22 October 2019

ICLEI Europe part of new project on Positive Energy Buildings

On 1 October 2019, a new H2020 project called EXCESS (“flEXible user-CEntric Energy poSitive houseS”) was kicked-off in Graz. Over the next four years, ICLEI Europe will work with 20 EXCESS partners from eight countries to show that it is possible to transform nearly-zero energy buildings into positive energy buildings. In other words, buildings that now produce the majority of the renewable energy they consume will be refurbished such that they produce even more energy than they need. The project will work with four demonstration sites located across the main EU climatic zones: Nordic, Continental, Oceanic and Mediterranean.

EXCESS will merge technical concepts for Positive Energy Buildings (PEB) with new opportunities for the production and self-consumption of renewable energy as provided by the EU Clean Energy Package. It will advance technical developments for positive energy building materials to address specific climate-related needs and meet PEB requirements.

The integration of technologies is also key to EXCESS. This will ensure that upgraded single technologies be part of a larger system; enable local energy trading; and offer new services to grid operators and utilities. Together, these factors will unlock additional revenue streams that reduce the lifetime cost of PEB solutions, making them affordable to large portions of society who could not previously access them.

These goals will be realised in demonstration cases. In Espoo, Finland, an 800m-deep borehole with a system of pumps will use heat from different sources in the ground, with surplus heat produced by the building being stored in the ground. The main innovation in the demo case in Graz, Austria, will be a multi-functional façade element with integrated photovoltaic solar panels and a geo-thermal heat pump, linked with an energy community smart control system and energy billing concept. On the demo site in Hasselt, Belgium, photovoltaic solar panels for a system of pumps using heat from sources in the ground will be added to a social housing complex. It will also integrate flexible power-to-heat thermal storage in the district heating units. Last but not least, the site in Granada, Spain, will base positive energy building system on maximising electricity production from conventional photovoltaic solar panels. The energy produced will be consumed directly in the building, and the surplus stored in a battery for daily use.

EXCESS will promote a user-centric approach, and will capitalise on new information and communications technology opportunities to optimise the interplay of local generation, storage, and consumption at the building and district levels. Project partners will carry out co-innovation, replication and exploitation activities, to maximise technical, social and economic impact and to prepare for a future market roll out of the positive energy building concept.

ICLEI Europe will take part in analysing existing examples of positive energy buildings and defining the PEB concept, as a term. In the mature stage of the project, after the demonstration cases are realised, ICLEI Europe will lead the replication programme, and thus make efforts to further launch positive energy building concepts. The ICLEI Europe team will also participate in communication and dissemination activities, striving to encourage cities to recognise or embed positive energy buildings within their actions.

For more information about EXCESS, please click here.