DCU to help research ultra-efficient buildings as part of €4.8m EU project

29 Jun 2020

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DCU is to lead one aspect of a European research project that aims to triple the rate of renovation of inefficient buildings across the continent.

The Irish Institute of Digital Business at Dublin City University (DCU) is set to lead the business research aspect of an EU project worth €4.8m to tackle the issue of energy efficiency in EU residential buildings.

Approximately 77pc of EU residential buildings were constructed before 1990, with approximately 11pc of Europe’s population experiencing energy poverty due to thermal inefficiency, according to researchers.

Now, the four-year Rinno project is aiming to develop solutions for the construction industry to triple the rate of deep renovation in these energy inefficient buildings and reach the target of 32.5pc in energy savings set by the European Green Deal.

Based on current renovation rates of between 0.4pc and 1.2pc, it’s estimated that it could take more than a century before all of the EU’s buildings could be brought to where they need to be in terms of energy efficiency.

‘Convergence of two major trends’

Over the course of the project’s lifetime, Rinno will develop solutions through a combination of novel and innovative technologies, processes and business models. This includes new materials, assembly using robots and cobots, AI, augmented reality, and blockchain-enabled crowd equity funding.

Rinno is a consortium of 17 partners from Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. It will be led by Dr Stefano Barberis of Rina Consulting in Genoa, Italy.

Prof Theo Lynn of the DCU Business School will lead the Irish part of the Rinno team. He said the project “reflects the convergence of two major trends, digital transformation and the circular economy”.

“As part of the project, we will be examining how new construction processes and digital technologies together can deliver accelerated step changes in energy efficiency through deep renovation of European building stock,” Lynn said.

In another energy-focused EU project, it was recently announced that a team from NUI Galway is to lead a €6.99m European project to use concentrated solar energy and advanced catalysts to convert water and CO2 into valuable chemicals such as ethylene.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic