Finding the right technology mix for maximum energy efficiency gains

A recently completed project combining industries, administrations and researchers has tested and proven combinations of passive and active energy efficiency technologies across different European climate zones.

Tools, techniques and resources have been developed to help navigate the latest in building know-how and businesses models, as well as understand continuous operation strategies and their costs.

Significant energy saving and CO2 emission gains have been achieved following applied research and real-world testing at two demonstration sites and one building simulation. A blend of active and passive solutions has been tested in different countries and with different end-uses. The result is a wealth of resources now available helps others implement targeted and cost effective retrofitting strategies using an appropriate mix of technologies.

The BRICKER project gives flexibility to consider the building to retrofit and the technologies to be applied. Some of the technology mix delivering an on-target 50% energy reduction and return on investment in a targeted seven years include:

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Solar collectors heat thermal oil contained in a tube positioned at the focus point of the parabola to carefully identified optimum temperatures ranging between 200 and 250 °C. The hot oil then feeds a turbine to generate electricity and heat. BRICKER tried and tested a public tender process resource to help accelerate scalable production of easy to install CSP technology.

Hybrid co-generation 

A low temperature Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit designed and manufactured in the BRICKER Project is capable to generate a power output of around 100 kilowatts. Waste heat with a temperature between 60 and 70°C is ideal to feed the heating system of the building. At the project’s Liege demonstration site, it generates both heat and electricity as part of a combination of passive and active solutions achieving 61% primary energy savings.

“Breathing” windows

BRICKER proposed an innovative solution offering decentralised ventilation able to be integrated into building features. It works by balancing inbound and outbound airflow in such a way that it reduces heating and cooling requirements—a principle called balanced heat recovery – and improves indoor air quality. The advantage of this system is that it can be added to building envelope components such as windows, walls, insulation materials, terminal heating and cooling units and lintels. Also, a lack of intrusive tubes or shafts reduces installation and maintenance costs while being highly respectful of existing and heritage architecture.

Passive solutions with unique properties

BRICKER used an innovative insulating system containing what are known as phase change materials (PCM). This is a material contained in capsules, capable of turning from solid into liquid while storing heat. When this solid material becomes liquid, as the surrounding temperature changes, it stores the heat that can be released later on when needed. This results in a higher thermal inertia for the insulated classrooms spaces.


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Moderated by : La rédaction C21

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