[2021] Repository of Deep Renovation Packages Based on Industrialized Solutions: Definition and Application

Renovation Wave aims to boost the uptake of deep renovation towards the CO2 emission targets for 2030. In this perspective, there is the need of technologies and solution sets for improving the deep renovation process as well as demonstrating the performances for supporting the stakeholders in the decision-making process. To cope with the issue, this work presents a methodology for setting up a repository of building deep renovation packages that integrates industrialised facade technologies and more traditional solutions. The performances feeding into the repository have been evaluated by means of transient detailed simulations on a set of reference buildings in representative European climate conditions. The renovation packages are evaluated in terms of key performance indicators dealing with five areas: energy, comfort, pollutant emissions, cost, and renovation time. The defined repository includes 289 assessed technology packages and associated performances across Europe, providing a comprehensive support to identify the most effective solutions according to the user needs. The paper presents the application of the repository with two examples of stakeholders’ decision-making paths for selecting the deep renovation packages according to different priorities and expected targets.

Authors: Roberta Pernetti, Riccardo Pinotti, Roberto Lollini

Published in Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 11 (2021) – MDPI

[2021] The Role of Flexibility in Photovoltaic and Battery Optimal Sizing towards a Decarbonized Residential Sector

The ambitious environmental goals set by the 2030 Climate Target Plan can be reached with a strong contribution coming from the residential sector and the exploitation of its flexibility, intended as the capacity of a building to shift its consumption to maximize the use of renewable energy. In the literature, the impact of flexibility has been mainly studied for the optimization of the control logic, assuming that the photovoltaic system and the electric storage have already been installed. Conversely, in this work, we adopt a different perspective that analyses the system from the designer point of view. Different scenarios with a variable degree of flexibility have been created and tested in a residential district considering various demand profiles (i.e., home appliances, heat pumps, and electric vehicles consumption). The profiles have been then used as input for an optimization tool that can design the optimal system according to a specific target function. Firstly, the system has been optimized according to economic indicators. However, results suggested that adopting only an economic perspective in the design phase could lead to results that are not in line with the European environmental targets. Thus, the system has been optimized also considering energy indicators to design a system that could give a relevant contribution to the energy transition of the residential sector. Results suggest that demand flexibility coupled with storage can boost the installation of photovoltaic systems due to the improved economic profitability and at the same time guarantee a relevant contribution to the decarbonization of the sector.

Authors: Mattia Dallapiccola, Grazia Barchi, Jennifer Adami, and David Moser.

Published in Energies, Volume 14, Issue 8 (2021) – MDPI

[2021] Multi-objective battery sizing optimisation for renewable energy communities with distribution-level constraints: A prosumer-driven perspective

A Renewable Energy Community (REC) is a legal entity aggregating different users sharing their own resources to reduce both electricity bills and CO emissions. This paper presents and analyses the impact of a bi-objective strategy to optimise the capacity of the Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) of REC prosumers equipped with photovoltaic (PV) generators. The optimisation problem is solved through a custom implementation of the Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm-II (NSGA-II) and has two contrasting objectives: maximising the self-sufficiency of the REC from the main grid, while minimising the BESS capacity of all REC members. A key novelty of this study is the prosumer-driven perspective, which allows to exclude the REC members who do not want to install a BESS through a linear optimisation constraint. Moreover, the proposed approach ensures that probabilities of over- or under-voltages are compliant with the limits specified by Distribution System Operators (DSOs). Such probabilities, as well as the line and BESS losses, are estimated within the optimisation loop through grid-level simulations performed in OpenDSS. Both a standard peer-to-grid (P2G) and a more REC-oriented peer-to-peer (P2P) energy sharing policy are analysed and their performance is assessed in different seasons and considering both the current energy demand and a possible future scenario, in which electrical heat pumps are widely used. The results of a case study based on a modified version of the IEEE 906-bus European Low Voltage distribution grid show that a if the total BESS capacity assigned to all REC prosumers exceeds a given threshold value, the benefits for the REC become minor. Assuming to choose the optimal BESS capacity solutions corresponding to the threshold value in the summer season (i.e., when PV and BESSs are most exploited), the overall energy losses are reduced roughly by 20%–40% for both P2G and P2P battery controls. The CO emissions instead, are reduced by 10% to 50% with the P2P policy having a slight edge over the P2G one. The P2P energy sharing policy spreads the economic benefits of energy savings more evenly among REC members, and the return on investment is generally higher if the electricity demand increases.

Authors: Mattia Secchi, Grazia Barchi, David Macii, David Moser, Dario Petri

Published in Applied Energy, Volume 297, 1 September 2021 – Elsevier


[2020] Timber Prefabricated Multifunctional Facade: Approaches and Methods for a Feasibility Analysis, System Design and Testing

The aim of this research is to investigate the performances of a timber-based multifunctional façade system that can be attached externally to the existing building envelope of residential buildings to improve its performances. This intervention is expected to have several advantages, such as the reduction of costs for materials, building time, low disturbance for occupants and, at the same time, this kind of element would ensure a good construction quality from the structural, durability and hygrothermal performances points of view.

Author: Riccardo Pinotti (PhD Thesis)

Link to BIA

[2019] Process-related risks in refurbishment of dwellings using prefabricated wall elements with integrated PV and ventilation ducts

Prefabricated façade elements with integrated technical infrastructure is an attractive technology for refurbishment of existing dwellings. Heating and cooling demand can be reduced, local energy production introduced, and indoor air quality be improved, with disturbance to the tenants and building site being small and of short duration compared to more traditional building processes. On the other hand, unexpected events could largely reduce these benefits. Thus, risk management of the building process is of great importance. Focus group interviews and workshops were arranged before and after the building phase in a pilot project using such elements in Oslo, Norway. Representatives of building owner, design team and contractor contributed actively at the workshop. In a pre-building phase workshop, a range of hazards were identified and prioritized using a participative process facilitated by a neutral moderator. A large proportion of the prioritized risks in the building phase were connected to the renovated flats being occupied during the renovation. Other significant identified risks related to transport and logistics, and undetected challenges in the existing construction. Mitigation included prioritizing tenant information, including direct dialog, and increasing the presence of on-site workforce both for coordination with tenants and in order to respond quickly to unforeseen events. The participants emphasized that an open, cooperative processes with a high degree of trust and sense of a common goal had been important for the robust design that was developed prior to the workshop. During the retrospective evaluation, the participants concluded that the risk mitigation procedures had been successful in preventing some events as well as reducing the consequences of others. However, some of the measures to mitigate an identified risk of rain intrusion were inadequate, and it was acknowledged that the combination of bad weather and long working days could have identified this as preventable.

Authors:  S B Holøs, V Lukina, Å. L. Hauge and Kari Thunshelle

Published in IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Volume 352, 1st Nordic conference on Zero Emission and Plus Energy Buildings 6–7 November 2019, Trondheim, Norway

[2019] New method for the early design of BIPV with electric storage: A case study in northern Italy

This paper presents a new method for the planning of photovoltaic systems in the early architectural design. The method finds capacity and position of a photovoltaic system over the envelope of a building by means of optimization. The input consists in: geometry of the building, surrounding shadings, local weather, hourly electric demand, unitary costs of the system and benefits for the production of electricity (sold or self-consumed). In the input there are known values (e.g. PV installation costs [€/kWp] or present costs for the electricity [€/kWh]) and unknown ones (e.g. degradation rate [%/year], maintenance costs [€/kWp year] or discount rate [%/year]). The optimization is performed using the expected value out of a set of parametric scenarios generated by the unknown input values. The results show that, if capacity and position of the system are tailored on its aggregated electric demand, a large penetration of photovoltaic electricity is profitable at current prices without incentives or valorization from the grid. The optimization performed with an arbitrary set of electric storages shows how the presence of storage fosters a higher optimal capacity for the PV system. This method has the potential to hugely expand the installation of urban photovoltaic.

Authors: Marco Lovati, Graziano Salvalai, Giulia Fratus, Laura Maturi, Rossano Albatici, David Moser

Published in Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 48, July 2019 – Elsevier

[2018] Technical, Financial, and Social Barriers and Challenges in Deep Building Renovation: Integration of Lessons Learned from the H2020 Cluster Projects

With a low rate of new building construction and an insufficient rate of existing building renovation, there is the need to step up the pace of building renovation with ambitious performance targets to achieve European Union (EU) climate change policies for 2050. However, innovative technologies, including, but not limiting to, plug and play (PnP) prefabricated facades, information and communications technology (ICT)-support for building management systems (BMS), the integration of renewable energy systems (RES), building information model (BIM) and building performance simulation models (BPSM), advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), advanced geomatics, 3D-printing, and smart connectors, cannot alone solve the problem of low renovation rates of existing buildings in Europe that is hindering reaching of EU-wide targets. A workshop was held at the Sustainable Place Conference 2018 to present, with an integrative approach, the experiences from four H2020 innovation actions, i.e., 4RinEU, P2ENDURE, Pro-GET-OnE, and MORE-CONNECT, which were united by their central aims of improving building energy performance through deep renovation practices. This article presents the outcomes of the joint workshop and interactive discussion, by focusing on technical, financial, and social added values, barriers and challenges, in the context of the building renovation processes tackled by the four projects. Conclusive remarks converge on the identification of open questions to address future innovation opportunities, as well as some recommendations to be used at a policy level and/or in future implementation projects.

Authors: Simona D’Oca, Annarita Ferrante, Clara Ferrer, Roberta Pernetti, Anna Gralka, Rizal Sebastian, and Peter Op ‘t Veld.

Published in Buildings, Volume 8, Issue 12 (2018) – MDPI

[2017] EU Support for Innovation and Market Uptake in Smart Buildings under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme

At the end of November 2016, the European Commission tabled the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which represents a large set of proposals for several key directives related to energy. The package included proposed revisions to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which seek to update and streamline the Directive in several areas, including provisions to ensure buildings operate efficiently by encouraging the uptake of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and smart technologies. Although it can be argued that there is at present no commonly accepted definition of a “smart building”, the Commission’s proposed revision refers to three key features of a possible indicator of “smartness” in buildings: the technological readiness of a building to (1) interact with its occupants; (2) to interact with the grid; and (3) to manage itself efficiently. Using these three pillars of “smartness” as a methodological starting point, this paper identifies and analyses recent and ongoing Horizon 2020 research, innovation and market uptake projects which are investigating “smart buildings”. The research maps and examines the tasks, scope and innovations in areas that include building automation and control systems, demand response, energy management, ICT and user interfaces for energy efficiency.

Author: P. Moseley

Published in Buildings, Volume 7, Issue 4 (2017) – MDPI


Deep renovation for energy efficient residential buildings

This course introduces the basics of deep renovation in residential buildings, though some modules apply to any kind of building. The student will be able to get a grasp of energy efficiency in buildings, and how to achieve a deep renovation project based on passive and active technologies.



Deep renovation recipes for your building

This cookbook designed for students and curious people explains 4RinEU concept in six recipes where energy efficiency technologies are the main ingredients. It is available in four languages (English, Italian, Spanish, and German).


Renovate deep and renovate fast

The booklet “Renovate deep and renovate fast“ provides valuable information on the risks associated with deep energy renovation and explains how to ensure a smooth renovation process.