Challenges and impacts
Addressing the challenge of decarbonizing energy consumption in buildings is crucial to achieving the energy and climate goals set by the European Union. While renewable electricity use in buildings has shown steady growth, the adoption of renewable energy solutions for heating and cooling has been slower. This can be attributed to factors such as the wide range of technological options available and the diverse needs of users and buildings.
The impacts of tackling this challenge are significant. By implementing solutions that reduce reliance on fossil fuels for electricity, heating, and cooling in buildings, a more sustainable energy mix can be achieved. The development of innovative components and technologies improves the performance of building systems, leading to greater energy efficiency. Adopting best practices for integrated and systematic energy system renovations promotes effective approaches to reducing carbon emissions.
Collaboration and knowledge-sharing with industry and other sectors foster innovative synergies, enabling the exchange of ideas and expertise. More efficient operation and optimized interaction with the grid result in lower energy bills for European consumers. Additionally, the co-design approach involving various stakeholders ensures social inclusion and accelerates the energy transition toward a sustainable future. By addressing these impacts, the project strives to create a positive and transformative change in the energy consumption of buildings.
Decarbonizing energy consumption in buildings
RES4BUILD aims at decarbonizing energy consumption in buildings through the development of integrated renewable energy-based solutions tailored to the needs of users and installers. The project brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts with several key objectives. Firstly, they aim to enhance the performance and reduce the cost of innovative components within the RES4BUILD solutions. Additionally, they will develop simulation, sizing, and control tools that optimize the utilization of integrated energy systems while considering user preferences. Stakeholder engagement is a vital aspect, as the project seeks to involve all relevant parties in an interactive process to co-design energy systems that meet present needs and future expectations. The project will rigorously test and validate various RES4BUILD solutions in diverse climates. Lastly, the project intends to pave the way for market adoption of the developed solutions by conducting rigorous life cycle assessments to evaluate their real-world impact. By achieving these objectives, RES4BUILD aims to contribute to the widespread adoption of sustainable energy solutions in buildings.
The RES4BUILD project incorporates various innovative technologies for energy-efficient buildings. The Magnetocaloric Heat Pump (MHP) utilizes the temperature change during magnetization and demagnetization of magnetic material to create a heat pump. In the multi-source heat pump concept, the MHP is coupled with the evaporator of a vapour-compression heat pump, employing a two-stage configuration with in-series DC-driven compressors. Another technology, PV/T collectors, combines the features of standard PV panels and solar thermal collectors to generate both heat and electricity, delivering a higher energy yield per square meter compared to separate collectors. Borehole Thermal Energy Storage (BTES) is employed to extract heat from a borehole array during winter using a heat exchanger, with the chilled circuit water being returned to the borehole. The flow is reversed during the summer months. Lastly, the Building Energy Management System (BEMS) monitors mechanical and electrical equipment in buildings, including main loads, energy generation and storage systems, and optimizes their operation through controlling software to meet user-defined objectives. Together, these technologies contribute to the development of integrated renewable energy solutions for decarbonizing energy consumption in buildings.
A primary focus has been to develop and test an innovative integrated heat pump system that combines a magnetocaloric heat pump and a vapor compression heat pump in a cascade configuration. The magnetocaloric heat pump component has been manufactured and tested at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Meanwhile, the vapor compression heat pump component was produced by Psyctotherm in Greece and underwent testing at the Demokritos National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSRD). Following the testing phase, the vapor compression heat pump was sent to the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) for final testing and integration with the magnetocaloric heat pump.
In September 2021, the vapor compression heat pump arrived at Danish Technological Institute (DTI) in Aarhus, Denmark. Following its arrival, the heat pump was installed in a laboratory test setup specifically designed for characterizing heat pumps. At DTI, the primary objective of heat pump testing was twofold. Firstly, an envelope test was conducted to assess its overall performance. Secondly, the energy efficiency of the heat pump was evaluated in different test scenarios under heating mode. These results were later compared to the test results obtained from NCSRD.
To facilitate the testing, the heat pump was charged with the recommended 4 kg of HFO refrigerant, specifically R1234ze(E). It was then connected to temperature-controlled water flows in closed circuits, both on the evaporator and condenser sides of the heat pump. By exchanging heat with external systems, the water circuit on the condenser side was cooled, while the water circuit on the evaporator side was heated. This setup allowed for the achievement of specified temperatures in the test scenarios. The process was controlled by PID-regulated valves, which adjusted their opening and closing based on the need for cooling or heating. Similar control methods were employed for the pumps and water flow. It's important to note that during these tests, the outdoor air-fan evaporator was not utilized. The focus was solely on the water-source mode.
Throughout the testing, the water flow for both the evaporator and condenser remained constant at 1400 and 2000 L/h. The cooling and heating of the water circuits were regulated to reach the specified water inlet and outlet temperatures from the heat pump at the evaporator and condenser. The temperature differences between the inlet and outlet varied depending on the heat pump's effectiveness.
Below you can read about three case studies conducted in connection with the project.
Read the case here
Read the case here
Read the case here
About the project
RES4BUILD will run for three years, starting in 2019, and consist of fifteen partners from eight countries.
Wirtschaft und Infrastruktur GmbH & Co. Planungs KG (coordinator), National Centre for Scientific Research Demokritos, Empowered by KU Leuven, VITO, imec & UHasselt, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Teknologisk Institut, Universitaet Stuttgart, Ove Arup & Partners Ireland, Stichting Joint Implementation Network, Baltic Energy Conservation Agency, ThermoVault BVBA, Terra Energy NV, Ligeros & SIA O.E. – Psyctotherm, MG Sustainable Engineering, Högskolan i Gävle, and ERINN Innovation
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 814865 (RES4BUILD).