4 July 2018
The 29th of May was a great day for the future of the European housing industry, as the project Housing 4.0 Energy (H4.0E), was approved by the European subsidy program Interreg North West Europe. Made up of five partner countries in North West Europe (NWE), the three-year H4.0E project will facilitate the uptake of low carbon and digital technologies, products, processes and services in the NWE housing sector to reduce carbon emissions and improve quality of life for homeowners in the region and beyond.
The EU 2030 Framework for climate and energy sets targets for cutting 40% of CO2 emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy to greater than 27% and providing at least 27% energy savings across Europe. The North West Europe (NWE) region is the most industrialised region—as well as the most prolific CO2-emitting region—in Europe. Within this region, the housing sector alone accounts for nearly one-third of all CO2-emissions, as there is currently no great push within this industry to achieve the EU targets. Meanwhile, decreasing household size, changing patterns of regional population density and other social factors have led to a significant decline in demand for large, expensive and energy-inefficient homes; and in turn, this has led to the increased desire for smaller, more affordable energy-efficient living spaces. The main goal of Housing 4.0 Energy, therefore, is to offer people in NWE access to new smaller zero energy/low carbon homes (ZEHs), effectively aiming to reduce home building costs by 25% and carbon emissions by 60%.
H4.0E partners in the Municipality of Almere, Netherlands teaming up to build a WikiHouse, through which they aim to develop simple and sustainable high-performance building technologies that anyone can use and improve upon.
Transnational development and digitalization (4.0) techniques and a digital platform—designed within H4.0E to facilitate the digitalization of building homes and transferability of these techniques—will ignite fundamental changes in design, manufacturing and construction within the housing industry to meet both EU targets and the needs of homeowners in NWE. Using a client-based approach, as well as € 2.5 Million in European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding and a total budget of € 4.2 Million, H4.0E partners will work with local authorities, social housing companies, architects, engineers, construction companies and current homeowners across North West Europe. The project will be tested and monitored for viability in six pilot sites representing varying levels of industry and carbon emissions, ranging from cities in low carbon regions to rural areas in less carbon conscientious regions. Successful implementation of the Housing 4.0 Energy project appears to be especially promising for the Lead Partner and pilot city, the Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium:
“We are looking forward to working with exciting partners to solve a formidable challenge: building small low carbon houses that are affordable for all,’’ explains Tom Dehaene, Vice Governor for Housing and Internationalisation in Flemish Brabant.
The Housing 4.0 Energy project will open the door for a whole realm of possibilities in the current housing sector and in turn improve energy efficiency and quality of life—not just in Flemish Brabant, but throughout North West Europe. On the 18th of June, H4.0E project partners convened in Leuven, Belgium—home base of Lead Partner, the Province of Flemish Brabant—to kick-off H4.0E and outline the next steps for implementing this exciting new project.
The Housing 4.0 Energy partnership includes eight organisations from five different countries in North West Europe. The H4.0E partners are:
- Province of Flemish Brabant (Belgium)
- European Institute for Innovation-Technology (Germany)
- Gemeente Almere (Netherlands)
- TU Delft (Netherlands)
- 3 Counties Energy Agency (Ireland)
- South West College (United Kingdom)
- Open Systems Lab (United Kingdom)
- Kamp C (Belgium)
Total Budget: € 4.2 Million
Total ERDF Funding: € 2.5 Million
Total Investment Budget: € 1.1 Million
Total Investment ERDF Budget: € 641,776.00
Local Contact Details (Ireland)
Shane Faulkner, Energy Engineer