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Are there at present in the context of Horizon 2020 projects dealing with innovation in smart buildings?

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Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Under Horizon 2020 there are 3 types of actions supported: research, demonstration and market uptake. The demonstration projects demonstrate existing technologies. Specific examples of a few demonstration projects dealing with innovation in smart buildings include:


  • Zero plus project (Achieving near Zero and Positive Energy Settlements in Europe using Advanced Energy Technology

The aim of ZERO-PLUS research project is to search for buildings design for new highly energy performing buildings. In this project, a comprehensive, cost-effective modular system for Net Zero Energy (NZE) settlements is being developed and implemented in a series of case studies across the EU. In ZERO-PLUS, the challenge of significantly reducing the costs of NZE settlements will be achieved through: increasing the efficiency of the components directly providing the energy conservation and energy generation in the NZE settlement; reducing the "balance of system" costs through efficient production and installation processes and; reducing operational costs through better management of the loads and resources on a district scale rather than on the scale of a single building.


The project’s objective is to demonstrate a system able to supply heating and hot water to buildings mainly from renewable sources. The system is based on a combination of solar thermal energy production, seasonal heat storage and high efficiency heat pumps. The system operation will be optimised according to some external factors, as electricity price or user requirements by using a smart control and management systems developed specifically for the project. This proposal will be materialised in three pilot experiences: a small-scale prototype in Lavola's headquarters (Spain), 50 new dwellings located in Corby (England) and a new sport centre located in Sant Cugat (Spain).


The project focuses on the development of innovative demand response (DR) services for residential and commercial applications. The project combines decentralised energy management technology at the blocks-of-buildings-scale to enable DR. The DR systems and services will be tested in three pilot sites in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, and tested together with interfaces for intuitive user interaction. Successful models will be transferred to the customers of project partners in further European countries (Belgium, France, UK). The pilot sites are blocks of highly energy-efficient buildings with diverse energy systems and, most importantly, the infrastructure necessary for testing DR strategies.


For further information, see also Amandine Lacourt’s and Philippe Moseley’s (European Commission EASME) presentation on “Innovation in smart buildings under Horizon 2020” at the “Smart Buildings for a greener Europe: Emerging Policy and Practice” livestreamed workshop held in Malta on February 14, 2017