Interview of the month / Newsletter of 7 Octobre 2019

Ramy Saad, energy efficiency and sustainable design engineer at Bouygues Bâtiment International

Ramy Saad, energy efficiency and sustainable design engineer at Bouygues Bâtiment International, shares details of European research project “EnergyMatching”, part of the large-scale “Horizon 2020” programme on making energy efficiency improvements to buildings.

Ramy Saad, energy efficiency and sustainable design engineer at Bouygues Bâtiment International
The challenge of renovating buildings to make them more energy efficient is crucial for the European Union, which today sees almost 10% of its population living in fuel poverty and 97% of its buildings considered “unsustainable”, if it wants to meet its targets to reduce energy consumption by 80% by the year 2050. More generally, buildings account for 40% of European energy consumption (46% in France, for example) and emit 36% of all European CO2(27% for France). 
As part of the Horizon 2020 European research and innovation programme, Bouygues Construction is playing an active role in “EnergyMatching”, could you tell us what it’s all about? 
EnergyMatching aims to maximise energy production from renewable sources in buildings. The goal is to develop robust, active and adaptive technologies integrated within the skin of our buildings, demonstrating their effectiveness in capturing renewable energy sources available locally on site. The aim is to demonstrate how we can efficiently use energy produced locally within buildings and neighbourhoods. 
The EnergyMatching concept itself is based around three pillars: 
  • A general methodological framework and business model.
  • Robust active-skin technologies to efficiently capture local RES (renewable energy sources).
  • A building or neighbourhood’s energy centre, using the energy produced more efficiently through load-balancing strategies.
The EnergyMatching scheme concentrates on renovating residential buildings within the European Union. It’s estimated that there are 250 million housing units that need to be retrofitted within the EU zone, which, as a reminder, is home to some 740 million people. The residential sector accounts for most of the built surface area within the EU. 
This project has been divided into 7 technical objectives that need to be achieved by 17 project partners (universities, research centres, suppliers, builders, etc.):
  • A digital platform for customers, suppliers and builders, which will offer the most appropriate solutions based on the data entered, including the constraints and regulations specific to the country, weather conditions, customer objectives, etc. For example, offering a tool to optimise the location of solar panels integrated within the platform. 
  • The introduction of “click-and-go” technology for building façades that helps reduce the installation time of prefabricated panels. 
  • The installation of prefabricated multifunction windows in factories with triple glazing, an integrated motorised blind, light and humidity sensors to automatically manage the movement of blinds, as well as dual-flow ventilation systems integrated within frames.
  • The introduction of BIPV (building integrated photovoltaics), photovoltaic modules that replace other building materials, such as glass, for example.
  • The use of an energy module for heating and ventilating, including a heat pump that produces heating and domestic hot water. 
  • The use of a microperforated wall (Solarwall) that preheats indoor air using heat from the sun.
  • Finally, all solutions must be interconnected and integrated with a local energy network to optimise management, monitoring and predictions to make the system self-sufficient.
All the technologies mentioned above already exist, so where is the interest in carrying out this kind of project in partnership with other European stakeholders, especially on this scale? 
The main expected benefits of EnergyMatching include:
  • Reducing manufacturing, installation and operating costs for energy recovery technologies at building and neighbourhood level.
  • Demonstrating replicability that will result in accelerating the integration of RES into a variety of EU residential buildings and neighbourhoods.
  • Implementing cost-effective solutions supported by advanced business and economic models for investors.
  • Market penetration for energy recovery solutions that are efficient, modular, robust and easy to integrate.
Indeed, we have to carry out this project on a European scale in order to achieve the objectives of technology massification and profitability. 
Through the research programme, we can also test the technologies on three pilot sites, which have significant replication potential in terms of climate conditions, legislative and regulatory frameworks, property types, building architectural features and social and cultural environments. The three test sites are located in Italy, France and Sweden. Bouygues Construction’s role is to lead the study and integration works for the new technology on the three test sites, while respecting the various constraints of each individual country.
How advanced is the project and what are the main difficulties encountered? What are the next steps and future prospects? 
The project began in October 2017 and will run for 4 years. We’re still in the preliminary study phases for the test sites. For now, the main difficulties lie in the differences between the regulations of individual European countries in terms of technical solutions. This requires a great deal of adapting. 
Marketing and replication plans will be put in place for the products, tools and services developed. Finally, stakeholder engagement and knowledge transfer will take place via a well-considered communications and information strategy. 
As part of its energy efficiency plans, France aims to target 500,000 homes every year from 2017. For now, there’s still no quantified ambition at European level, but there’s certainly a lot of work to be done. 

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