Building towards 'nearly zero energy' cities

Nov 06, 2013
Building towards 'nearly zero energy' cities
Credit: Shutterstock

An ambitious four-year project is to develop and demonstrate replicable strategies for designing, constructing and managing large scale district renovation projects for achieving nearly zero energy cities. The results will open the way for new refurbishments that bring the EU closer to its 2020 goal of ensuring that all new buildings consume very little energy.

Buildings across Europe currently represent about 40% of the and about 36% of the EU's total CO2 emissions. Though the 'zero energy' concept is billed as a means to reduce carbon emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it remains relatively uncommon in developed countries but is fast becoming a possibility through the progress made in new energy and construction technologies.

Sixteen research institutes with the support of EU funds are involved in the R2CITIES project, which hopes to develop cost-effective, high performance retrofitting solutions to improve the quality of city renovation and increase the of buildings.

As Project coordinator Rubén García summarises, 'the most important goal of R2CITIES is to be a mirror for future cities, with our innovative solutions cascading through to stakeholders across different urban areas'.

García led discussions at the project's kick-off meeting in July, in which the team outlined plans to renovate three districts. The three demonstration sites - Genoa, Italy, Kartal, Turkey and Valladolid, Spain - were chosen due to the unique set of challenges presented in each region.

The Genoa site is a council housing estate in the periphery of the city. The demonstration will focus on renewable, low-cost solutions drawing on available natural resources such as solar panels, natural ventilation and natural daylight. Through R2CITIES, the activities in the Genoa site could lead to the region qualifying as quasi- district with regard to national regulations.

The Yakacik district of Kartal has inefficient lighting systems and appliances in addition to insufficient insulation. The team will put an emphasis on passive design strategies, heating and cooling sources and the integration of renewable technologies.

The final demonstration site in Valladolid is a compact estate with medium to poor construction quality and high population density. Interventions will aim to reduce thermal and electricity consumption by drawing on insulation technology, renewable resources and the integration of ICT applications.

The results of the demonstration projects will allow the team to implement an ambitious communication and dissemination policy towards stakeholders at European and national level.

Explore further: How to refurbish urban residential low energy districts

More information: r2cities.eu/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Developing a cheaper, alternative solar cell for Europe

Nov 04, 2013

With climate change threatening and worldwide CO2 emission levels higher than ever, the need for renewable energy technologies is now critical. But for widespread market acceptance, these new technologies ...

Power to the people, by the people

Jun 12, 2013

European researchers are investigating 'smarter' solutions to meet growing demand for electricity and fundamental changes in the way power is produced and consumed.

Recommended for you

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells

3 hours ago

Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of "MatHero". The new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims at making ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

4 hours ago

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Ikea buys wind farm in Illinois

Apr 15, 2014

These days, Ikea is assembling more than just furniture. About 150 miles south of Chicago in Vermilion County, Ill., the home goods giant is building a wind farm large enough to ensure that its stores will never have to buy ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...