Past and running projects on Add-ons. Challenges & opportunities (ABRACADABRA report)

Building retrofitting Energy efficiency Deep renovation Zero energy building Italy Norway Romania Greece Netherlands

Europe’s energy efficiency challenge in buildings mainly concerns the energy efficient refurbishment and investments in its existing buildings. Yet, today, only 1,2% of Europe’s existing buildings is renovated every year.

The actual investment gap in the deep renovation sector is due to the fact that high investments are required up-front and they are generally characterized by an excessively high degree of risk, by long payback times and by the general “invisibility of the energy benefit”. It is therefore necessary to develop harmonized, concerted and innovative solutions to unlock the needed public and private funds, fill the energy efficiency investment gap and ultimately contribute to boost the construction market and create new jobs.

ABRACADABRA is based on the prior assumption that substantial increase in the real estate value of the existing buildings can play a key role in the deep renovation. The project’s ambition aims at:

  • reducing the pay back time of the energy retrofit interventions;
  • strengthening of the key investors’ confidence;
  • increasing quality and attractiveness of the existing buildings’ stock and,
  • boosting market acceleration towards the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings target.

Therefore, ABRACADABRA ambition is to demonstrate to the key stakeholders and financial investors the attractiveness of a new renovation strategy based on volumetric Add-ons and Renewables Energy Sources (AdoRES) intended as one (or a set of) Assistant Building unit(s) - like aside or façade addictions, rooftop extensions or even an entire new building construction - that “adopt” the existing buildings (the Assisted Buildings) to achieve nearly zero energy.

The creation of AdoRES aims at reducing the initial investment allocated for the deep renovation of the existing building creating an up-grading synergy between old and new. The ABRA strategy may result in the implementation of a punctual densification policy within the built yet transformable parts and areas of the cities. In this context, ABRA’s objective is to provoke a legislative and market change accelerating the revolution towards nearly Zero Energy in existing buildings.

The first round of National Meetings was held in the different target regions (Italy - IT, Norway - NO, Latvia - LV, Bulgaria - BG, Romania - RO, Greece - GR, The Netherlands - NL) and followed by the first International Workshop in Bologna, aimed at defining the existing barriers together with the challenges and opportunities of the proposed volumetric addition strategy by involving directly the main stakeholders (research bodies, public administrations, private owners, coop, professionals, construction companies, ESCOs, banks and financial institutions).

Moreover, a list of best practice has been studied and several examples of the strategy as instruments to foster the deep renovation in buildings have been presented and shared amongst the partners to build a substantial ground for the implementation of the ABRACADABRA project.


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