; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; (renewable) energy systems; user interfaces and digital solutions offered by a group of suppliers to ensure quicker, higher quality and more cost-effective home renovations. This broad definition was useful to reach out to different actors and solutions, and have a better understanding of the market as it is now, and its future evolutions.

This market review relied on interviews with actors from the social housing sector representing the demand side, and actors working on other projects involving renovation toolkits - the supply side. For social, public and cooperative housing providers – the demand side, increasing the industrialisation of renovation solutions can be attractive because it promises reduced costs and higher energy performances of a large volume of houses.

While prefabrication and industrialisation of renovation processes seem key for the future of the renovation market, interviewees agreed that the market is still premature. One of the difficulties to reach those benefits is that production should be scaled up in order to reach the promised economies of scale. At the same time, the demand side has to be more familiarised with these concepts. There is also a fear that such solutions lack adaptability, making it challenging to implement on a broad ensemble of buildings.

Focusing on the ‘smart’ side of the HEART toolkit, the use of an algorithm was perceived as a decisive element for renovation toolkits, helping social housing providers to predict and monitor the energy performance of their housing stock better while increasing the comfort of residents. Guided by the involvement of residents, such algorithms should aim for higher cost savings, less energy, comfortable indoor environments and less CO2 emissions.

The Renovation Wave is an opportunity to promote innovative initiatives, and to knock down some of the barriers that are preventing the market from developing itself. Social housing providers and industrial actors for who are familiar with renovation toolkits seemed enthusiastic about the future of retrofitting innovations. While the renovation toolkits market has to grow further, this study shows possible pathways for the housing sector and their partners to ride the renovation wave.

Find out more in the HEART report “Pre-fab & Integrated renovation toolkits: an opportunity for social housing?”

Our Innovation and Project Manager, Sébastien Garnier & Project Assistant, Marion Brunet write about how the sector could 'surf the Renovation Wave' at REVOLVE Magazine.

Watch the webinar

Welcome and introduction of the HEART project, Claudio del Pero, POLIMI 02:12

Presentation of the Report, Marion Brunet and Sébastien Garnier, Housing Europe 08:04

Business opportunities for renovation toolkits? Davide Chiaroni, POLIMI 13:11

Facing the challenges involved in the development and supply of renovation toolkits

  • Robert Lambe, Melius Homes 21:27
  • Ulla-Britt Krämer, INDU-ZERO 29:55
  • Ron van Erck, Energiesprong Europe 36:54

Understanding the needs for renovation toolkits in the social housing sector

  • Christian Krainer - CEO ÖWG Wohnbau 48:23
  • Gordon Watts, SYHA 53:22

Conclusions: Philippe Moseley, DG GROW, European Commission 1:05:45