The Architects’ Council of Europe is regularly involved in EU-funded projects. This section gives a brief description of each of the projects in which the ACE is currently and has been involved in recent years.
The ACE’s role is generally one of giving expertise to the partners in the project and disseminating the results through its extensive network of Members and international contacts. Through the work in these projects, ACE seeks to promote the architects’ role in energy efficient construction and urban regeneration, to influence cutting edge research and make it more applicable for European architects and to underpin its policy positions.
This three-year Horizon 2020 project focuses on the market up-take on energy efficiency and is coordinated by the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna. ABRACADABRA stands for Assistant Buildings’ addition to Retrofit, Adopt, Cure And Develop the Actual Buildings up to zeRo energy, Activating a market for deep renovation.
ABRACADABRA is based on the prior assumption that non-energy related benefits play a key role in the deep renovation of existing buildings. In particular, actions focus on the following main benefit: the generation of a substantial increase of the real estate value of the buildings through significant energy and architectural transformation (mainly integration of Renewable Energy Sources systems with new volume additions or new buildings’ construction) to go beyond the minimum energy performance and aim at achieving Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs).
There are national workshops every six months in Italy, Greece, Spain, Norway, Romania, the Netherlands and Latvia, which are open to all interested stakeholders. The meetings are discussing technical, regulatory and financial toolkits to raise the renovation rate of the EU buildings stock. All positions from the national workshops will then be brought forward to bi-annual international workshops coordinated by ACE.
Website of the project: http://www.abracadabra-project.eu
PROF-TRAC is a three-year project partially funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program. It develops an Open Education Platform for Continuing Professional Development on nearly zero energy buildings (NZEBs). This platform addresses technical experts, architects and managers. The developed European qualification scheme will be part of a life-long learning process for continuing development and up-skilling of professionals. Especially the collaboration between these professions is necessary to develop mutual understanding of each others’ disciplines and combine skills to achieve optimal nZEB construction and retrofitting in terms of performance quality, energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.
The first step is the mapping of existing skills and qualifications in the EU and to compare this with the required skills for nZEBs. Thereafter, the outcome will be matched with existing qualifications, knowledge sources, education programmes, post-initial training supply and accreditation/ certification structures, and also linked to the BUILD UP skills actions. This was already done for seven pilot countries. On this basis the project developed a Train the Trainer training, which is open to CPD trainers from all around Europe.
There are 15 partners in the consortium from 8 EU countries. Two ACE member organisations (MOs) are also part of the consortium: Italy and Slovenia. Moreover EU funding and ACE made it possible that 6 other ACE MOs could send their CPD trainers to these trainings (Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and Spain).
ACE’s main role in the project is to lead the dissemination activities.
Website of the project
YouTube Channel of the project with videos on CPD training on NZEB
A2PBEER is a 4-year research project partially financed by the 7th EU Framework Programme. The projects’ full title is “Affordable and Adaptable Public Buildings through Energy Efficient Retrofitting”. 21 partners from 11 countries around Europe form the project’s consortium. Among them are research institutes, companies from the sectors of technology, energy, building industry, as well as universities, local and national authorities.
Following the notion that boosting energy efficient buildings’ retrofitting is the only way to reach EU’s 2020 targets, A2PBEER develops a methodology for the systemic energy-efficient retrofitting of public buildings and takes advantage of synergies derived from interventions at district level. A2PBEER retrofitting solutions include already available technologies and more innovative ones developed within the project, such as “high performance envelope retrofitting”, with super-insulated façade panels and smart windows, “smart lighting systems” combining LED and natural light, and the “Smart Dual Thermal Substation”, a new approach to district heating. A “kit-concept” will be applied in the development of new solutions in order to deploy adaptable and affordable solutions.
The outcomes of the research performed are demonstrated in three real demo-cases (Sweden, Spain, Turkey) as well as in three complementary virtual projects (Norway, Italy, Croatia). The aim is to cover a variety of climatic areas and building uses.
A2PBEER has produced two free online tools for public building retrofitting, which are available on the project website: The Support Guide Toolkit assists stakeholders in making best practice decisions on how to improve the energy performance of their public building or district. The Financial tool uses a simple excel sheet which focuses on financial analysis, return on investment, cost control and evaluation of rehabilitation of public buildings.
One of the main roles of the ACE in A2PBEER is to lead the dissemination of the project’s results and participate in the development of training materials addressed to architects and other identified key training groups.
The European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) and the Architects´ Council Europe (ACE) are partners, alongside eight European schools of architecture, in the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project ”Confronting Wicked Problems: Adapting Architectural Education to the New Situation in Europe”. The project received 285 000 € from the EU for a three year period and is coordinated by the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).
The project raises the question of how to teach architecture in Europe today, and especially how curriculum and teaching should be adapted to the new societal and professional situation. The project aims at strengthening the architectural graduates´ ability to face this new normal and thus improve their social impact and employability. Three subtopics were identified that will undergo investigation in so-called Think Tanks: (1) Teaching Architectural Design and Professional Knowledge (TADPK), (2) Sustainability and (3) Heritage. Based on the activities and experiences from the short term intensive programmes the think tanks will discuss pedagogical methods and structure of curriculum for teaching within the relevant fields. Join the Facebook community!
EAAE and ACE are active partners in the project, but do also serve as infrastructures for dissemination of the project results to relevant stakeholders in academia and profession. An important impact is also to establish closer bonds between ACE and EAAE through opening-up several areas of cooperation and exchanging experience, expertise and networks.
Results of the first two years were presented at the EAAE conference in Delft in September 2016 and the reports are available on the EAAE website: http://www.eaae.be/activities/wicked-problems/
iNSPiRE was a 4 year research project partially funded by the 7th EU Framework Programme. There were 24 partners in the project’s consortium from 8 EU countries. Among the partners were representatives of research and development institutes, industry, business and not-profit organisations.
During the four years the project produced five different systemic renovation kits that can be applied to residential and office buildings from the outside of the building, while allowing the occupant to remain inside. Their aim is to reduce the primary energy consumption of a retrofitted building to lower than 50kWh/m²/year. The innovative nature of the kits is that they integrate different retrofit components into insulated, prefabricated building envelopes. These components include HVAC systems, lighting and shading systems, pipes and ducts, and energy generation systems. The packages are suitable to a variety of climates while ensuring optimum comfort for the building users.
One of the main roles of the ACE in this project was to identify the non-technical barriers to the implementation of the developed packages. Moreover, the ACE participated in the dissemination of the project outcomes and co-organised a special conference on ‘A new understanding of energy-efficient renovation’ in Brussels.
ACE prepared a ‘Guidebook’, which summarises all project results including lessons learned from the demonstration projects. The guidebook is aimed at European architects, private property owners and public procurers and can be found here.
Website of the project: www.inspirefp7.eu
This project was partially funded by the 7th EU Framework Program and developed a new generation of inorganic insulation materials and building insulation masonry components. The developed materials are suitable for applications both in new and retrofitted buildings. They have significantly lower embodied energy (by 70-90%) and a lower unit cost (by 25-30% compared to the cost of commonly used insulation materials). Moreover, they do not present any technical, health and environmental drawbacks.
One of the main roles of the ACE in this project was to evaluate the new developed products in relation to the requirements of the European architects. The ACE was also responsible for the technical coordination of the Business Plan and for the promotion of the new products in the building sector.
Website of the project: www.leema.eu
Benchmarking and mainstreaming building sustainability in the EU based on transparency and openness (open source and availability) from model to implementation.
The objective of OPEN HOUSE, a project partly financed by the 7th EU Framework Program, was to merge existing methodologies for the sustainability assessment of buildings (like LEED, BREEAM and DGNB) towards a common view. With the aim of being widely adopted in Europe, the OPEN HOUSE methodology was developed in a fully transparent, collective and open process, with extensive communication and interaction between various stakeholders. The final outcome of the research performed is a non-proprietary sustainability assessment method for buildings in design phase or operation. OPEN HOUSE offers a comprehensive and user-friendly methodology, supported by an interactive and free to use web tool (OPEN HOUSE Platform).
Outcome of the project: Assessment Guideline providing detailed description of all the indicators examined
Website of the project: http://www.openhouse-fp7.eu
Social Housing organisations and European professionals Linked and acting together for Testing and promoting project team in Energy Renovation.
The Shelter project aimed to map the structure of project teams employed by Social Housing Organisations in the energy upgrading of existing housing schemes. The intention has been to identify the optimum team structure in the expectation that using the optimum team will lead to significant improvements in the final energy performance of the projects to which it is applied. This is akin to investigating models of integrated project delivery. The outcomes of SHELTER are presented in the following publications: “Recommendations for Public Authorities” and the SHELTER Guide “Innovate to Renovate” (available in EN, FR, IT, BG).
The recommendations suggest ways to improve the coordination between professionals in the energy renovation of social housing. Among others, these recommendations highlight the importance of the architects’ role in energy renovations. The Guide proposes possible alternatives for the energy renovation process for SHOs. These alternatives have been shown to overcome difficulties some Social Housing Organisations have experienced in their existing renovation processes.
The objective of TrainRebuild project was to encourage retrofitting in a wide range of residential buildings. To successfully reach building owners, training materials presenting technical and financial aspects of residential retrofitting works, were produced. These training packages were also customised to the local conditions of 10 EU countries (BG, DE, ES, FR, GR, HU, IT, PT, RO, UK). The developed materials can be of particular use to architects as they provide valuable information on technical issues, legislation and financial instruments. This information can in fact be used to help property owners overcome any constraints or uncertainties over renovating their buildings.
Website of the project: www.trainrebuild.eu
ENHSA III Thematic Network is an extended consortium of schools of architecture, academic associations, professional bodies and cultural foundations, which collaborate in order to contribute to the foundation and the development of the European Higher Architectural Education Area. In this context, the ACE, as an institutional partner, was responsible for the organisation of a series of events in 2011 that explored the gap in expectations between the graduate architect and the experienced professionals that employ them.
To read the principal conclusions of the two events, click here
This project was coordinated by Energie Cités and was a follow up to the highly successful Display project that preceded it. In the project Local and Municipal Authorities were encouraged to sign up to the Display Campaign in which the energy performance, water consumption and CO2 emissions of its buildings are measured and displayed in a prominent position within the building. In this way the project seeks to encourage Local and Municipal Authorities to become shining examples of energy efficiency.
The ACE was a partner in this project and was principally involved in identifying exemplary buildings for inclusion in the campaign, providing a jury member for the TCA Award and in disseminating the work of the project to its Member Organisations.
This project was coordinated by Info-Handicap, an organisation based in Luxembourg and consisted of the production of a guide for Local Authorities on how to prepare calls for tender for buildings that include the principles of Design-for-All in the specifications. The objective is to encourage the incorporation of a fully inclusive approach to the design and construction of all public buildings. The Reference Manual that the project produced was officially launched at an event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in November 2006 that was supported by three Inter-Groups of the Parliament: the Inter-Group on Ageing, the Inter-Group on Disability and the Urban/Logement Inter-Group. As such it received full cross-party support from Parliamentarians, many of whom attended the launch.
The ACE was closely involved in all stages of this project and contributed substantially to the writing of the Reference Manual. Its President was also featured in a video that describes the necessity of adopting this inclusive approach and included descriptions of two buildings that have considered the issues. ACE also ensured a wide distribution of the Reference Manual and has continued to promote it on all appropriate occasions since the completion of the project.
The Coordinator of this project was the CSTB in France and it was run in the context of the European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP) initiative. The objective of the project was to identify those countries in Europe that did not have a National Construction Technology Platform and to seek to facilitate the start of an initiative in each of those countries. It also carried out extensive survey and research work in order to catalogue the success of national initiatives already in place across Europe. That work was carried out by ASM, Poland and led to the production of a most informative report on the priorities or research in each country of Europe where a national initiative exists.
ACE was responsible for facilitating the creation of national initiatives in Ireland and in Turkey. In both cases it organised local events with interested stakeholders in order to inform them of the opportunities that would be presented by the creation of a national technology platform. In Ireland, the situation was difficult and no concrete results were achieved. However in Turkey, the ENABLE project has encouraged the establishment of a most successful initiative known as the Turkish Construction Technology Platform (TCTP).