IGBChats Housing 4.0 Energy

EU Communications Officer Colin Healy recently spoke with the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) for their IGBChats Housing 4.0 Energy issue. The Irish Green Building Council is a non-profit organisation that was launched in 2011 with organisations and businesses from the entire value chain of the built environment. All are united in one common goal to accelerate the transformation of the built environment, related industry and supply chain to one that is sustainable through leadership, research, education, and providing policy input to national and local government.

Colin, 3cea is a partner in the Housing 4.0 Energy project, could you tell us a bit more about it and its objectives?

Colin Healy, EU Communications Officer for 3cea
Colin Healy, EU Communications Officer for 3cea

Housing 4.0 Energy aims to develop a market for small, affordable near-zero energy homes (NZEHs) by adapting and applying new digital technologies. This project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is made up of five partner countries in Northwest Europe (NWE). These are German(Europäisches Institut für Innovation – Technologie e. V. & Thoma Holz GmbH), Netherlands (Gemeente Almere & TU Delft),  Ireland (3cea), United Kingdom (South West College & Open Systems Lab) and  Belgium (Kamp C).

The main goal of Interreg Northwest Europe Housing 4.0 Energy, is to offer people in NWE access to new affordable near-zero energy/low carbon homes (NZEHs) and zero-energy/low carbon homes (ZEHs), effectively aiming to reduce home building costs by 25% and carbon emissions by 60%.

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 the quality of life for homeowners in the region and beyond.

What defines a Housing 4.0E house and where can we find these?

A H4.0E house is a NZEB or ZEB house built with a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) model. The construction of H4.0E houses seeks to reduce the embodied carbon and cost of house construction by using low carbon materials and the DfMA model. The pilots built in Ireland for the testbeds are not built with the DfMA model but that would be the expectation for further replication, using the online platform also being developed by the project.

These 48 units are spread across four regions and six H4.0E pilots which include

  • Gemeente Almere (Almere, Netherlands): WikiHouses in urban areas, demonstrating digitised (4.0) self-building
  • Province Flemish Brabant (Flemish Brabant, Belgium): NZEH/ZEH prefabricated timber frame container units including variable living layout designs in rural areas to be let to candidates on the waiting list of the local social letting agency
  • Thoma Wood 100 (Lahr), Germany): Prototype development of prefabricated Dowel Laminated Timber (DLT) elements for multiple NZEH/ZEH social housing apartment blocks
  • 3CEA (Carlow & Kilkenny, Ireland): NZEH/ZEH units for low-income groups in rural areas & monitoring user behaviour
H4.0E Mullinavat, Kilkenny 2022
H4.0E Mullinavat, Kilkenny 2022

All pilots feed data into the main output: the H4.0E Energy Building Technology that enables zero energy/emission housing building on a larger scale. Although 48 units were planned in the original application for H4.0E, this has since been revised to 30. Almere has 18, 3cea will have 8 upon completion, Kamp C has 3 and Thoma has one prototype house.

Specifically in the Irish context, there are 2 semi-detached, 2-bedroom, bungalow housing with 4 units in Carlow (15 – 18 St. Mary’s Court, Carlow Town, Co. Carlow). In Kilkenny, there is 1 semi-detached, 2-bedroom, bungalow housing with 2 units in Mullinavat (Buckstown, Inchacarron, Mullinavat, Co. Kilkenny) and 2, 1-bedroom, apartment-sized housing units in Graiguenamanagh (Old Fire Station, High Street, Graiguenamanagh). All these housing units will belong to the County Councils and be used as social housing. These are NZEB buildings with different pre-BER energy ratings (the objective BER rating of the finished build). These builds have about a 30 – 60% reduction in embodied carbon compared to a standard (standard concrete brick) build. Every unit will also be equipped with 2kPV and run with heat pumps.

There are several benefits associated with a H4.0E house that both feed into their lower carbon nature, and come as a result of. For example, through the use of 2kW PV panels on the roof, each house will have a lower energy consumption, leading to lower energy bills.

  • The Graiguenamanagh and Carlow units have achieved a pre-BER of A1 (<25 kWh/m2/annum)
  • Mullinavat has achieved a pre-BER of A3 (<50kWh/m2/y) but still holds an embodied Carbon reduction compared to standard builds.

These houses are also warmer thanks to an increased airtightness and a high insulation standard in the walls and windows. Finally, in the long run (with the help of the platform) these houses are expected to be cheaper to build with a potential saving of 25% compared to standard builds.

You’ve mentioned a digital platform being developed as part of the project. Can you discuss this and other project deliverables?

One of the key long-term goals of the Housing 4.0E project is to ensure the replicability of its practices and principles beyond the project’s end date. Open Systems Lab joined the H4.0E project as a contractor and has been tasked with generating an exploratory digital platform to allow for the development of NZEB and ZEB houses. The digital platform aims to explore how we can use the world wide web to make it easier for developers, municipalities, and communities to replicate manufactured housing solutions like the ones being piloted by the Housing 4.0E project. It allows future developers and even laypeople to design homes using the H4.0E principles, based on a menu of modules listed by regional manufacturers. It will allow users to instantaneously see the estimated impact of their design decisions on cost, carbon, and energy use. The aim is probably obvious: to give users the information they need to make informed design choices and factor in the long-term cost savings of up-front investment in good energy performance.

H4.0E St Mary’s Court, Carlow town, July 2022
H4.0E St Mary’s Court, Carlow town, July 2022

As part of the long-term goals and replication of the project, H4.0E looks to take on ambassadors that will act as spokespersons for the principles and practices of the project both in their professional and personal lives. These ambassadors can come from technical or non-technical backgrounds, for example, architects or a member of a housing board. Marion Jammet of the Irish Green Building Council is one such ambassador and joined the project through 3cea back in 2021.

To ensure to the longevity and propagation of the H4.0E project, we will also develop a Guidebook for future users and stakeholders. This Guidebook will act as a synopsis of the project as a whole while also directing the reader to specific information should they need deeper knowledge from the partners.

Finally, 3cea in cooperation with South West College (SWC) has to create and deliver training material and establish and facilitate Training sessions. These training sessions are important as they will educate future users/proprietors of the H4.0E practices and principles on how to effectively use them. The Construction Workshop was the first training session and was hosted in May 2021. This aimed to teach individuals in the construction industry how to use the H4.0E practices in construction and material selection. Most recently we built on this with our H4.0E Workshop Series, a full series of webinars covering in detail the H4.0E project and principles. One of these workshops was the Platform Workshop which taught individuals how to use the digital platform being developed by Open Systems Lab (OSL). Finally, the End-User Workshop will be aimed at the people moving into H4.0E houses and will teach them about how their house works and how to effectively use a H4.0E house.

3cea Team & Duncan Stewart (Architect and TV Producer) at H4.0E 1 final conference in Almere in May 2022

 

Thank you to the Irish Green Building Council for showing an interest in the project and producing the IGBChats Housing 4.0 Energy issue. If you would like to know more about H4.0E or would like to be involved in some capacity please contact our project officer at rkampe@3cea.ie or comms officer chealy@3cea.ie or you can check out our Housing 4.0E webpage here.

Greener HGV - reduce fleet costs

Greener HGV Programme – ECO Driving Championship

We attended the ECO Driving Competition at Kilcullen Circle K in Co. Kildare on the 16th of July, where Ireland’s best energy-efficient drivers competed for a spot to represent Team Ireland at the 32nd UICR Professional Driver’s World Championship in Zagreb, Croatia.

Irish Fleet companies can still avail of the Greener HGV programme, where they can benefit from a grant that subsidises the use of innovative technology & professional driver training. This programme will deliver real fuel savings and is subsidised by the Climate Action Fund as part of Project Ireland 2040. Not only does the programme help with the Climate Action Fund’s aim to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 80%, but helps reduce fuel costs by thousands of euros every year. For more info on the Greener HGV Programme visit the link below

A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Energy Poverty

The introduction of the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub (EPAH) Handbooks, “A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Energy Poverty’’ starts the series of practical guidebooks for local governments and practitioners to tackle energy poverty with a comprehensive and locally adapted approach

This introduction gives you the common background to grasp the complexity of this multifaceted challenge for local practitioners, in order to explore more details and practical information in the 3 next thematic handbooks.

This introductory handbook provides an insightful presentation of the concept of energy poverty, with a close look on its main causes and vulnerability factors that can lead households or individuals into energy poverty. It also provides an introduction to the circular methodology of energy poverty, structured in three phases that is diagnosis, planning, implementation to plan targeted actions at the local level. Each handbook will focus on one of the three main phases and provide additional practical information and concrete tools to apply.

The experiences and data that design the handbooks make it possible to constitute these clear, practical and exemplified guides. These handbooks are meant to provide you with a framework and a checklist that you can use to tailor solutions and develop specific methodology to your local context.

Discover it.

Energy Poverty Advisory Hub & Best Practice Guidebook

3cea Energy Engineer Colm O’Mahony is currently attending day 2 of the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub, where there are great discussions on the main issues, challenges and barriers to help alleviate Energy Poverty.

Energy poverty is persistent and potentially on the rise in Europe. In 2020, one in 12 European citizens were not able to afford to keep their homes adequately warm. One in 16 were in arrears on their utility bills. Many European citizens find themselves struggling to pay their bills due to soaring energy costs, hitting the lowest income households the hardest.

3cea in partnership with Empower and the Southern Regional Assembly has published an Energy poverty Best Practice Guidebook, which displays 9 inspirational good practice projects relating to Energy Poverty and how they can be implemented at local, regional, and national levels to help reduce Energy Poverty.

Wicklow SEC: Energy Awareness Day 2022

3cea were in attendance at the Wicklow Sustainable Energy Community Energy Awareness Day on Saturday 18th June in the Pastoral Centre Wicklow.

The event featured:

•16 electric vehicles from 10 dealerships
•A range of electric bicycles
•Installers of solar panels, air to heat pumps and electric car chargers
•Suppliers of LED bulbs, eco-friendly paints, ultra-quiet electric lawnmowers and other electric powered garden equipment
•Launch of the Energy Master Plan for Wicklow
•Technical advice from a one-stop-shop on appropriate measures that can be taken to reduce emissions
•Advice on behalf of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on available grants
•Information on the proposed Codling Wind Park off the Wicklow Coast
•Fun activities such as a smoothie bike where you can make your own refreshing drink without a plug and an electric game to test hand eye coordination
•Face painting and energy awareness activities for children

Find out how your community can become an SEC and develop renewable energy options in your area.👇

Meet the Buyer/Supplier, 3cea’s Dynamic Purchasing System Event

Great presentations and fantastic innovation, great to see progressive thinking in our industry and groups of like-minded people coming together.
– April McHale /Technical Sales Engineer at Daikin Ireland

On Tuesday 21st of June, 3cea hosted the Meet the Buyer/Supplier DPS event at the Hoban Hotel in Kilkenny.
The event provided basic information about our Dynamic Purchasing System for potential contactors in the energy efficiency, renewable energy and retrofitting field.

Thank you to all who attended the Meet the Buyer event which was a massive success, further developing existing and new partnerships between 3cea, building contractors and suppliers.

If you missed the event, you can view the presentation slides here

For more information on 3cea’s Dynamic Purchasing System visit the link below
https://3cea.ie/join-our-team-as-a-building-contractor/

500 Additional Fleet Vehicles Sought for Government Funded Greener HGV Programme

Energy and telematics experts are reaching out to fleet companies nationwide and encouraging them to get involved in the grant-aided Greener HGV programme designed to help them cut harmful emissions and save up to 10% on soaring fuel bills.

A 30% technology software and hardware grant is available to Irish fleet companies who sign up for the landmark Government-funded initiative. It aims to fit 1,000 fleet vehicles across Ireland with smart telematics. Further details on how to apply are available at https://www.greenerhgv.ie/

Over 500 vehicles have been signed up for the €1.4 million Climate Action Fund Greener HGV Programme launched in Summer of last year. Of these, 300 are in the oil distribution business. Telematics company Cubo has partnered with 3cea to deliver the programme on behalf of the Irish Government as part of their target for Project Ireland 2040.

Twelve fleet companies were involved in the Transport Telematics & Driver Training Pilot Project which preceded the Greener HGV programme. It included the installation of telematics on 326 vehicles across all fleets, and delivery of eco-driving training for the 371 fleet drivers. It achieved an 11% saving on energy consumption.

In real terms,  the saving of 1989 tonnes of CO2 is equivalent to removing 975 cars from our roads for a year.  Annual savings of over €2,900 were achieved per truck when fuel prices were significantly lower than they are today.

Paddy Phelan, 3cea CEO, said: “Under ‘The Greener HGV Programme’ the transport sector will reduce fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles by driving smarter and by embracing new technologies. The results from our initial test cases show that the benefits and cost savings are clear. And with fuel costs continuing to increase, savings will also increase.

“Every fleet company in the country will benefit from this cost and emissions-saving exercise. We have already fitted 249 HGVs with telematic equipment. Any fleet company that is interested in saving fuel and reducing their CO2 emissions needs to act now as  the scheme is proving to be extremely popular,” he added.

East Cork Oil’s 186 vehicles are all signed up and the company is among 13, with fleet sizes ranging from 5 to almost 200, to get involved so far.  John O’Callaghan, Senior Cost Accountant at East Cork Oil said: “We have a very dynamic operation, when you run a fleet of almost 200 vehicles it makes sense to introduce technology that can take over some of those more mundane and time-consuming tasks.

“The ease of accessing camera footage was a huge benefit to us, as well as the obvious environmental improvements from being able to measure – and make steps to reduce – our carbon footprint.  We previously used multiple systems for tracking, monitoring fuel usage, downloading the driver’s cards and tachographs and were in the market for cameras.

“It was an obvious choice to move to a supplier that could meet all our requirements on one platform – with the added incentive of the 30% government grant,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

Bryan Hynes, Distribution Manager at DCC Oil Group, said the programme meets several of their future needs. “DCC Oil Group were in the process of merging 3 oil companies – Jones Oils, Campus Oils and Emo Oils.  We were looking for a complete transport solution to manage the newly merged large fleet, and we were interested in live camera technology.

“The time was right to find a system that ticked all the boxes – which the Cubo solution does.  For DCC, one of its main attractions is the ability to remotely download our tachographs which means we don’t need our drivers to return to base, saving time, fuel, and emissions – before our drivers even get to the professional driver training.   We are committed to developing a conscious driving culture which will undoubtedly result in a reduction of our carbon footprint and fuel costs.”

Robert Steele from Cubo said: “We are delighted with how popular the scheme has been and would urge companies who want to save fuel and reduce their CO2 emissions to apply as soon as possible.   We have funding for 1,000 vehicles and have already assigned 50% of that.”

To avail of the 30 per cent technology software and hardware grant, applicants can apply now on www.greenerhgv.ie Smart telematics employed include tracking, fuel, remote tachograph downloads and compliance software, live footage cameras and driver awareness panels. All are part of the technology that will be used to deliver sustainable measures.

Existing participants are now at the driver training stage, which is currently being delivered online, via an app. This facilitates companies struggling to meet additional pressures the industry is facing around Covid-19 and driver shortages. Cubo and 3CEA have welcomed the positive feedback from the first cohort of participants.

Save the Date for the 2nd Energy Poverty Advisory Hub (EPAH) International Conference

The 2nd Energy Poverty Advisory Hub (EPAH) international conference will take place on 28-29 June 2022 in Zagreb under the theme “Moving towards energy autonomy: How to guarantee social inclusion”. The conference is co-hosted by the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub initiative, the city of Zagreb and DOOR, the civil society organisation devoted to the promotion of sustainable energy development. Register here.

The geopolitical context and the energy market reality that it creates have made it even more challenging for not only energy-poor consumers but all EU citizens to cope with soaring energy prices. The pressing need for just energy transition is now more needed than ever. REPowerEU is the EU’s new plan aiming to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gas and replace gas in heating and power generation with the ultimate goal of phasing out the dependence on fossil fuels from Russia before 2030. The ambiguous plan comes as a response to soaring energy prices and as a complementary plan to the European Green Deal, the EU’s overarching growth plan to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

This shift towards a faster and more sustainable energy transition for all can become an opportunity for mitigating energy poverty. What are the lessons learnt from the current geopolitical crisis and how can the EU, national and local governments work together in turning this challenge into an opportunity for tackling energy poverty and ensuring just and sustainable energy for all?

During the conference of the leading EU initiative on local action against energy poverty, EPAH will bring together local governments, EU representatives, policymakers, energy agencies, civil society organisations and all stakeholders active in energy poverty. The agenda will include a mix of keynote speeches, debates, interactive workshops and field visits that will allow the participants to debate, learn from each other and share practices as to how the EU, national and local actors can work together to contribute to the rapid energy transition and reduce energy poverty for all including energy-poor and vulnerable consumers

The EPAH International Conference is open to all interested stakeholders to join in Zagreb upon registration. Some sessions will be broadcasted online.  Stay tuned on the EPAH website for more information and spread the word across your network. The agenda is also available on the EPAH Website.

Housing 4.0E Conference Comes to a Close

The Housing 4.0E conference was hosted in late May 2021. This conference joined the Floriade Expo in Almere, Netherlands. This was a fitting setting for the event given the theme of the Floriade Expo being ‘Growing Green Cities’. It featured guest speakers from our partner organisations as well as industry experts and shared insights the pilots have yielded thus far. The conference was set up to inspire attendees and highlight the accomplishments of the project thus far. It featured keynote speakers, debates, and practical workshops.

The event was opened by Ank Bijleveld (NL), Mayor of Almere, and hosted by Natasja van den Berg (NL), an expert in citizen participation and sustainability. The keynote speakers included (click for presentations):

The two debates held across the two-day conference covered; “What are the major lessons learned with the pilots and what needs to be done with it?” and “How to Scale-up and Innovate in the Building Industry”. These debates were a mixture of H4.0E ambassadors, partners, and stakeholders.

The Floriade Expo is a world horticultural exhibition that takes place in the Netherlands once a decade. This iteration is taking place in Almere and runs from 14th April 2022 to 9th October 2022. The theme for the expo this year is ‘Growing Green Cities’ in collaboration with national and international participants at the Expo. Floriade’s theme Growing Green Cities presents the creative, green, sustainable solutions required to make this a reality. This theme is more important than ever as by 2050, some 68% of the global population will live in cities on a mere 2% of the earth’s surface area.

Some Highlights From The Conference

“Enter the arena” and “Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground” were some of the calls to action that were made by Jan Rotmans at the H40E conference.

 

Presentation of The Guidebook by Ivar Diekerhof.

 

Joke Dufourmont shows the advantages and processes of building homes from sustainably grown timber.

 

“Being an Ambassador is about Connection” Marion Jammet, Chris Troniseck, and Nathan Van der Bossche take part in the Ambassadors Debate. The debate discussed the major lessons learned with the pilots and what needs to be done with it?”

 

Ralf Kampe leads one of the breakout rooms during the conference where he presented the Low Carbon Fabric First Approach.

 

Alastair Parvin from Open Systems Lab opens day 2 of the Conference. Alastair i presented the Platform in development as part of the H4.0E project which will allow individuals to design their own NZEB and ZEB houses.

 

Debate between H4.0E partners, ambassadors, and stakeholders on ‘How to Scale-up and Innovate in the Building Industry’.

 

“Scale, speed, quality, affordability, and low energy – How do we do it?” Ireland needs 30,000 houses in 5 years. 3cea senior engineer and Chair of Association Irish Energy Agencies, Alexandra Hamilton, discusses how do we get there while keeping emissions low and quality high.

 

Architect and Irish TV producer, Duncan Stewart closes the Housing 4.0E Conference recapping some of the lessons from the speakers and having a discussion with attendees.

 

Sustainable Energy Communities & Wexford County Council Workshop 2022

On Friday 10th of June, 3cea had the pleasure of attending a workshop between Wexford County Council and Sustainable Energy Communities in Wexford County. The workshop was designed by both the SEC Programme and Wexford County Council with the overall goal of creating a framework for cooperation and collaboration between Wexford County Council (WCC) and the Communities for the development and achievement of community projects and goals.

Sustainability is about so much more than carbon emissions, rising sea levels and soaring energy costs. It’s about community welfare, inclusion and creating opportunities for communities to thrive socially and economically. Both the SEC Programme and WCC recognise this and the important role that each Community plays as we transition to a more sustainable way of living.

Start your sustainable community journey and join the SEC network today: https://3cea.ie/sectors/community/