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Overall Approach

Public demonstration – the technologies and buildings retrofitted will be demonstrated to the public at seven countries with retrofitted buildings (UK, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Spain and Netherlands) for the duration of one year. The buildings will be open to the public at all the feasible time. In particular, about ten 1-day organised demonstrations will be made to schools, general public and business (policy makers, architects, building services engineers, renewable/sustainable energy system manufacturers, building industry, and owners and users of residential buildings) for visiting the buildings through invitation. Each demonstration will be intended to have an audience of 30 or more. A questionnaire will be used to obtain feedback from the audience on the value of the visit. Survey of occupants’ acceptance will be carried out at least 50 times (weekly or more frequently at certain periods such as the time right after retrofitting).




Demo Site Description

Country : UK
Partner : 
MARK (Mark Group Ltd), UNOTT (University of Nottingham)
City  : 

Description :
Six properties with a total floor area of 540 m2 in the UK will be retrofitted in the UK under the HERB project, all owned by LHA (Leicester Housing Association) and tenant occupied. They are categorised as ‘social housing’. The properties will be retrofitted by MARK (Mark Group Ltd). UNOTT (University of Nottingham) have contributed to the production of this report through undertaking the modelling required for identifying and justifying the proposed solution.

  • The Bilsthorpe semi-detached houses. These are based on a two-story semi-detached design, a standard constructed in UK sub-urban districts during the inter-war years. Approximately one-third of all domestic houses across the country are this type with internal floor areas, on average, ranging between 80-120m2 . The four houses used in the HERB project were constructed between the 1920s and 1950s, and contain families of three-four people.
  • The Forest Fields terrace houses The houses located in Forest Fields are based on a terrace design that was popular in the UK in the later part of the 19th century. There are numerous buildings of this type located across the centre of the city of Nottingham, and in many other UK cities, due to the large manufacturing activities that took place towards the end of the industrial revolution. Approximately one third of the UK housing stock is terrace based, with sizes on average ranging from 60-100m2. As this period was a significant time ago, these houses are in various states of repair, and are occupied by a broad range of demographic (depending on location). he homes used in the HERB project were constructed in the early part of the 1900s, and are based on a two up / two down design. Both are currently owned by Leicester Housing Association (LHA), and contain families of three-four people. To broaden the level of research, the first chosen is an end-terrace (73 Ewart Road), the second is a mid-terrace (33 Ewart Road).

Technologies :

  • Aerogel or starch micro-porous material for internal insulation of building fabric and surface coating of exterior;
  • VIP and/or Smart Windows
  • Integrated lighting and ventilation device for LED integrated lightpipes in combination with natural ventilation or integrated heat recovery panels
  • Solar thermal and/or PV panels for roof integration
  • Heat pumps

Location of the houses in their corresponding districts :




18 Mickledale Lane / photographs of the front and rear


59 Saville Road / photographs of the front and rear of the properties


70 Church Street / photographs of the front and rear of the properties


75 Crompton Street / photographs of the front and rear of the properties


33 Ewart Rd / photographs of the front and rear of the properties


73 Ewart Road / photographs of the front and rear of the properties



Country : Italy
Partner : 
UNIBO (University of Bologna), COBO (Comune di Bologna)
City  :  

Description :
The property which will be retrofitted is owned by COBO (Comune di Bologna) and is occupied by tenants. The property is categorised as ‘social housing’. The property will be retrofitted by COBO.   UNIBO (University of Bologna) has undertaken the modelling required for identifying and justifying the proposed solution and has produced most of this report.

The building is a detached house with 6 apartments. It has an unheated basement (with a boiler room), three floors (with 2 apartments each), and an unheated attic. The roof has 4 pitches, with a slope of about 20 degrees. The orientations of the main pitches are Southeast (37° East of South) and Northwest.

Technologies :
Aerogel or starch micro-porous material for internal insulation of building fabric and surface coating of the exterior; energy efficient lighting; natural ventilation and passive heating/cooling; solar thermal for roof and/or PV panels for facade integration; heat pumps

 Arial Photographs of the location of the house



Views, computer models and plans of the house

“View from Piazza Mickiewicz (North-west side): entrance to the garden”

“View from Via Libia (South-west side)”

“View from Via Mondo (North-east side)”


Country : Portugal
Partner : 
City  :  

Description :
The demonstration building is located in Almada the parish of Caparica. It is included in a large social housing area (361 ha and 13500 inhabitants). The buildings in the area are mainly managed by the National Housing Institute although some are a property and managed by the Municipality of Almada as the one chosen for the HERB project, which is located in Rua dos Três Vales, nº 50, Almada, Setúbal, Portugal It is one of the buildings of an L-shaped block of similar buildings in a total 5 buildings.

The total floor area of the building is 1296 m2 and a conditioned floor area of 804 m2, within the foreseen in the proposal. The specific area of the selected building was only defined after a consultation process with the managing authority and following some selection criteria such as a “stable condominium” that would be prone to accept the intervention, conservation status, intervention planning and potential for renewable installation following the global framework defined in the DoW.

The selected building is placed in between other similar buildings that were built in the mid 90’s. It is a 4 storey building and ground floor in a total of 10 apartments (2 apartments for each level). Each apartment consists of one kitchen, one living room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms (except for two apartments – one located in the ground floor and the other on the 1st floor – that have only two bedrooms).
The overall quality of the building envelope is relatively low, with no insulation and low efficiency single glazed windows. The building is representative of multiapartments buildings built in the 80´s/90´s which comprise a significant share of total housing stock in Portugal, therefore, with a high replication potential.

The main façades are NW/SE oriented, and front elevation is oriented at an angle around 157,5° degrees to SSE. And there is a difference of slope between entrance floor and basement floor.

Technologies :
The DoW details an indicative plan for the integration of technologies in Portugal:

  • Smart Windows and Surface Coating;
  • Energy Efficient Lighting;
  • Natural Ventilation and passive heating/cooling systems or heat pumps for heating and cooling;
  • Solar thermal and/or PV panels.


“photography of the implantation site of the modeled multi storey residential block”


“Aerial photography of the implantation site of the modeled multi storey residential block”


“Main façade of the investigated building.”


“Rear façade of the investigated building”



Country : Greece
Partner : 
UOA (University of Athens)
City  : 

Description :
The property that will be retrofitted in Greece under the HERB project is categorised as “social housing” and is owned and occupied by the tenants. It is a 7 story apartment building occupying an area of 1160m2. The property will be retrofitted by the University of Athens (UOA). UOA has produced this report through undertaking the modelling required for identifying and justifying the proposed solution.

The retrofit is going to be implemented in a seven story building, built in the early 70’s by the Ministry of Social Services, in order to house refugees of Greek nationality. The building is located in the Municipality of Peristeri, a densely built urban area, approximately 7km from the centre of Athens. It consists of two identical semi-detached, 7 storey apartment buildings, one of which has been selected for retrofit in the framework of the HERB project. The building under study has a total area of 1,160 square meters and has 15 apartments, each of which belongs to a different owner. Each apartment has an area of 69 square meters approximately and consists of four main rooms -living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. Only one of the apartments (the one on the ground floor which was intended to be used by the building manager), is different than the others, as it is of much smaller area and different layout. The façade of the building is considered to be the north-east, where the entrance is located. The apartment building is made of reinforced concrete and brick walls, without any insulating material. The windows that were initially implemented had single glazing and wooden frames and most of them were changed to woodenframes. The apartments are heated by a central oil boiler, without having the opportunity to adjust the interior temperature to the desired levels by an individual control. The past year, the central heating has not been used due to the lack of financial resources of the residents. Most apartments are lit by domestic type luminaires, housing incandescent or compact fluorescent lamps. The interventions that some of the owners or tenants have implemented include the installation of air-conditioning units or other heating devices (e.g. portable electric radiators), solar water heaters, awnings, windows with double glazing and roof waterproofing

Technologies :
The Description of Works (DoW) details an indicative plan for the integration of technologies within the Greek Building:

  • Smart windows and surface coating
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Natural ventilation and passive heating/cooling or heat pumps for heating and cooling
  • Solar thermal and/or PV panels

Arial Photographs of the location of the building


‘’ Social building in Peristeri, Greece (large-scale”


“Social building in Peristeri, Greece (small-scale”


Peristeri social building / photographs of the front and rear of the building

“Rear part of the building-SW Elevation”


“Front part of the building-NE Elevation)”


Country : Switzerland
Partner : 
HES-SO (HEIG) – Yverdon-les-Bains
City  :  

Description :
The house that will be modelled is located in Buchillon along the Leman Lake between the cities of Lausanne and Geneva. The building is a three storeys house, which has a floor surface of about 196 m2 and a total wall to exterior surface of about 300 m2. The full version of the survey is available on the appendices of this report. In terms of construction it was renovated a first time in the 70s: an old type insulation (sprayed mix of mortar and EPS) was added on external solid walls and the roof was partly insulated with glass wool. Windows were improved with a second single glazing added in combination with the older one.

Technologies :
The following energy conservation measures were selected for the retrofit of the Swiss property and are proposed:

  • External wall insulation (EWI): combination of vacuum insulated panels (VIP) and polyurethane boards (PUR) or other regular insulation materials.
  • Windows replacement: double glazing low-e on south-east façade and triple glazing on northwest façade.
  • Roof and floor insulation: regular insulation materials (PUR, EPS, mineral wool).
  • Boiler replacement: high efficiency condensing natural gas boiler.
  • Solar thermal system: solar collectors for domestic hot water (DHW) only or for DHW and heating.
  • Phase change materials (PCM): ready-to-install boards in the living room.


“Technologies to be implemented with respect of this plan”



“Location of the Swiss house “


“North West elevation”


“Side elevation”

“South East elevation”


Country : Spain
Partner : 
Onyx     Solar      Energy
City  :  

Description :
Spain building is a private family house  located in a small village in Ávila Region named Gotarrendura. It is situated approximately in the geographical centre of Spanish (coordinates 40º49’32.94’’N / 4º44’19.60’’ W). Gotarrendura is well‐known to be a reference in the bet for sustainability innovation leading the integration of different renewable energy technologies (RES) in the village and implementation of sustainable.

The house represents a typical two‐storey rural construction with a total area of 206 sqm and low‐ceiling height. The building dates from 1963 and, over the years, the house has been refurbished as punctual manner through minor maintenance and operations such as substitution of frame elements and external plastering refurbished which can be appreciated nowadays. However, none of previously mentioned works seem to have direct significant impact on the thermal behaviour  showing a considerable high energy demand (180 kWh/sqm.year) inferring an important limitation of use in terms of energy efficiency and O&M economic costs. Therefore, it is clear that the given existing building is a perfect candidate to face a full retrofitting plan where the integration of smart bioclimatic interventions (proposed in this delivery) could  lead the reduction of the global energy consumption from actual values to 50kWh/sqm/year (excluding appliances). On the other hand, the housing consumption is directly linked to the users. In this case, the house  is inhabited by four‐members family.

Technologies :

  • Multi‐functional Façade
  • Energy Efficient Lighting
  • Natural Ventilation and/or Passive heating/cooling or heat pumps
  • Solar Thermal and/or PV panels


“Location and general information of Spain building”


“South  and North Façades of Spain building”


“Reinforced adobe wall and window close‐up”




Country : Netherlands

Partner :  TNO
City  :  

Description :
Two dwellings will be retrofitted in The Netherlands with a floor area of 144m2 under the HERB project. The two dwellings are privately owned. TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) has performed building simulations to justify the proposed retrofitting measures. The dwellings located in Driebergen–Rijsenburg are based on a two-story semi-detached design. The two dwellings used in the HERB project were constructed between the 1972, and contain households of two people.

Dwelling 1 The semi-detached dwelling is situated in Driebergen-Rijsenburg, in a suburban area. The dwelling has been completed in 1972 and has 3 storeys. Current status:

  • Ground floor 70.5 m2
  • First floor 48.5 m2
  • Second floor 25.7 m2
  • Natural ventilation
  • No heat recovery
  • Improvement: Central heating HR107 (High efficiency boiler)
  • No kitchen boiler
  • There are 2 occupants.

Dwelling 2 The semi-detached dwelling is situated in Driebergen-Rijsenburg, in a suburban area. The dwelling has been completed in 1972 in 1972 and has 3 storeys. Current status:

  • Ground floor 68.8 m2
  • First floor 48.5 m2
  • Second floor 25.7 m
  • Natural ventilation
  • No heat recovery
  • Improvement Central heating HR100 (High efficiency boiler)
  • Kitchen boiler
  • Improvement PV Photovoltaic cells 3.8 m2
  • There are 2 occupants

Technologies :
The retrofitting will include:

  1. Holistic control unit
  2. Floor insulation
  3. Wall insulation
  4. Roof insulation
  5. Air tightness improvement
  6. Automated sunshades
  7. Automated window opener
  8. Demand driven ventilation unit
  9. Air based heat pump
  10. Solar PV panels


“Schematic overview of the retrofit”


“Location of the Dwellings”


“Location of the Dwellings”


“Front and side façade of dwelling 1”


“Front and side façade of dwelling 2”

  • Complex Ltd
  • Lasting Values
  • TNO
  • HTF Stuttgart
  • Comune di Bologna
  • University of Bologna
  • National Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • University of Nottingham
  • Green Evolution
  • asra
  • iperbole
  • ONYX Solar
  • Kingspan
  • PCM