In Europe, the building sector is responsible for the 40% of the total energy consumption and represents about a third of Europe’s CO2 emissions’. Heating and cooling accounts for 50% of this EU annual energy consumption. This is a huge socio-economic and environmental problem, more if we consider than almost half of the EU buildings have boilers installed before 1992, with an efficiency rate of below 60% . For this reason, key drivers of the EU building market are the EU climate and energy package, adopted in 2008, altogether with the well-known EU “20-20-20” targets.
Although energy renovation of existing buildings could help to achieve those “20-20-20” targets, the refurbishment rate is currently below 1% and renewables are not widely used in the building sector. Indeed in 2015 renewable energy accounted for only 18.6% of total energy use for heating and cooling in the EU-28. Albeit, a gradual shift over the last five years is observed from fossil fuels to renewable energy. By means of Directives, Recommendations and Regulations the European Commission is giving a direction to the future of sustainable energy use and supporting the Low Carbon Energy in Buildings. In this context, Shallow Geothermal Energy (SGE) represents a renewable energy source (RES) with a large potential of energy savings and GHG emissions reduction in the building sector to achieve all major objectives of the EU’s energy policy. Moreover main reference organisations – such as ECTP and RHC – have effectively promoted and road-mapped the cost-effective integration of renewable energy sources (RES) into building technical systems, considering the development of effective and affordable enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs) crucial to exploit the EU geothermal potential as major source of energy supply for heating and cooling purposes, by targeting the bottlenecks that hinder full deployment of geothermal systems as one of the key concepts in energy efficient building retrofitting.
GEOFIT as an integrated industrially driven action will therefore answer to this challenge in 4 key points:
- By making viable and cost effective the use of advanced EGS by introducing a novel concept on building retrofitting based on geothermal energy and EGS, through the integration and validation of a suite of technologies, tools & methods facilitating their easy application and massive deployment. This concept is our Geothermal Based Retrofitting and includes several innovations: low invasive risk assessment, site-inspection and worksite building monitoring techniques, control systems for cost-effective and optimized EGS in operation phase and novel BIM-enabled dedicated tools for management of Geothermal based retrofitting works (GEOBIM platform).
- By the technical development of Efficient Geothermal Systems (EGS) and their components, to become one of the key heating and cooling technologies for energy efficient building retrofitting practices and leveraging its market uptake. Key TRL 5-6 breakthrough technology assets brought by GEOFIT include: improved low invasive vertical drilling and trenchless technologies as Horizontal Directional Drilling, enabling the use of novel and non-standard heat ground heat exchangers designs & geometries including vertical closed loops for limited spaces and novel hybrid heat pump and electrically driven compression heat pump systems, all specifically designed for their use in retrofitting works.
- By bringing these technical developments within a new management framework based on Integrated Design and Delivery Solutions for the retrofitting process as an efficient, participatory and lean answer fuelled by the possibilities offered by BIM and ICT to overcome its technical, social and economic complexity by considering and managing the diverse interests and drivers from many stakeholders, each of them bringing in their own expertise and agenda in specific parts of the design or construction process. IDDS driven process will materialise in the Geo-BIM enabled Retrofitting Management Platform (Geo-BIM tool).
- By using the demonstration sites as open case studies representing different climates and situations found throughout Europe, to leverage knowledge, key exploitable results, adapted business models and market oriented dissemination for maximizing impact and wide adoption of these novel geothermal technologies and approach.
In all GEOFIT features a fully systematic, collaborative and integrated approach to the development of innovative EGS based on some diverse and complementary breakthrough TRL 5-6 technology assets brought by leading industrials, universities and RTOs, plus ICT tools for viable and cost-effective geothermal based retrofitting, a novel building retrofitting IDDS ready framework and corresponding platform, all reaching TRL7 by the demonstration and validation of its concepts in 5 pilot sites in 4 countries, featuring different representative technical scenarios/business models and end-users as partners of the project