European project launched to develop industrialized building envelopes for energy renovation

Horizon Europe project AEGIR aims to develop modular, renewable, and industrialized envelopes intended for the renovation of buildings leading to the reduction of costs and execution times. Different renovation packages are designed to answer the needs in different buildings typologies, climatic zones, social strata, and tenants’ preferences, which can be scaled and customized to new or existing buildings across Europe.

Europe’s objective is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, through the deep decarbonisation of all sectors, boosting economic recovery, empowering citizens, and granting wellbeing and comfortable living conditions. More than 220 million building units were built before 2001 (85% of building stock) with low or no energy standard criteria and most of them will still be standing in 2050. The oldest, non-renovated buildings are usually less energy efficient, and require more energy to keep indoor environmental conditions. They are often occupied by lower income families which face problems to pay energy bills, which means that the indoor hygro-thermal conditions are far from the comfort range, leading to health problems.

AEGIR building envelopes, the interface between indoor and outdoor conditions of a building, will be designed, manufactured and tested to improve the building energy efficiency and indoor environmental conditions. To achieve the EU climate neutral goal, the construction sector must consider the energy efficiency during the building operation phase, the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, as well as increase the material performance and the use of recycled and bio-sourced materials to reduce climate impact.

The AEGIR project will design a building envelope composed by a package of solutions including ventilation, insulation and cladding systems, as well as renewable energy generation and electric storage technologies. This solution will be developed using a low- energy manufacturing process and will acquire a low carbon footprint. Moreover, it will use different digital technologies (BIM, Augmented reality, digital twins, etc.) to improve buildings management” says project coordinator Julen Astudillo of Tecnalia (Spain).

With a 10,5 million EUR grant from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, the project will run from October 2022 until September 2026. The consortium consists of 29 partner organisations in 9 countries, including all the actors from the construction and energy management value chain. All the research partners, associations, local and international SMEs, industrial partners, and public authorities met during the kick-off meeting from October 18 to 19, 2022, in San Sebastian, Spain.

The project will deploy the solution in four real life demo cases in different climates to prove that the concept is reliable in buildings with different requirements. AEGIR will implement the building envelopes on a multi-family social residential building in Denmark, an educational building in Spain, a police station in France mixing offices and dwellings, and a single-family dwelling in Romania. The demonstrations carried out on the social houses will show that these solutions are applicable for a more demanding public, the demo applied on the public school will improve the air quality and the global comfort of users.

The building envelopes intent to reach nearly 100% prefabrication grade and reduce the building assembly process up to 50% with respect to current solutions. They will be designed in Building Information Models (BIM) to facilitate the data flow from design to operation. A business model that prioritizes the involvement of local resources suppliers and partners will be developed to pave the way for future usage of this solution.