€6.4m EU funding for new technology to measure building efficiency
A €6.4m project intended to improve the efficiency of Europe's buildings was launched in London today.
The Built2Spec project aims improve the accuracy of building efficiency ratings in order to eliminate the “performance gap” that currently exists between the official energy rating of buildings and the amount of energy they use in practice.
According to a statement from the 20 UK and European partners behind the project: “Current construction techniques and assessment methods mean that there are major defects and inefficiencies in the measurement process and it is difficult to assess whether new build or retrofitted properties are actually performing as they should.”
The Built2Spec project will use the latest developments in mobile and cloud technology, including smartphones and hand-held scanners, to better assess how efficient buildings are.
Among a wide range of initiatives, the partners will develop new smartphone apps to perform 3D building scans; handheld thermal imaging devices; and ‘air pulse’ technology to test air-tightness with no need to seal and vacate a building. New cloud-based platforms will be created to capture and share data from these tests.
The four-year project is being delivered by a consortium of 20 organisations including universities, researchers, technology developers and contractors. The four UK partners – BSRIA, VRM Technology, Lakehouse and the University of Nottingham –will share an allocation of €1.24 million from the overall project budget.
The funding comes from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme – an €80bn research and innovation fund.
Built2Spec will focus on the domestic housing market and, in particular, on developing technology that can be scaled for use across large housing portfolios such as those held by housing associations and local authorities, who will participate in demonstration projects to trial the new technologies
Lakehouse, an asset and energy support services provider, will help deliver demonstration projects in partnership with local authorities and housing associations.
Simon Green, head of sustainability at Lakehouse, said: “This project has huge potential to revolutionise the way we deliver energy efficiency in Europe. At the moment, there’s a risk of a big performance gap between the energy rating of a building and how it actually performs. One of the problems is that previously new technology has been difficult to apply in the field – we’re setting out to change that. This project aims to accelerate R&D successes into the market and into people’s homes in a way which will help meet national and European carbon targets far more effectively.
“With the roll-out of smart metering across the UK by 2020, there’s a big opportunity to think much more holistically about how our buildings perform. This can help us make real headway not only on energy efficiency but, crucially, also on fuel poverty.”
The built environment accounts for over 40% of overall energy consumption in Europe and 36% of CO2 emissions.
Building efficiency in the UK has taken a hit in recent months, after the Government scrapped the zero-carbon standard for new homes and ended the Green Deal programme for home energy efficiency improvements. A replacement scheme is expected following the end of the Government’s spending review this month.