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An overview of current EU policies concerning sustainable development in European Countries result to the following conclusions:

 
  • As regards the implementation of EPBD in public buildings a concrete regulatory framework exists that provides calculation methodologies of energy indicators, technical requirements to achieve energy goals, and in some cases calculation softwares of building energy performance.
  • As regards the implementation of UHI-mitigation works in open spaces, other than some empirical rules, there is no concrete policy framework that provides extensive guidance to calculate microclimate indicators (such as perceived thermal comfort and air quality of- and wind effects on- pedestrians) and to recommend retrofit measures in the study stage. 

According to the recent EU policies concerning the implementation of EPBD in public buildings, national governments need to accelerate the process of energy upgrading of their public-building stock. On the other hand it is observed that over the last decade, heat waves have occurred across Europe, particularly in southern Europe. High densely built-up areas trap the heat, especially at night, causing the UHI effect in which city centers can be up to 10° C warmer than surrounding rural areas . A significant consequence of UHI is that energy consumption rises with the increased use of air conditioners and refrigeration appliances. This means that the confrontation of UHI in dense urban environments requires particular attention in case of open-spaces renovation projects. 

Based on the aforementioned observations, it becomes obvious that a holistic approach of sustainable retrofitting requires an “outdoor-to-indoor” design concept, which ensures the confrontation against both the UHI effect and, thus, building energy consumption. Although this design rationale in the techno-economical study phase seems the appropriate one, the following drawbacks still remain in current studies for buildings and open spaces renovations:
 
  • Rough assumptions concerning the UHI impact on building energy consumption (the surrounding microclimate of the building is most often represented by the climate-data time-series of the wider climate zone)
  • Inneficient intrepretation of occupants’ behaviour patterns effects on energy consumption
  • UHI mitigation measures in open spaces are most often based on rough assumptions of urban physics and empirical estimations of UHI, comfort and environmental indicators

Beyond the technical drawbacks mentioned above, the public sector suffers from significantly slow rates of renovation of public buildings and open spaces. The main reasons for that may be summarized as follows:

  • The retrofit measures recommended by current technical studies usually are not accompanied with the financial schemes and opportunities available for the uptake of technologies. This, in combination with financial crisis especially in the MED area, hinders public authorities to proceed to such projects.
  • Some actors from public authorities are still suspicious towards refurbishment due to high installation costs, while others are not convinced about the actual benefits of retrofitting investments. 
  • A lack of knowledge of technical staff of public authorities to identify optimal retrofit solutions and to formulate green procurements is observed.  
The REPUBLIC-MED project aims to confront the aforementioned barriers through overcoming the technical drawbacks of common studies. To that direction, modern design methods existing in scientific literature and in best practices will be reviewed and organized into a holisting methodology. The methodology will be tested through strategically selected pilot substrates in the partner Countries. Finally, it will be presented to the stakeholders, i.e. technical staff of public authorities, technical SMEs, architects, engineers, urban planners and the general public, in order to increase awareness and build capacities on the use of innovative tools to conduct decision-making retrofitting studies. Specifically, the main objectives of the project are:
 
  • Development of a holistic technical-study methodology which:
    • Accounts for the assessment of behaviour impact on building energy consumption
    • Accounts for the UHI effect on building energy consumption
    • Predicts microclimate indicators and pedestrians’ thermal comfort and air quality perception
    • Employs decision making methods to decide optimal retrofit measures
    • Stands for an inclusive approach getting the general public involved through their active participation in questionnaire surveys
  • Experimentation of the methodology through pilot applications in the partner Countries, i.e. Greece, France, Spain, Italy and Croatia. The pilot applications will include three representative public buildings and two open spaces in each Country.  
  • Get the stakeholders familiarized with the concept of the methodology developed through the conduction of training seminars.
  • Development of strategic plans in both national and transnational levels to introduce the methodology as a successful story in future policies concerning energy upgrading of public buildings and UHI mitigation of open spaces. 
  • Dissemination and capitalization of project results through national and transnational events (workshops and one conference) and through creating synergies with other similar projects. 

 

Governance chart- Working plan

Governance chart- Working plan

 

Revealing the role of building and urban physics analysis in energy and environmental policy making

Reaching EU 20-20-20 goals by introducing innovative study methods for public spaces retrofits

Enhancing today’s study practices in the horizon of 2018 requirements for retrofit works in the public sector

Adoptation of innovative methods to facilitate decision making and procurement design towards green renovation of public spaces

Demonstration of innovative ways to transform public spaces into sustainable bridges for future Smart Cities

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