Forgot password

Housing Europe will partner in a new project for climate positive circular communities, funded by EU’s Green Deal grant

The 4-year project will start in January 2022 and falls under EU's framework programme Horizon 2020

Brussels, 14 December 2021 | Published in Energy, Future of the EU & Housing
Figure 2: The ARV project – ARV means “legacy” or “heritage” in Norwegian
Figure 2: The ARV project – ARV means “legacy” or “heritage” in Norwegian

The ARV project has received 20M euros in funding from the EUs Green Deal call to research climate positive circular communities in Europe. The project will provide guidelines and a political framework for future energy-efficient and circular solutions in the construction industry. 35 partners from seven European countries are involved. Establishing six climate-positive areas around Europe is at the project’s core and the Grant Agreement has now been signed with the EU Commission.

What’s in it for public, cooperative and social housing providers?

ARV will demonstrate innovative scalable solutions for renovation of social housing and public buildings for different climatic conditions and cultural context that will give significant reductions in construction and operation costs (30%), while provide good indoor climate and architectural qualities and alleviating energy poverty (at least 50% reduction in energy/power bills).

The project will also showcase a streamlined, efficient and replicable workflow for resource efficient renovation of social housing and cultural heritage public buildings contributing to the EU policy goals set in the Renovation Wave.

The Spanish demo case is the Llevant Innovation District in Palma de Mallorca in a neighbourhood with approx. 2500 inhabitants. A new Positive Energy social housing building with 36 apartments promoted by the Balearic Institute of Housing (IBAVI).

The Dutch demo case consists of two clusters of residential buildings in the Overvecht-Noord district and the Kanaleneiland-Zuid district in the city of Utrecht. Both districts were built in the 1960s and 70s with a high share of low-quality social housing, home to a majority of low-income households.

Two social housing corporations Mitros and Bo- Ex together with their partners and other housing corporations are faced with the challenge of renovating approximately 5,000 social housing units in the coming years, while at the same time increasing the public space, quality of life, safety, mobility and culture in the area. In ARV, Mitros and Bo-Ex will prepare a retrofitting plan for PEB building retrofitting and will participate in the Smart Building and Smart Communities optimization activities using (BI)PV & battery storage.

The Danish demo case is called SAB Department 22: Kløvermarken/Hvedemarken and is located in the central part of the City of Sønderborg. It includes 19 apartment blocks of 3 floors, in total 432 apartments. Sønderborg Andelsboligforening (SAB), a non-profit independent and private social housing company owned by their residents (tenants) will demonstrate new innovative energy saving measures in buildings, especially apartment buildings. SAB will involve the citizens/tenants in the project and disseminate the results to other social housing associations in Europe.

Relevant ARV innovations for public, cooperative and social housing providers

  • Positive Energy Building Social Housing with local materials: increased use of local materials with low embodied energy and emissions. Replicable design solutions for PEB in the Mediterranean climate.
  • HeMuBo retrofitting (NZEB) with Inside-Out system design components for high-rise social housing retrofit to PEB: shortened retrofitting time and cost; Increased energy ambitions from the NZEB HeMuBo approach towards the ZEB and PEB approach of Inside- Out. The goal is to create a future-proof concept and higher comfort levels for tenants.

Shortened retrofitting time and cost; Increased energy ambitions achieving net-zero to positive energy values.

  • Bankable business models for CPCCs

Successful working business models for different real-estate ownership structures: social housing, rental and privately owned. Scalable and including for profit and non-for-profit.

Contact our Innovation and Project Officer, Clara Mafé if you would like to know more.

The name ARV comes from Norwegian and means “heritage” or “legacy”. It reflects the emphasis on circularity, a key aspect in reaching the project’s main goal of boosting the building renovation rate in Europe.

Urgent call for renovation of buildings

We must increase the pace of renovation of our existing buildings if we are to achieve the climate goals, and we must think circularly, says Inger Andresen, project coordinator and professor at the Department of Architecture and Technology (IAT), NTNU.

ARV is led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and was awarded the grant in fierce competition with 115 other applicants for the EU's Green Deal call.

Construction accounts for as much as 40% of the EU's total energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. Renovating existing buildings and building a more efficient infrastructure around energy utilisation has major environmental benefits, emphasizes Inger Andresen. 

Builds on existing research on zero emission buildings and neighbourhoods

The project relies heavily on research on zero emission buildings and neighbourhoods driven by the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighborhoods (The ZEN Research Centre), a Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) in Norway. The ZEN Research Centre is hosted by NTNU and lead by NTNU and SINTEF in collaboration.

'The fact that we are winning such a large project shows that long-term and systematic investment is useful. We are now looking forward to taking this knowledge to Europe and contributing to the EU's important initiatives Green Deal and Renovation Wave. Together with our partners in ARV, we will develop solutions for attractive, robust and affordable homes and buildings - which are also sustainable,' says Head of the ZEN Research Centre, Arild Gustavsen.

Six demonstration projects in six European cities

The core of the ARV project lies in the six large-scale demo projects in six European cities (Oslo in Norway, Sønderborg in Denmark, Karvina in the Czech Republic, Utrecht in the Netherlands, Palma in Spain and Trento in Italy). These will be developed as Climate Positive Circular Communities, which is a concept that rests on three main pillars:

  1. circular economy
  2. integration of people, buildings and energy systems
  3. simplicity – achieved by means of digitalization and industrialization.

The ARV concept highlights an integrated circular design that cultivates the aesthetics and improves amenities for the buildings in line with the new European Bauhaus strategy, says Niki Gaitani from NTNU, who will lead the work on sustainable design of the demo projects. The 35 partners in ARV represent the entire value chain in the building and energy sector.

The 35 partners in the ARV project:

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NO), Architects Council of Europe (BE), Czech Technical University (CZ), Technical University of Denmark (DK), Danfoss AS (DK), ENFOR AS (DK), Project Zero (DK), EURAC Research (IT), SINTEF (NO), Palma City Council (ES), IBAVI (ES), Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (ES), METROVACESA (ES), University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (ES), Housing Europe (BE), Buro de Haan (NL), Center Denmark/EU Digital Innovation Hub (DK), Sønderborg Andelsboligforening (DK), Green Digital Finance Alliance (CH), Stichting Bo-Ex ’91 (NL), RC Panels (NL), Utrecht University (NL), Municipality of Utrecht (NL), Bos Installatiewerken B.V. (NL), iWELL (NL), MEX Architects B.V. (NL), Mitros (NL), Municipality of Karvina (CZ), Dolomiti Energia (IT), Habitech (IT), University of Trento (IT), Politecnico Torino (IT), Oslobygg KF (NO), NanoPower (CZ), AIGUASOL (ES)



Inger Andresen

Project coordinator


Phone: +47 40649405