Novel methods for energy efficiency in buildings: Horizon 2020 IMPRESS project

Despite the efforts dedicated and the measures implemented to improve and achieve a more sustainable European building sector, it seems like not enough has been done to meet the energy and climate goals established by the EU.

There is evidence that the new buildings are not a potential market anymore. As a consequence, existing buildings have become the main target due to the fact that through their renovation, a large amount of energy savings could potentially be obtained. A really ambitious and idyllic target could be to achieve that the entire European building stock comprises Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) by 2050.

Therefore, the EU is taking on this renovation challenge, considering 2016 as “key year for policy development” in building renovation. During this year, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy (DG Energy) is carrying out a review process of two of the most important pieces of legislation related to building renovation, the Directives on Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD)1 and on Energy Efficiency (EED)2.

Besides, further research and demonstration efforts are necessary in various domains relating to building renovation. Hence the action is being taken by research and innovation projects using the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) and 7th Framework Programme (FP7) funds and, more recently, the Horizon 2020 programme, as well as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

IMPRESS is one of the ongoing projects where Geonardo is participating, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme that aims to develop new technologies and techniques to improve energy efficiency in buildings constructed between 1950 and 1975. IMPRESS will develop a new range of easy to install panels, which reduce energy demand while preserving or improving the building aesthetics.

During the project, two demonstration sites are used to assess three new different prefabricated panels. On April 5th, the Geonardo team travelled to one of the sites in Drobeta Turnu Severin (Romania) to meet IMPRESS partners. Moreover, some tests were performed in order to understand the current status of the demo building in terms of energy efficiency. These tests consisted of the placement of some data loggers to monitor the building climate conditions, a thermal imaging and a 3D scanning of the building.


The 3D scanning was performed by Geonardo. This scanning provides a 3D digital representation of a specific object, in this case a building, through a collected data called ‘point cloud’. The point cloud will be used to build a 3D model that will form the basis of a BIM (Building Information Model).

Point Cloud of the demo site in Drobeta Turnu Severin (Romania)

Without doubt, it is really interesting to be able to reproduce, in such accurate manner, a real object. Especially when you are dealing with old buildings in which, in most of the cases, the original appearance of the façade could be protected and needs to be kept.

1 Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings

2 Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency


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