InterregNWE funding for sustainable school buildings project ENERGE

News - 07 March 2019 - Communication

European school buildings, which mostly consists of buildings from pre-war times, are generally very energy inefficient. How can we renovate their infrastructure, when looking at the 2050 European greenhouse gas (GHG) target of zero emissions?

In February 2019, the large collaborative ENERGE (ENergizing Education to Reduce Greenhouse Emission) project was granted a budget of ± € 4 000 000. Lead researcher is IDE TU Delft’s Natalia Romero Herrera. “This project, made possible with InterregNWE (North-West Europe) funding, has the goal to develop research-based demonstrators to facilitate the implementation of low-carbon, energy and climate protection strategies to reduce GHG emissions in NWE.”

In order for the secondary schools to successfully meet the stated zero emissions scenario, their buildings require massive investments to renovate their infrastructure. Something that it is not expected to happen in the next 10-20 years, because of the lack of resources and support. Natalia: “That’s precisely the period where this project wants to make an impact. By involving the complete ecosystem of the school (students, teachers and administration staff), we will co-design with them a low-cost technical platform that supports the development of their own low-energy strategies. The school can then directly implement these strategies at their own premises.”

The ENERGE project is a follow up of a previous InterregNWE project, SusLabNWE, where the faculty of IDE was also the main coordinator. In SuslabNWE, knowledge of the energy consumption in social housing was gathered. They learned that energy consumption is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by human values, preferences, and needs that are contextualised in the daily lives of people. This know-how and findings will be used when co-designing with students, teachers and admin staff the ENERGE platform.

The ENERGE project will last for 46 months. The project consortium is led by the University of Galway, Ireland, joined by other 4 research institutions covering knowledge on design, social sciences, educational science and energy. Three other industrial partners will contribute to the development of the sensors and energy meters as well as business models for future dissemination. A group of local governmental organisations are also involved. Finally, 12 secondary schools (2 per country) are associated partners and volunteers to co-design and use the platform. The two schools involved from the Netherlands are Gymnasium Haganum (building from 1900) and Hugo de Groot (building from 1950). The project involves 6 countries (Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, France, UK and The Netherlands) in total.

TU Delft brings expertise of several colleagues from the department Industrial Design of the faculty of IDE: Sacha Sylvester, René van Egmond, Stella Boess, Prof. David Keyson, Natalia Romero Herrera, Abhigyan Singh (post-doc). From the faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment Prof. Philomena Bluyssen and a post-doc researcher will be also involved. 

Abhigyan Singh