Energy efficiency will be key in the homes of the future. Therefore, new measures are being investigated to improve the quality of their construction. It is the case of CIRCE (Center for Research on Energy Resources and Consumption) of the University of Zaragoza, which together with Zaragoza Vivienda and Acciona Infrastructures, is participating in a R + D project on energy rehabilitation.
Zaragoza is one of three European cities, along with Rome and Manchester, which is involved in a project to improve the energy rehabilitation of residential buildings, in particular, a complex of 50 units, consisting of five three-storey blocks.
BuildHeat is funded by the European Commission with nine million euros and has the participation of 18 partners from six countries, including as for the Spanish representation, Zaragoza Vivenda, the Center for Research on Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE) of the University of Zaragoza and Acciona Infraestructuras.
The project will develop a comprehensive package of rehabilitation measures, which include new systems for intelligent monitoring of consumption, renewable energies and passive and active energy efficiency measures. All this will allow achieve an energy reduction in heating and hot water of up to 80%.
In order to extend these actions throughout Europe, different packages of measures will be tested in residential buildings of Rome, Manchester and Zaragoza. In the Spanish city, the rehabilitation pack will be applied in a complex of 50 houses.
An innovative facade
One of its most innovative points is a standardized facade whose structure allows the installation of various cladding panels, solar modules and new windows; leaving an air gap between the existing and the new facade for the passage of installations. An innovative reflective paint that improves the thermal performance in both summer and winter will also be developed.
The pack includes the installation of heat pumps in homes, which will harness surplus energy of the system itself to improve its efficiency, and a thermal energy storage system, that among other things, would enable to remove the radiators and enhance the sense of comfort.
In addition a number of other measures that are currently already being used in energy rehabilitation, such as replacing windows or upgrading insulation in walls and floors are also considered.
With all this, BuildHeat aims to create a comprehensive, little intrusive and quick and easy to install. As for the economic aspects, the project will create financing tools and standardization to promote both public and private investment in the rehabilitation sector across Europe.
Role of Spanish partners
In these tasks the Spanish partners play a key role. CIRCE will be responsible for performing energy audits and analysis of life cycle throughout the entire project in three pilot buildings. It will also have an important role in the design and development of systems for monitoring and control. In the administrative and financial side, it will have the support of Zaragoza Vivienda, which will participate, among other things, providing legal assistance to technical partners, and in the design of business models, promoting investment from the industry players in these measures.
Meanwhile Acciona Infraestructuras will lead the actions to develop the façade system and will provide technical support during installation in the three demonstrators buildings.