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: First of four Fukushima reactors cleared of nuclear fuel

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

The state of shale

Dec 19, 2014

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.