With buildings accounting for more than 40% of energy consumption in Europe, renewable technologies and related measures provide an opportunity to reduce fossil fuel use. The EU-funded RES4BUILD project hosted a workshop in Brussels on 29 March 2023 with participants from research, industry, policy, and end users to discuss the developments required to accelerate this change.  

Project Coordinator Dr Michael Papapetrou of WIP Renewable Energies noted that “Even if we have a good range of technologies, to deliver decarbonisation, a range of other conditions including market and social aspects must be met”. 

A technological session focused on how to manage the energy consumption. By building on a starting point of energy efficiency the net consumption can be reduced when heat pumps and solar energy are used. Using a bigger share of solar radiation was proposed – with new collectors able to produce heat and electricity from the same area at a lower cost. Storage in combination with smart control can then ensure the remaining demand is met by low-cost renewable energy from the grid. The EU are funding further projects to facilitate these innovations.

Quentin de Hults from the European Copper Institute led a market and regulatory focused session. With the level of legislation governing the sector, high ambition on the EU level still needs to be translated into concrete Action Plans – and for these to be implemented effectively, citizens need to be on board. One-stop-shops together with availability of grants are ways of engaging with citizens and gaining their support. Demand side measurement also has a key role in integrating technologies, whereby improving the access to markets and products will help uptake, but new grid infrastructure is required. Such holistic approaches can ensure the energy transition works for everyone.

The day closed with an interactive session looking at specific end users and creating solutions that work for them. This was based on RES4BUILD’s work developing an integrated energy system incorporating heat pump and combined solar photovoltaic-thermal technologies together with thermal storage and smart management systems to produce low carbon heating and cooling for buildings. An assessment indicated their technical potential in the European market and the team is clarifying the applicability of the approach to serve end users in their transition to decarbonisation. 

All public reports including an overview of the main results and achievements are available on the project website results page: www.res4build.eu/results

Image ©RES4BUILD: Panellists of the session on market and regulatory aspects including from left to right, moderator Quentin de Hults (European Copper Institute), Remke Palsma (Cities of Northern Netherlands), Piero de Bonis (EC DG RTD), Thomas Nowak (European Heat Pump Association), Andres Pinto-Bello (smartEN), Eoin Kelly (European Consumer Association).

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