Interreg North West Europe project Housing 4.0 Energy (H4.0E) aims to develop a market for small, affordable near-zero energy homes (NZEHs) by adapting and applying new digital technologies, thus stimulating both consumer and supplier interest. Made up of five partner countries in North West Europe (NWE), the three and a half year H4.0E project will facilitate the uptake of low carbon and digital technologies, products, processes and services in the NWE housing sector to reduce carbon emissions and improve quality of life for homeowners in the region and beyond.
The EU 2030 Framework for climate and energy sets targets for cutting 40% of CO2 emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy to greater than 27% and providing at least 27% energy savings across Europe. The North West Europe (NWE) region is the most industrialised region—as well as the most prolific CO2-emitting region—in Europe. Within this region, the private housing sector alone accounts for nearly one-third of all CO2-emissions, as there is currently no great push within this industry to achieve EU targets. Meanwhile, decreasing household size, changing patterns of regional population density and other social factors have led to a significant decline in demand for large, expensive and energy-inefficient homes; and in turn, this has led to the increased desire for smaller, more affordable energy-efficient high quality living spaces. The main goal of Interreg North West Europe Housing 4.0 Energy, therefore, is to offer people in NWE access to new affordable near-zero energy/low carbon homes (NZEHs) and zero energy/low carbon homes (ZEHs), effectively aiming to reduce home building costs by 25% and carbon emissions by 60%.
Housing 4.0 Energy (H4.0E) will develop an affordable ZEH market by adapting and applying new technologies, thus creating both consumer and supplier interest. Made up of five partner countries in North West Europe (NWE), the three-year H4.0E project will facilitate the uptake of low carbon and digital technologies, products, processes and services in the NWE housing sector to reduce carbon emissions and improve quality of life and affordability for residents in the region and beyond.
Digitization (4.0) techniques and the development of a H4.0E digital platform—designed to facilitate the digitalization of building homes and transferability of these techniques—will ignite fundamental changes in design, manufacturing and construction within the housing industry to meet both EU targets and the needs of homeowners in NWE. Using a client-based approach, H4.0E partners will work with local stakeholder groups—especially local authorities, housing associations, architects, self-builders, construction companies and current homeowners—across North West Europe. Starting from the needs, budget and expectations of end users, the project will identify and remove financial, legal and other obstacles related to housing preferences to meet the expectations of investors & diverse groups of small households. The project will be tested and monitored for viability in six pilot sites (in IRL, DE, NL, BE) representing varying levels of industry and carbon emissions, ranging from cities in low carbon regions to rural areas in less carbon conscientious regions. H4.0E is funded by € 2.5 Million in European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding with a total budget of € 4.2 Million.
Project pilots and outputs will include 48 NZEH/ZEH units in four regions & consumers’ evaluations, and partners are to attend regular seminars and events throughout the programme to monitor project progression and ensure effective collaboration. All NZEH/ZEH units will be constructed within the first 18 months of the project, allowing for extensive monitoring during the following months. Parallel testing in the six pilot sites will allow for transnational comparisons & learning; however, every pilot will maintain a distinct focus. The six H4.0E pilot sites include:
All pilots feed data into the main output: the H4.0E Energy Building Technology that enables zero energy/emission housing building on a larger scale.
The Housing 4.0 Energy partnership includes eight organisations from five different countries in North West Europe.