Panel 8. Innovations in products, systems and building technologies

This panel aims to merge product policy with a systems approach, looking into the broader realm of digitalisation, product passports, and use of real-world data monitoring. While this panel has a strong focus on buildings, it accepts contributions on products and systems in other sectors as well, such as industrial systems and components 

In buildings, energy use is influenced not only by the energy performance of the building itself but also by the energy efficiency and consumption of installed products and systems, and whether these products and systems take advantage of digitalisation and interconnectivity productively. This is equally true for systems outside the buildings sector, e.g., in industrial systems such as compressed air, ventilation etc. 

The building sector plays a crucial role in international carbon and energy reduction targets as well as in the quest to a renewable energy system. The EPBD promotes policies to achieve a highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050, by providing the nearly-zero energy building (nZEB) standard for new buildings and by supporting cost-effective building renovation. Many technological solutions are currently available, but reaching an optimal implementation and control remains a major challenge. 

Considerable energy efficiency improvements have been achieved for products, appliances, and information and communication technologies (ICT) over the last couple of decades. Efforts (e.g. for ecodesign) are increasing to extend this positive development to other areas of sustainability such as resource efficiency and hazardous waste reduction. Yet challenges remain for market players and policy makers as traditional markets and standards change. Digitalisation, innovation and policy frameworks open the way to new business models towards more energy efficient, smart and system integrated appliances and products. COVID-19 may change use and work patterns and economic structures, and put a new focus on products for health care and disease prevention. 

To maximise savings, consumers and procurement professionals need easy access to reliable information on energy performance for their purchasing decision, including performance metrics that reflect size and user patterns. Product passes and dataspaces are important instruments, but real-life performance is equally important. Monitoring of real-world data will allow a durable and energy efficient operation. All this is increasingly important as we should make the massive post-Covid recovery and climate investment packages as effective as possible. 

The panel covers contributions on the following topics: 

  • Contributions that would normally fit into eceee’s traditional products and ICT panel, as well as into eceee’s traditional building systems and technology panel.
  • Heating & cooling without fossil fuels, managing indoor comfort, energy demand and energy flows in an energy system with greater uptake of intermittent renewable energy sources, while exploring proven energy saving potentials of smart controls at the level of individual high-performance buildings and nZEB communities.
  • Finding the optimal technology mix and scale level of energy efficient systems and implementations to reach the cost effective nZEB levels beyond energy efficiency including integration of smart buildings into smart energy systems.
  • Use of digitalisation to improve energy and resource efficiency, including outlook on possible impacts of COVID-19, impacts of IT or artificial intelligence (smart home appliances, readiness for demand-side flexibility, autonomous systems etc.), new technologies and applications for real-world data, monitoring and reporting, including issues of software updates, privacy and data security.
  • Opportunities and impacts of digitilisation and Internet of Things (IoT) on energy and resource consumption.
  • Understanding the role of user behaviour in the context of ICT systems (e.g. increased use of cloud and streaming services, data demand growth).
  • Insights and ideas on how to enhance/promote sufficiency (for instance through performance metrics or test standards), multiple benefits, extended producer responsibility and encouraging users to choose and use energy-saving solutions etc.
  • Strategies to enhance implementation and compliance, both in terms of reducing the performance gap between design and real energy sue of buildings and other systems, and ensuring quality compliance of products and installed solutions, product passports.
  • Information to consumers and procurement professionals, including both lab and field data, strategies to enhance implementation and compliance, both in terms of reducing the performance gap between design and real building and ensuring quality compliance of products.
  • Energy efficient technologies and systems to increase resilience against variations in energy prices. This can help vulnerable consumers, but is equally true for industries with high energy costs.

Panel leaders

Carlos Lopes

Carlos Lopes, Swedish Energy Agency, Sweden

MSc from the University of Coimbra in Portugal, he has since 1992 been working in the energy field. He worked at the Portuguese National Energy Agency and as research engineer at Ecole des Mines de Paris in France. He served as advisor for energy affairs in the Portuguese Government. He joined the Swedish Energy Agency in 2003, where he is senior policy advisor for energy efficiency policies. He has served in several committees within the European Union, Energy Charter and the International Energy Agency. He has been member of the board of eceee – European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Since 2009 he is Swedish delegate for implementing the Directives on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling.

Horia Petran, Pro-nZEB Cluster/NIRD URBAN-INCERC, The Building Knowledge Hub, Romania

Horia Petran is a senior research scientist and coordinator of the Romanian Building Knowledge Hub, within the National Institute for Research and Development in Construction, Urban Planning and Sustainable Spatial Development "URBAN–INCERC", working within the institute since 1995. He is Doctor of Science in Mechanical Engineering since 2003 and he has a long teaching activity as invited assistant or associate professor at various technical universities in Bucharest (1997–2012) in the field of energy performances of buildings. He is energy auditor for buildings and is actively involved in standardization activity in HVAC systems, solar energy and thermal performance of buildings.

Horia is founding member of Romanian Energy Auditors for Buildings Association, member of Romanian Association of Building Services Engineers and Passive House Association of Romania and president of the Association Cluster for Promotion of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Pro-nZEB. Since 2011, he has continuously contributing to the development of qualifications and training schemes to support the effective implementation of nZEB concept in Romania. He coordinated the strategic project BUILD UP Skills Romania (ROBUST) and the implementation of BUILD UP Skills QualiShell project and he supported the implementation of the IEE initiatives RePublic_ZEB and QUALICHeCK as partner responsible and country leader (Romania). As key partner in the HORIZON2020 actions Train-to-nZEB, ENERFUND, Fit-to-nZEB, The nZEB Roadshow and iBRoad, he is pushing forward the preparation and healthy development of nZEB market in Romania.

Chris Spiliotopoulus

Christoforos Spiliotopoulos, Joint Reseaerch Centre (JRC) Sevilla, Spain

Christoforos Spiliotopoulos is a Project Officer at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, and specifically at the B5 Unit of Circular Economy and Industrial Leadership. His focus is on topics related to product circularity, ICT products and ecodesign policy. He has worked on ecodesign aspects within the NGO sector from 2012 to 2020 and participated in the development of European standards on energy efficiency and material efficiency supporting the implementation of the Ecodesign Directive and Energy Labelling regulations. Chris holds an M.Sc. in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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