Boosting Energy Efficiency in Construction, Building Up workshop

Presentation of the “Building – UP Research & Innovation Roadmap” addressing research priorities to improve the energy efficiency in the built environment by 2020 and beyond.

Leuven, 4 October 2012

In the context of the FP7 project Building-Up ( “Cross European Technology Platform for Energy efficient Building Strategic Roadmapping” coordinated by CSTB and D’Appolonia on behalf of the European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP) and the Energy Efficient Buildings Association (E2BA), a final project workshop was organized in Leuven on 4th October with assistance of the ENBRI/ECCREDI secretariat to support ITB as dissemination partner. During this workshop the Building-Up Research and Innovation Roadmap was presented.

Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change will inevitably require further huge effort in the next decades. Clearly, these efforts will to a great extent be won or lost by our ability of bringing along changes in our construction technology and built environment.

Indeed the construction industry is a large contributor to CO2 emissions, with buildings responsible for nearly 40% of the total European energy consumption and a third of its CO2 emissions. To help address climate change, the European Commission has set specific targets to be achieved by 2020, known as the 20-20-20 targets. These targets are to reduce by 2020 energy consumption by 20%, reduce CO2 emissions by 20% and provide 20% of the total energy share with renewable energy. These targets are also to be realised in the construction sector.

In this framework, the construction industry has engaged with the European Commission in a Public Private Partnership concerning Energy-efficient Buildings, aiming amongst others to build a Cross Sectorial Multiannual Roadmap. This Roadmap defines future research priorities on materials and processes to be addressed in order to be able to deploy in the years to come on a large scale Nearly Zero Energy Buildings and Districts as such, as well as to unleash the potential of low energy buildings to push the construction sector back towards growth.

Six European Technology Platforms were involved in this action, i.e.:

  • The European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP,,
  • The European Technology Platform for sustainable Chemistry (SUSCHEM,,
  • The European Technology Platform for Advanced Engineering Materials and Technologies (EUMAT,,
  • The European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile Platform, b,
  • The European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP,, and
  • The Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP,,

The Building Up research & innovation roadmap seeks to answer the following key questions:

  • What is our current practice in relation to the use of energy in buildings, or, simply put, where are we standing now?
  • What are the trends and drivers for the future to reduce energy consumption in buildings?
  • What barriers and challenges do we foresee on our road to the future energy efficient built environment?
  • Which techniques, technologies, products and materials do we have to develop to overcome these barriers?

A panel of international experts from industry, universities and research institutes joined their forces in the Building-Up project to tackle these questions and to come up with a strategy for future development.In the closing Building-Up workshop organised at the Faculty Club in Leuven on 4 October the final roadmap was presented.

The following items were considered crucial:

  • Development of a Performance Based Design Approach for building components, including sustainable design and Life Cycle Analysis, taking into account energy efficiency in different life cycle stages, acoustic and seismic performance, etc.
  • Focus on realizing healthy and comfortable indoor environments, through improvements of the air quality, ventilation, lighting and acoustic performance in new, existing and historic buildings;
  • Development of smart electricity as well as thermal generation and storage materials and systems, e.g. storage systems including building integrated energy technologies in order to improve efficiency and costs, but also aesthetics and flexibility;
  • Innovations related to advanced thermal insulation construction materials for new buildings and existing buildings (e.g. aerogel, nanofoams, vacuum insulation panels);
    Including attention for Renewable resource-based products, Multi-materials and composites and Building materials and components that are at the same time recyclable and re-usable.

At the workshop a representative of CEN advocated in her speech also the importance that standards can have in the implementation stage of research results by underlining that standards really can“ensure that research results adapt to market conditions”. From his side Joost Wentink, President of ECCREDI, especially advocated the need for socio-economic research and on how to reach the European citizens and how to effectively stimulate them to make their houses more sustainable.

Of course in different fields the link could be made with ICT as key-enabling technology for a number of strategic developments. A visit to IMEC where a.o. the program “wireless homes” was presented seemed therefore the ideal conclusion of the workshop.

The complete Building-Up strategy can be downloaded at

A video report with an interview of the speakers is available on YouTube on the following address