Panel 8. Buildings: technologies and systems beyond energy efficiency

The building sector plays a crucial role in international carbon and energy reduction targets and the quest to a renewable energy system.

In the past decade, we have witnessed a strong uptake of energy efficiency measures in the newly constructed building stock, mainly supported by the provisions of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Energy saving measures such as extensive thermal insulation and high efficiency glazing have become mainstream for newly constructed buildings.

An important challenge however remains with upgrading a big proportion of the building stock which remains inefficient and in need of deep retrofit/upgrade.

Apart from traditional energy efficiency measures, novel technological advancements can spur the performance of the building stock, both existing and new. Smarter controls can bring further energy and carbon reductions, but also additional benefits such as increased comfort and flexibility towards smart energy grids. Furthermore, a better consideration of the context a building operates in can bring about additional energy and cost savings, e.g. by considering the layout of the urban environment when integrating technical building systems and exchanging energy flows.

This panel will look beyond traditional energy efficiency technologies and systems, and address the following main topics:

  • Finding the optimal scale level of energy efficient systems and implementations: are individual solutions (e.g. heat pumps and condensing boilers) appropriate or should we move to jointly operated systems at the scale of a group of buildings, streets, districts, cities, regions? Further scale benefits might be harnessed from exchanging energy flows in multi-use buildings and districts. Apart from technological solutions, such approaches require attention to the robustness of the set-up, legal aspects and business models.
  • Controlling energy flows becomes crucial, especially when moving towards an energy system with greater uptake of intermittent renewable energy sources. Claims on saving potential of smarter controls are often very generic, while in reality they will likely depend on building usage, construction quality, available technically building systems, etc. We welcome contributions investigating the proven energy saving potentials of smart controls at the level of individual buildings and districts.
  • Guaranteed performance and quality in both newly constructed and renovated buildings is essential to build trust with investors and occupants. We welcome analyses on proven approaches and real implementation examples which can guarantee an increase in the construction quality and the quality of life for building occupants, and turn this into a sales argument. Can retrofits be scaled in an industrial approach with actually proven quality and savings? Can the mitigation of overheating risk become a sales argument for residential buildings, and if so: which technologies and design principles can really guarantee to increase the occupant thermal comfort?

Panel leaders

Argyris Oraiopoulos, Loughborough University, UK

Dr. Argyris Oraiopoulos currently holds a research post, working on Urban Building Energy Modelling, in the Building Energy Research Group at Loughborough University. He was previously seconded in the UK’s Governmental Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where he worked as a technical specialist on energy and build environment within the Science and Innovation for Climate and Energy directorate. Prior to that he was part of the research team in the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) where he worked on cross-cutting projects in energy efficiency and energy poverty. He holds a PhD in Energy Demand from Loughborough University, a masters in Environmental Design and Engineering from the Bartlett School for Graduate Studies at UCL and a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Surrey.

Stijn Verbeke, EnergyVille/VITO, Belgium

Stijn has 12 years of experience in research and policy support on assessment methods for building and district performance. He holds a master degree in civil engineering (University Ghent) and a Ph.D. in applied engineering (University of Antwerp). The last six years, he works part-time at both the research and technology organization VITO/Energyville and at the University of Antwerp.

At VITO/EnergyVille, he works as senior R&D expert in the team on building and district energy performance assessment. Stijn has collaborated on several research and policy support projects on sustainable buildings, communities and cities, for clients in Europe and the Middle East. Notable projects include support to the upgrade of the calculation methods for energy performance certificates in Flanders, technical coordination of the FP7 Ecodistr-ICT project and the ‘SRI’ study. In the European FP7 Ecodistr-ICT project, an open source decision support tool for district retrofitting was developed. In the ‘SRI’ project commissioned by EC DG ENER, Stijn was technical lead of the consortium that developed a methodology for a ‘smart readiness indicator’ for buildings.

At the University of Antwerp, Stijn is part-time post-doctoral researcher and lecturer in the department of applied engineering. He lectures courses on “building physics” and “energy performance of buildings” to bachelors and master students in construction engineering.

2019 Partners