TECNALIA is working on the decarbonisation of the energy system of existing buildings

30 May 2024
Descarbonización del sistema energético de edificios existentes

“This new solution based on heat pumps has been installed in a multi-family building in Pasaia: it reduces CO2 emissions and helps residents save on energy bills”

The decarbonisation of the energy system of existing buildings plays a key role in achieving overall climate neutrality objectives.

In recent years, TECNALIA has been working on a technological solution based on decentralised heat pumps for the refurbishment of the energy system of buildings. It is a concept based on cascade heat pumps, which are hybridised with locally produced renewable energy, mainly solar. Heat for heating and DHW services is generated in two stages:

  • During the first stage, the water that is distributed around the building and gets to each home is centrally warmed up.
  • The second stage takes place in each home: taking the heat from the centrally preheated water, the heat required for heating and hot water is delivered to the end user.

This solution, developed in the framework of the European HAPPENING project, enables a considerable fraction of renewable energy. The technological solution is coupled with virtually no planning, implementation and operation processes, which ensures a quality installation and reduces the effort required and costs of the renovation project.

Buildings currently account for 40% of the demand for energy and 36% of CO2 in Europe. This demand mainly stems from heating, cooling and DHW systems.

In this context, heat pumps are a key technology when it comes to introducing renewables into the heat supply of buildings, especially in combination with onsite renewable electricity production, e.g. photovoltaic energy.

Demo site in a building in Pasaia

The solutions developed as part of the HAPPENING initiative have been tested in three real use cases, in buildings in Pasaia (Gipuzkoa), Italy and Austria. With this new system, the self-sufficiency of the building has been maximised, residents have saved money on their energy bills, and the environmental impact has been reduced.

European collaboration to develop heat pumps

Several European organisations have collaborated with the HAPPENING project: TECNALIA, Accademia Europea di Bolzano (EURAC), Tecnozenith, Innova SRL, AEE - Institut für nachhaltige technologien, GWS, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, RINA Consulting S.p.A, Green Building Council-España, Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Servicios Energéticos (ANESE), CARTIF, ALOKABIDE.

Conference on innovative, efficient solutions for the electrification of heating and cooling of buildings

On 14 June, TECNALIA will be holding a conference in Donostia/San Sebastián to present solutions for the electrification of heating and cooling in buildings installed in real cases, both in single-family houses and in blocks of flats, and in new-builds and refurbishments.

This event will cover the entire heat pump value chain, from the manufacturer, installation and maintenance, to the end user.

European Union

This project has received funding from the Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation program, in accordance with Subsidy Agreement number 957007.