The final remarks of the project coordinators summarise the various project results including the achieved energy savings at the retrofitted demonstration buildings and the tools and training material developed and the reports and guidelines written during the project phase. A high public interest could be gained on the website and due to articles in journals, tv footages and presentations at conferences.
The BRITA in PuBs (Bringing Retrofit Innovation to Application in Public Buildings) project aimed at increasing the market penetration of innovative and effective retrofit solutions to improve the energy efficiency and implement renewables in public buildings, with moderate additional costs.
As the European-wide composed consortium of 23 partners proposed the project in 2003, there was an increase of interest all over Europe to the energy efficiency of buildings due to the just enacted Energy Performance of Buildings Directive of the European Parliament. On the other hand the majority of the public building owners was very sceptical because of the expected additional investments for energy saving measures.
The consortium proposed to apply the retrofit innovations to public buildings as this kind of buildings can be used as locomotives to heighten awareness and sensitive society on energy conservation. Every day groups of different ages and social origin are enter and use these buildings.
After 48 months of intensive project work, we consider the project as more than successful. The retrofit measures itself helped to reduce the energy consumptions of the buildings in average by more than factor 2 and improved at the same time the user satisfaction by at least factor 2. The economic payback times for the investments (supported by the rising energy prices during the project time) have finally been calculated to less than 20 years and the ecological payback time (which describes the energy expenses to apply the measures in comparison to the received energy savings) to about 2 years. All the involve parties pointed out that the reservation at the begin of the project has disappeared and the energy efficient retrofit of public buildings is nowadays a must in the communities.
But the project created also a lot of additional public added values. More than 30 deliverables have been developed to assist the daily work in the public building administrations. They include information reports on innovative financial schemes, a set of retrofit design guidelines, different blackboard information sheets for changing the user behaviour, an electronic information tool and benchmark system and a quality control toolbox. Additional there were material and courses developed to train facility managers and educate students in further education and architectural university courses. All this material is free of charge for download at the project website. The public interest is huge; approx. 10.000 visits a month and more than 5.000 downloads of documents a month are the current success rates on the website www.brita-in-pubs.eu.
Additional to the activities on the website the project is well known all over Europe up to the top of the EU Commission. 3 Commissioners have asked for details on the project and several TV and radio stations (BBC, Euronews, Yaris) have reported about the outcomes. The project was invited to several conferences for keynote speeches and publications in more than 200 journals have been counted during the project time.
All the results achieved in the 4 years have been summarised in the Publishable Final Activity Report, which can be downloaded from the project website. The project has acted as a base for increasing awareness on energy efficient retrofit solution all over Europe. Such kind of activities have to be continued: Demonstration is the most reliable way to bring innovation forward.
The Coordinators wants to thank very much all the active project members and the supporting EU administrators and hope that the next step will follow soon in one of the next DG TREN project calls by demonstrating advanced concepts of high performance retrofitted public buildings like "Plus Energy" or "Zero Emission" buildings all over Europe. That way BRITA in PuBs will live on.
Hans Erhorn and Heike Erhorn-Kluttig
(on behalf of the BRITA in PuBs project management team)
Download the Publishable Final Activity Report here
Fraunhofer Institute of Building Physics, written by Hans Erhorn and Heike Erhorn-Kluttig