A new European research project has launched at Brunel University London, which will demonstrate how buildings can be renovated to use “near zero energy”.

Featuring 17 partners from nine European countries and funded by Horizon 2020, the €8.4m project brings together academia and industry to develop a ‘retrofit kit’ that can be used to reduce energy consumption by 60-95% in renovated buildings.

The Retrofit Kit will bring together a number of advanced, cost efficient, and energy saving technologies – including smart windows with pre-heating and cooling technology, ventilation heat recovery, photovoltaic panels, and nature-based technologies – which can be fitted 30% quicker than typical renovations. It’s hoped that implementation of the technologies would have a payback period of under 15 years.

Four demonstration sites will be created as part of the project, including one at Brunel, which will offer practical, real-world examples of ‘Near Zero Energy Buildings’ or ‘nZEBs’ retrofit.

Located in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Spain, the sites will demonstrate the Retrofit Kit’s effectiveness in different climates, and using different construction methods. Work on the retrofit buildings will begin in summer 2019.

Professor Maria Kolokotroni, leader of Brunel’s Resource Efficient Future Cities research team and Technical Manager of the project, said: “We’ve built an excellent team since this project first began to take shape back in 2016, and it’s exciting to think that by the time we finish we will have demonstrated at a number of sites across Europe that it’s possible to massively reduce the energy usage of a building, in a cost-effective way, while simultaneously increasing indoor environmental quality and decreasing installation time.”