Many EU projects are focused on knowledge transfer and dissemination of best practices in building retrofitting. This is extremely important since very often stakeholders fail to reach an agreement concerning the potential benefits. In such cases, it seems that financial aspects have a priority, over environmental and social ones. This is why projects like ee-Wise are set to assist and convince societies that exploitation of the existing buildings with green retrofits is a logical solution in terms of reducing the negative environmental effects. Furthermore, it is misleading to think of going green, simply as a fashionable trend. It is a matter of environmentally conscious construction professionals, owners, developers, local authorities/official institutions, individuals and organizations that effectively work to translate theory into action.
An analysis of the socio-economic impact of energy efficient building retrofitting would identify the interested and affected parties, it would facilitate and coordinate the participation of the stakeholders, and it would predict likely impacts and how different community segments are likely to respond. In addition such analysis would assist in evaluation of alternatives and in site selection, provide suggestions about compensations, describe potential conflict and advise on resolution processes, develop copying strategies, contribute to skills development and capacity building in given community, advise on appropriate institutional and co-ordination arrangements for all parties, collect baseline data for evaluation and audit purposes, and many more.
Another important aspect of building retrofitting is evaluation of the biggest challenges, which are causing negative effect on the environment, such as: energy consumption, carbon emission, raw material use and waste. And despite the fact that green buildings were introduced more than a decade ago, the non-green buildings still outnumber them many times. This combined with a growing world population and the rapid growth of emerging economies is causing a serious threat to all of us. Thus, there is a pressing need for new green constructions, and for retrofitting using green methods and practices. Unfortunately, it’s one thing to know, second thing to be able to do it, and a whole third one – to actually do it. First of all there are still many unknowns, such as in what state are the communication flows in the building retrofitting sector? Do they need to be improved? And how? What are the main needs identified in the sector?
The main purpose behind the ee-Wise project is to provide some of these answers. It’s final goal is to develop and deliver a Framework for Knowledge Management and a Transfer Tool for the building retrofitting value chain, with special attention to SMEs. By trying to improve the communication flows in the sector, the project is eventually set to support the economic growth and to support new business opportunities for the SMEs in the Mediterranean. While pursuing this ambitious goals the project’s consortium is also determined to achive environmental goals. There are four main challenges, which ee-Wise has detected and is set to overcome:
Enhance Energy Efficiency (EE) in buildings with retrofitting actions.
Promote Knowledge Transfer in the value chain of the EE sector amongst countries.
Look for new business models and assist towards the development of an EE Mediterranean Market.
Improve communication among the agents involved in the value chain, also between different countries.
By taking into consideration these and other challenges, the project aims at communicating its results to all stakeholders by giving impetus to different processes and initiatives and by bringing solutions to the society. Therefore ee-WiSE has planned a wide and effective dissemination campaign of the results as one of the strong components of the project and as one of the overall goals to be achieved. The project will also provide an innovative knowlefge framework facilitating the efficient and homogenized access within the value chain of EE sector in building retrofitting with special attention to SMEs in the Mediterranean Area. For this purpose ee-Wise has identified explicitly a set of deliverables that will support the activities developed in the Dissemination Plan.
As for the EE needs in the retrofiiting sector in the Meditareanean that were detected by the Consortium – they could hardly be comletely exhausted, but the following list is an ambitious attempt in that sense:
EC guidelines for knowledge dissemination from the research institutions.
Exposing the end users to the technological results of the research organizations.
Connecting technical commercial advice to EPBD – energy performance and requirements of the actual buildings.
Occupants need financial support to invest in EE retrofitting technology
Industry needs financial support to take up results of scientific innovation.
The business society needs to be aware of tools to manage intellectual property.
Training of construction professionals (including architects, civil engineers, building services engineers, project managers, building designers, etc.) in retrofit technologies.
Increase business motivation through public R&D initiatives and innovation funding.
Evaluation of publicly funded research projects via it’s applicability to the end-user.
Training the business society to access the knowledge stock.
Establishing network organisations that will coordinate knowledge transfer from innovation groups and assist in implementing innovation into daily building practice.
R&D to divert their activity rapidly in response to changes in the market.
Increased interaction amongst research institutions.
Clustering within the retrofit market to provide integrated solutions.
Training of traditional craftsmen on EE retrofitting innovations.
When communicating research results, more focus needs to be given to practical benefits of the retrofit technology.
Real-life evaluation of research results.
Scientists need to have increased contact with the end-users in order to understand the applicability of their research.
Тhe identified ee-WiSE core value chain types of organizations are: Energy auditing firms; Energy Service Companies (ESCOs); Technical solutions developers companies; Certification bodies; Occupants; Architecture and Engineering Companies (A&E).
Author: Ana Pirinska, KSB Expert Project Management. You can contact Ana at apirinska(at)ksb(dot)bg
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Grant agreement no: 314347
An Overview of the Benefits and Risk Factors of Going Green in Existing Buildings, Alev Durmus-Pedini and Baabak Ashuri, International Journal of Facility Management