Tenants, residents, social and affordable housing providers, and cities faced the impact of the coronavirus, have been struggling to welcome Ukrainians fleeing their country, and paying incredibly high energy bills and construction materials. We do live in extremely turbulent times. However, legislative, financial, and soft measures backed up with solid innovation can still ensure a smooth energy transition for homes and neighbourhoods in Europe. Follow live updates from the Renovation Summit in Brussels during which we will hear how this can be done.
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16th November 2022
Opening & Delivering 'lighthouse' district renovation
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17 November 2022 | 17:56
IT'S A WRAP
Thank you for following our live updates.
As you can imagine, there is a lot more to be shared and we will do so.
Expect a detailed report of the Summit and the presentations uploaded on Housing Europe's website but also on the web page of the European Affordable Housing Consortium, SHAPE-EU.
See you soon and keep on sharing with us your ways of advancing toward a fair energy transition.
Take care and goodbye!
17 November 2022 | 17:48
COULD ONE-STOP-SHOPS BECOME THE NORM ALL OVER EUROPE?
"We should intervene in 98% of the buildings in the Basque Country, and this must be done in only 30 years. The cost per dwelling is 25,000 euros, and energy consumption is not the most important factor in the south of Europe but accessibility is incremental," Ignacio de la Puerta, Director of Territorial Planning & Urban Agenda of the Basque Government said.
Housing Europe's Policy Director, Julien Dijol took four key messages from the last discussion of the final conference of the OPENGELA project. If Europe wants to mainstream one-stop-shops that provide information for fair renovation, we need stability of the legal framework, administration that has an active role, ensure balanced objectives because energy savings is not the most valued benefit of renovation for people, and, of course, have a lear recognition of the importance of public finance.
17 November 2022 | 17:38
WORKSHOP: REALISING THE BENEFITS OF SENSORISATION AND DATA ANALYTICS IN BUILDINGS
After an introduction by João Gonçalves, Innovation and Project Manager of Housing Europe, this workshop consists of a presentation of two original approaches based on sensors and data that impact our quality of life but also optimise our energy savings (and carbon emissions) and a try-out of a beta version of software that aims at sure-firing decisions on building renovation, precisely based on the data collected throughout Europe.
Zoi Mylona from Holistic shows the first results of Matrycs, which enables building stakeholders to have centralised control over buildings by exploiting smart-meters and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Stijn Verbeke from SmartBuilt4EU introduces the EU Smart Readiness Indicator, and discusses the barriers to the uptake of smart technologies in buildings: “a lack of awareness of the benefits, a lack of visibility, a lack of common language to discuss smartness, and a slow uptake of innovations in the building sector.”
Last but not least, Elissaios Sarmas, PhD candidate at the Energy Policy Unit of the National Technical University of Athens, explains how participants could test the demo of Matrycs, before they go enjoy the catered drinks.
17 November | 16:59
THE POWER OF ONE-STOP-SHOPS - THE EXPERIENCE OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY
After more than three and a half years of work, vulnerable neighbourhoods of several cities in the Basque Country have delivered renovation that goes way beyond energy efficiency, it shows what social innovation means in practice and has done what many are struggling with - to gain the trust of households to upgrade their homes.
The EU-funded project, OPENGELA had as a main goal to create trustful one-stop-shops in the region with professionals who are knowledgeable about the available opportunities to renovate, and who are able to provide a simple message and clear guidance.
OPENGELA is coming to an end and the project’s final conference tagged along the Renovation Summit programme to present the main learnings.
While many residents would like to improve their homes, for those at the age of 50 or more, obtaining a long-term loan is really challenging. This is why the project targeted the elderly and especially women. Living with an annual income of 20,135 euros per year – way below the average for the Basque country – residents were not only suffering from feeling cold at home but some were also living in humid spaces or with no lifts, leaving some stuck at home.
What has changed?
- Created offices that people could visit, offering coordination and advice.
- The project has obtained a fixed interest rate of 6.5% while for other owners in the Basque Country the rate will be between 8 and 10%.
- OPENGELA has Improved accessibility, liberating people locked in a roll chair.
- It has delivered an enormous improvement in humidity and more comfortable temperature inside the homes thanks to the remodelation of the buildings.
- Residents have been equipped with an app to measure humidity, CO2 levels, and monitor their energy use.
- The project has introduced passive and active measures, heaters, and new insulation.
- OPENGELA has enabled shared self-consumption communities.
- It has introduced mechanisms to keep housing affordable, with long-term financing, integrating subsidies and rebates. What is more, residents can access a smart funding system that relies on a risk-sharing facility.
Ignacio de la Puerta, Director of Territorial Planning & Urban Agenda of the Basque Government concluded by saying that OPENGELA has created a new model that could be copied in the region to reduce energy poverty, create zero energy balance areas, improve living conditions, provide training and requalification for residents who are unemployed.
Discover the project - https://opengela.eus/en
17 November 2022 | 16:44
PANEL DISCUSSION ON MARKET-READY TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION
The panel is chaired by Thomas Messervey, who first summarises what we have learned this afternoon: how to engage with residents, how to develop an integrated retrofit strategy, how to reuse materials, how to industralise these efforts, and how to support SMEs in achieving this.
Anne van Stijn, sustainability advisor for the Association of Dutch Housing Corporations, believes that housing associations “can go pretty fast in making homes climate neutral when they overcome barriers like the significant costs”. When asked by Mr. Messervey how Aedes increases the amount of users of the Aedes Roadmap software tool, she answers that it is a co-production with Dutch housing associations which are the end users.
The panel is asked by a participant whether it would not be more worthwhile to start with retrofitting office buildings, as it would be easier to approach one company than dozens of tenants. Panel member Ulla-Brit Kramer, who works for the Dutch Province of Overijssel on the INDU-ZERO Project, replies that she gets the question, but notes that it could be overcome by employing one neighbourhood representative. Susanne van Suylekom adds that there are already policies in place, and that the energy transition of social housing is already happening. Anne van Stijn states that this energy transition is also a social transition, which means there are equity concerns when you start improving the homes of vulnerable tenants rather late.
17 November 2022 | 15:34
MARKET-READY TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION
After a well-deserved lunch, the session at the House of Dutch Provinces is kicked off by Nerea Gomez, Project Officer at ECTP, who elaborates on the technical blueprint that the European Affordable Housing Consortium, SHAPE-EU, will offer.
Anne van Stijn, sustainability advisor for the Association of Dutch Housing Corporations, introduces the Aedes Roadmap. This helps the Aedes members to compare different scenarios in the energy transition and zoom in on various stages of their renovation process. It provides a helpful tool to continue the dialogue with municipalities, other housing associations, and all remaining stakeholders.
John van Oorschot, Researcher of Hogeschool Zuyd, discusses the relevance of Zero Energy Renovation Kits. He highlights the importance of community participation, but also refers to embodied carbon output, which can be mitigated by reusing materials. This will require process innovation and supply chain innovation. Improving facades used to be rather expensive but is nowadays "low hanging fruit" as cost has dropped significantly.
Sébastien Delpont, Founder of Energiesprong France and Associate Director at Greenflex, explains how industrialised renovations could contribute to achieving economies of scale. He emphasises the discrepancy between large-scale investments in sustainable mobility, while investment in sustainable housing solutions is desperately needed but still lacking. Now the innovative retrofit scheme Energiesprong is gaining ground across Europe, its overall cost is decreasing. Mr. Delpont also calls for a World Expo that focuses on retrofit rather than new construction (perhaps we could build on our Renovation Summit?).
Susanne van Suylekom (who also listens to the nickname ‘Mrs. Heat Pump’), Stakeholder Manager at Vattenfall, discusses her company’s district heating approach. Despite her nickname, she advocates the integration of a mix of energy sources. By means of various examples, she explains what is most important in her work: “It is not just technology, it is the process that matters to me.” She sets out various dilemma’s, amongst which:
- District heating vs all electric
- Scaling up vs customising for different preferences
- Creating support vs speeding up
Thomas Messervey, CEO of R2M Solution, explains what is needed to accelerate market access to technology solutions: integrators, facilitators, and incubators. His company aims to be all at once while innovating the sustainable built environment.
17 November 2022 | 13:08
PANEL DISCUSSION: OPPORTUNITIES, THREATS OF POLITICAL-ECONOMIC-REGULATORY CONTEXT FOR INNOVATION IN RENOVATION
Our first panel discussion of the day is chaired by Julien Dijol, Policy Director of Housing Europe.
Sivlia Ganzerla, Policy Director of EUROCITIES, urges policymakers designing energy efficiency schemes to keep up with the pace needed. She believes that lacking access to finance must be tackled by closing the information gap, which requires capacity-building within our public entities. Subsidies and interest-free loans for lower income households and vulnerable groups must be made widely available to prevent renovictions and put social cohesion at the centre of policy packages.
Sven Van Elst, General Manager of ASTER, also emphasises the urgency of the renovation wave: “we need to start today, not tomorrow, with retrofitting homes”. He believes that closing the information gap, introduced by Mrs. Ganzerla, would also require keeping policies and financial schemes as simple as possible.
Barbara Steenbergen, Member of the Executive Committee & Head EU office of the International Union of Tenants (IUT), highlights that rent increases and inflation of energy cost together have accounted for a 70% increase of housing cost in Brussels. She also states that speculation of private companies must be avoided: “we need sticks rather than carrots, which in practice means rents should not be increased when substandard housing conditions are provided”.
Pau Garcia, Policy Officer at DG ENER, states rental protection is out of the scope of the European Commission’s EPBD. However, he explains how the EU member states’ National Renovation Plans must ensure that finance is widely available. The one-stop-shops will help in providing financial and technical assistance to residents at the local level. Mr. Garcia thinks that the elephant in the room is often the capacity issues of the construction industry. Therefore, member states should incentivise their citizens to enter this labour market.
17 November 2022 | 12:06
BEST PRACTICES OF AFFORDABLE ENERGY-EFFICIENT DISTRICTS
Inge Strassl, Project Manager at the SIR Salzburger Institut für Raumordnung & Wohnen, elaborates on the retrofits of several apartment buildings from the 1970s. She points out how the people living there were involved in the project by conducting user surveys, organising information evenings and 1-on-1 talks, and employing a liaison officer within SIR. Tenants were guaranteed the opportunity to return after project completion (and to engage in the planning) or were helped to a new apartment. The main building material in the retrofit was mass timber, which illustrates the importance of a paradigm shift in the construction industry.
Demonstrating how Integrated Energy Design (IED) works in practice, Carles Mas, Project Coordinator at INCASOL, explains how his organisation improved the energy performance of 38 dwellings in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, close to Barcelona. The works implemented a centralised heat pump and placed PV panels on the whole surface of the roof that together produce over 50,000 kWh per year. Mr Mas emphasises that construction, renovation, and demolition currently account for less than half of a dwelling’s energy usage: “We need to include the whole life cycle of a building in the equation, including day-to-day energy consumption.”
Joke Dockx, Head of the Sustainable Building Promotion at Bruxelles Environnement, introduces Renolution – the ambitious renovation strategy of the Brussels Metropolitan Region. This not only includes the quantity of works, but also the quality of renovation, ensuring that “the job is done right”. Closely aligned with Mr. Mas’ final remark, Mrs. Dockx explains how the City of Brussels has also drafted an action plan that focuses on the management of building stock after construction or renovation.
17 November 2022 | 11:23
OPENING OF DAY TWO
We are off for the second day of the Renovation Summit!
Julien Dijol, Policy Director of Housing Europe, welcomes all participants for yet another inspiring day. He introduces the Policy Lab of the European Affordable Housing Consortium, SHAPE-EU.
Bent Madsen, President of Housing Europe, joins him in welcoming everyone, and sets the scene for the challenges that will be discussed today, like rising inflation rates and labour shortages. He also emphasises the need for policies that take into account the local context: "Decarbonization regulations, if not well designed, could disrupt the balance between affordability, availability and sustainability." He further adds: "When we look at the funds available, there are plenty & here there is a paradox because we have difficulty in bringing them forward. This is a challenge at different levels about how we transfer the good wills into real change in the real world."
Bent Madsen shares the results of a survey among 3,000 housing cooperatives in Germany, which show that 64% of the socially oriented companies have to postpone new construction projects and 24% are forced to abandon the planned construction of new apartments. He identifies 3 risks for the alternative housing sector:
- Risk of negative socio-economic impact from decreasing housing affordability
- High costs impacting supply
- Tention between affordability & energy efficiency standards but opportunity for innovation, residents, the environment
The morning session at the Committee of the Regions will focus on innovative policy solutions to challenges related to the renovation and decarbonisation of cities and the affordable housing sector. The afternoon will have two different sessions: one at the Committee of the Regions on Opengela and One-Stop-Shops, and one at the House of Dutch Provinces on technological innovations.
Check out the full programme here.
16 November 2022 | 17:25
The day ended with a lively panel discussion led by Henk Visscher, Professor Housing Quality and Process Innovation at TU Delft. It was a natural outcome when so many sides got together at one table: the European Commission and DG GROW, social housing providers and tenants, social care provider, and last but not least, a housing cooperative representative. There were several focus points, among which we could mention how to build a cooperation philosophy, the fact that people need to be given attention as they are the ones to adapt their daily lives during the renovation process, or how to integrate circularity in the process.
Thomas van de Water and Esmay Braam, tenants of AREA Wonen, explained how the mobile app that monitored energy use urged them to reduce their consumption: “It became a game between tenants to have the lowest energy bill. At some point, I even tried to find out how I used 2 kWh more and how I could avoid this the next day.” Karel Vanderpoorten, Policy Officer Social Economy at DG GROW, states that the European Commission now supports social innovation and knowledge sharing.
16 November 2022 | 15:42
PRESENTING SHAPE-EU SOCIAL INNOVATION BLUEPRINT RESULTS
Queena Qian, associate professor at TU Delft, illustrated how the European Affordable Housing Consortium, SHAPE-EU project aims to draft social innovation blueprints for affordable housing renovation. This way, it supports SMEs, public authorities, and housing providers in their implementation of lighthouse district-level projects that integrate innovative features, such as the use of smart, circular and modular renovation technologies, people-centred business models, and experimental co-creation and engagement practices.
16 November 2022 | 15:05
‘SOCIAL BEAUTIFUL’, A COLLABORATION MODEL BETWEEN SOCIAL HOUSING, SOCIAL CARE AND TENANTS
Area Wonen is a social housing provider based in Uden, the Netherlands. They are in charge of one out of four demos from the Horizon2020 project syn.ikia. They wanted to provide affordable housing for social impact, but also creating energy-friendly households. Once again, external help is needed for the social dimension. For this project, they are collaborating with a care provider, Labyrint. The apartments were shared between tenants with special needs and tenants-ambassadors. Hugo de Vries, Manager real estate and sustainability at Area, said that: ‘Not the most beautiful building in the world, but it’s beautiful because of the young people who live together in it’. The aim was to create a pleasant living environment, where residents look after each other.
16 November 2022 | 14:52
SOCIAL RENOVATION IN THE OVERVECHT-NOORD DISTRICT OF UTRECHT
Representatives of the Dutch social housing provider Mitros talked about what the renovation process needs to be successful. Physical renovation is important, but not enough, it doesn’t change the lives of the residents. It is important that in a neighbourhood people should be able to choose to live there, to contribute to the community. They presented the example of a monofunctional neighbourhood, where a small sandwich shop was opened by a local entrepreneur. The shop was made from pieces coming from renovated buildings, finally giving the residents a place to meet in the neighbourhood.
The important extra step is the social dimension of the renovation. The liveability of the neighbourhood also has to be improved. The housing provider cannot do this on its own, which is why Mitros requested help from local stakeholders. A relationship with the tenants has to be built in advance, and then support ensured all throughout the renovation process, as well as follow-up.
16 November 2022 | 14:20
HOUSING NEIGHBOURHOODS OF TOMORROW
Rob Hopkins started this interesting session with some thought-provoking ideas. Climate change makes us have to reimagine the way we do things. As an activist who wants to create change, one should imagine that their efforts will actually lead to winning. Stories are needed to show how change actually moves. When preparing these changes, we need to think that we are going towards something exciting, not being dragged away from something irreplaceable.
16 November 2022 | 14:00
THE SKILLS SHORTAGE CHALLENGE, A CALL NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVES IN DISTRICT RENOVATION, AND THE NEED TO SIMPLIFY LEGISLATION
Before wrapping up lunch and heading to the House of Dutch Provinces, just 7 minutes away from the Committee of the Regions, a trade union representing woodworkers, the voice of cooperatives and the construction sector sent short but essential messages about what keeps their sector up at night.
Tom Deleu, Secretary General of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers said that when we talk about skills shortage, we speak about people and that we must rather think of how we could attract and keep them on the job. The construction sector must modernise and enter into a new era, Deleu said.
Agnès Mathis, Director of Cooperatives Europe, pointed out that cooperatives with a social objective need better access to finance and mentioned the difficulty they experience in finding partners that do not look at having an immediate financial benefit.
Paul Cartuyvels, President of the European Construction, built environment and energy efficient building Technology Platform (ECTP) emphasised the need for climate adaptation of buildings, simplifying legislation, and referred to the circularity challenge and the lack of secondary materials market that could deliver greener homes.
This is quite a lot to take home but before that, we are heading to the second part of the day.
16 November 2021 | 12:59
MAINSTREAMING AFFORDABLE RENOVATION
When it comes to scaling up successful practices, Laia Grau, Deputy Manager for Urban Planning in Barcelona City underlined that some of the main difficulties the city is experiencing are stability in investments, partnership between public and private actors. She highlighted several times the need to avoid gentrification by renovating and engaging communities, so that they feel as if they own the renovation process and the outcomes.
Grzegorz Gajda, a Senior Urban Advisor, Division Urban Development in the European Investment Bank (EIB) said that implementation of renovation projects is becoming a hard task due to the skyrocketing materials and energy prices. While the public housing sector is very well organised in the west side of Europe, this is less the case in the east and the lack of well-established structure poses certain challenges to modernise entire districts, find solutions, and enabling investments all over the EU. Gajda also said that more and more cities are looking at the 15-minute model that makes all services naturally closer. However, this will come with higher densification and transforming land which can be at the expense of public transport.
Filip Chraska, Policy Officer, Financial Instrument Unit, DG REGIO explained how within the framework of the New European Bauhaus framework, his unit has developed a new instrument to provide guidance for authorities on how to combine different instruments.
Finally, Housing Europe’s member, Donal McManus who is the CEO of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) raised awareness about the incredible pressure for the construction sector, but also for social housing providers who often are in front of big dilemma to upgrade and renovate the building stock or to create new affordable homes to tackle the housing crisis.
Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe concluded by saying that the urgency that has come up is putting the sector in a very specific situation, resulting in a slowdown of delivery while the need for affordable renovation and construction is on the grow.
16 November 2022 | 12:01
IN-DEPTH EXAMPLES OF INNOVATIVE PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
We are learning about brilliant examples on the ground. William Nelissen, Head of renovation, maintenance and construction at Cordium explained how they insulated facades glued to social housing in Hoeselt, Belgium for a record time of 9 days while tenants were still living inside. While this might sound as a miracle, William stressed that was a result of two years of talks with tenants and the government before the renovation on-site started.
We also heard from Sven Buch from Himmerland Boligforening Chief development officer of Aalborg Model about how they turned a problematic neighbourhood in Aalborg, Denmark into a place people are proud to live in.
Finally, Daniele Bessone, Communication manager, Atenes Auc shared the work that was done behind the pioneering energy community in Pinerolo, Italy.
16 November 2022 | 11:23
SUSTAINABLE HOUSING FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, MISSION POSSIBLE
The European Affordable Housing Consortium, (SHAPE-EU) which provides technical assistance to the EU Affordable Housing Initiative is more than business as usual. It is the point of reference for a socially-inclusive Renovation Wave and New European Bauhaus, bringing innovative technologies, people-driven approaches and co-creation to the social housing sector. You can be part of it and become an expert, Housing Europe's Project and Innovation Manager, João Gonçalves says.
Discover the project brought together by 10 partners, coordinated by Housing Europe and funded by EU's Single Market Programme.
16 November 2022 | 10:55 CET
KICKING OFF WITH THE VIEW OF THE SOCIAL HOUSING SECTOR IN FRANCE, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COMMISSION, AND THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF TENANTS
Hearing diverse voices is crucial and this is exactly why the opening of the Renovation Summit brought together the views of the social housing sector, EU policymakers, and very importantly tenants who are impacted by any decision on homes and neighbourhood transformation that we are making at the moment.
Jean-Noël Verfaillie, President of Partenord Habitat stresses the 3 major issues the social housing sector is facing in France: protecting tenants from rising prices, tackling housing needs and reducing the carbon footprint of homes. He calls for strategy, guidelines and solid investment.
MEP Marcos Ros Sempere (S&D, Spain) who is also the very first ambassador of the European Affordable Housing Consortium (SHAPE-EU) emphasises we must build on innovative solutions and cost-effective renovation of our homes, taking into account local realities, aesthetics and social cohesion. 'We need a paradigm shift to transform neighbourhoods, and the New European Bauhaus could play this role," he says.
The Vice-president of the International Union of Tenants (IUT), Jan Laurier asks governments to implement a plan for tenant protection, including no energy cut-offs for financially overburdened households, ensure no evictions by renovation, and displacement of residents. Laurier also calls for assurance that energy-poor, low-income or vulnerable groups would not suffer from energy measures with direct or indirect impact on such groups. Read IUT's 7 objectives here.
Alessia di Gregorio, Deputy head of the Social Economy Unit at European Commission's DG GROW emphasises that energy poverty is one of the most pressing issues of this decade, and that we need to both monitor it continuously as well as address it with adequate retrofit policies. She calls on social and private housing developers, universities, local governments, and all other stakeholders to come together, since we need this triple helix to solve the housing crisis.
16 November 2022 | 10:31 CET
WE ARE STREAMING LIVE
If you could not make it to Brussels, you can follow the streaming and let us know your thoughts via the #RenovationSummit hashtag.
16 November 2022 | 09:43 CET
Good morning! It is #RenovationSummit day 1 and we are already fully set up at the Committee of the Regions.
We will be kicking off at 10:30 CET sharp, setting the scene of how housing can be affordable and remain affordable after renovation while having a social impact on our cities and society.
15 November 2022 | 12:59 CET
IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
- +40 speakers, including social housing providers, policymakers, tenants, cities, service providers
- 4 sessions that aim at having a real conversation on the fair transformation of our neighbourhoods
- 2 side events that bring the innovative spirit of Horizon EU to the surface
We'll be pulling all strings that could deliver a Social Renovation Wave.
Ensuring that an ambitious renovation project delivery goes as planned is mission possible.
The Renovation Wave brings a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our buildings less energy-consuming, but also more liveable and affordable for everybody. How can we create the neighbourhoods of tomorrow?
What are the innovative policy solutions that can deliver fair renovation of our sector and the decarbonisation of cities?
Which market-ready technologies can help us reach a fair energy transition?
Plus, the power of one-stop-shops and the benefits that the digitalisation of our buildings could bring to our society.
Looking forward to tomorrow.