Page 17 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2015 publication
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Summer 2015 European Energy Innovation 17


creation of low carbon regions in as a stimulus to innovate and Typical case studies include the
Europe. The term “smart” applies produce high-value products and SOLCER low carbon dwellings
to energy supply and energy processes. Government seems to project, funded through the
demand, from smart grids to prefer big industry solutions, and Wales ERDF Structural Funds
smart living. Energy is looked there are many vested interests as part of Cardiff University’s
at from a “systems” approach, and hidden subsidies to maintain Low Carbon Built Environment
linking reduced energy demand, the status quo. The low carbon Programme. This has involved
renewable supply and storage. economy will be a major future low carbon studies of both new
All this is considered at a regional growth area and has the potential build and housing retrofit. A
scale, relating government to contribute to a vibrant new build SOLCER house has
policy and aspirations to industry economy with products that can been designed and constructed
capacity and needs. benefit our everyday life. Unless to a Passivhaus level of energy
there is change in our approach, demand. It uses a timber SIPS
Since 2012, the Smart-ER’s 28 Europe may fall behind. construction, which took 16 weeks
member countries have identified to build. In winter, heat is provided
various case studies, illustrating The focus on top-down solutions by passing external air through a
good and best practice, and are to reduce CO2 emissions has so transpired solar air collector, then
now developing a framework of far failed to deliver a viable future through a mechanical ventilation
solutions to enable long-term, energy solution. On a large scale, heat recovery unit (MVHR), and
large-scale implementation of low many technologies and processes finally delivered to the space.
carbon technologies considering are not sufficiently developed, Exhaust air is passed through
regional contextual issues. such as large-scale storage, CCS the MVHR and then through an
(Carbon Capture and Storage), exhaust air heat pump, which
These low carbon technology- smart grids, financial “green deals” heats a thermal water store.
ready solutions for applications in and carbon credits. They will need
the built environment along with huge investment, there are many The thermal store heats domestic
appropriate training and skills can unforeseen difficulties, and by hot water. A solar PV roof provides
produce affordable results with the time they are delivered, many electricity to the battery store,
added value through multiple technologies may be obsolete. It which powers the heat pump, LED
benefits, such as improved quality seems that the old industries have lighting and internal plug loads.
of life, reducing fuel poverty and a culture and vested interests that There is grid electricity back-up
energy demand. apparently cannot adapt to the and the house is predicted to be
changes needed. around 70% autonomous, being
However, progress on the able to export around 70% more
application of such low carbon A way forward is to focus on a energy to the grid than it imports
technologies can be sometimes bottom-up system approach, from the grid. The SOLCER
slow as most low carbon initiatives applying existing solutions, programme also includes a series
require approval from a central linking reduced energy demand, of 5 energy retrofit houses, using
body and are characterised by increasing renewable energy a similar systems approach.
top-down decision making and supply and energy storage, on a Retrofit measures include external
supply-driven approach. There building and community scale. wall insulation, a solar PV roof
is less focus on local bottom-up The solutions identified by the and battery storage, mechanical
demand driven actions. Some members of the COST Action ventilation heat recovery, new
industries, such as the energy “Smart Energy Regions” will be controls and an upgraded heating
supply industries and the mass regionally driven, providing system.
house-builders often seem to stakeholder action, jobs,
resist change, while others in investment and profits, all on a Both new build and retrofit
manufacturing welcome change local scale. have focused on performance

1 COST Actions are a flexible, fast, effective and efficient networking instrument for researchers, engineers and scholars to cooperate and coordinate nationally
funded research activities. COST Actions allow European researchers to jointly develop their own ideas in any science and technology field.
The COST Action TU1104 “Smart Energy Regions” is funded by the COST Association with support of the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020
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