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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency


Mainstreaming zero-energy buildings in Europe.

PV demonstrated by zeroplus in France saves costs and valuable roof space for other services. 7kW generation for 18 apartments.

In the context of the climate emergency, decreasing energy consumption of buildings is – more than ever – a priority. To support the buildings sector and its competitiveness, the EU research and innovation programmes have set a high priority on buildings energy efficiency, with the aim of mainstreaming buildings that consume little energy and can cover a large share of their energy needs with on-site renewable energy sources.

ZERO-PLUS is a H2020 project that has proven that this challenge can be effectively addressed. The project, which started in 2015 and developed over more than 5 years, has established and demonstrated a complete solution for cost-effective construction of “net-zero energy settlements” – meaning buildings that produce more renewable energy than what they consume.

Based on innovative technologies that are now ready to be marketed, such as solar thermal cooling, multifunctional roof edge solar production and hybrid generation of heat and electricity, ZERO-PLUS has demonstrated in real scale and in real life that net zero-energy settlements are achievable, with costs that are lower than the ones of standard high-energy performance constructions. 

One of the demonstrations delivered by ZERO-PLUS is a social housing block with 18 apartments located in Voreppe (France). It uses highly energy-efficient construction products in combination with on-site renewable electricity and heat production, biomass district heating, hot water storage and energy monitoring and control. With more than 120 kWh/m2/year of renewable energy production, the net consumption of the building is negative by a significant extent (around -10 kWh/m2/year) – and achieved with costs that are more than 25% lower than the typical costs of nearly-zero energy construction in the same market. The other demonstration sites, in Cyprus, Italy and the United Kingdom have confirmed that it is possible to achieve a net energy consumption below 20 KWh/m2/year and renewable energy production above 50 kWh/m2/year with reduced costs (at least 16%) compared to standard practices.

See the EU factsheet for more information on this project.




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