Build a new Energy Renovation Strategy around the Mediterranean

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Innovation and local enterprises



Experimentation 3.1 - Development of EE building thermal components based on fiber wood and cork used for retrofit building envelopes

Description :

Obtaining a technical solution for improved energy efficiency is in the context of the Mediterranean climate, through the use of regional renewable materials that are readily available, not involving an environmental imbalance, strengthen the supply chain area and improved use of Catalan wood. Therefore, it has identified the wood fibres and cork as regional renewable materials with high thermal performance, with better indoor comfort and good user perception.

The responsible for this experimentation will be The Catalan Institute of Wood (INCAFUST). It has the aims to promote and develop wood acknowledgments material and to improve the competitiveness, innovation and productivity of regional timber industry. INCAFUST will be responsible to identify, assess and recommend appropriate building system to the regional context in relation to the environment as existing construction conditions.

This experimentation tries to identify the best building systems available with renewable materials for improving the energy efficiency of the building envelope, and to define a technical proposal to use these systems in the pilot project MARIE, as well as others projects.

Objective :

The goal is to improve the energy efficiency of the Mediterranean Building Stock by using fiberboard of regional, natural, and renewable materials i.e. cork , cellulose or wood fiber in a innovative building construction system.

Following this goal, the main objectives of the corresponding pilot activity are:

1. Obtaining an innovative construction system based on panels of wood and cork insulation for energy rehabilitation of envelope.

2. Define the requirements for the implementation of the construction system.

3. Assessment and performance of isolation system

4. Evaluation and consolidation of results into final recommendation.


5. Life cycle assessment and definition of durability of building systems.

Tools/Methods :

In order to get technical specification and the final recommendations, this experiemntation will have different tasks related to theoretical activities, field studies and laboratory tests. The first task is to identify the most relevant types of building construction in the region of Catalonia, necessary to improve the thermal envelope. Subsequently define the state-of-the-art related to the subject by search more notable and recent scientific articles in index journals. On the other side will be necessary to know the factory prefabricated timber systems both local, and the most advanced Central European to learn from its experience in this field. Then identify the requirements to be satisfied by the manufacture of products such as building standards to be complied by the construction system.

Wooden fibreboards will be used as a thermal and acoustic isolation in external walls of buildings to refurbishment. The isolation performance of this product should be excellent and with sustainable feature as well. Excellent option to apply the insulation based on wood products in buildings (publics and private) that will be retrofit.


Experimentation 3.2 - Regional support strategy to increase quality and innovation of technological products for EE in buildings

Description :

In line with the requirements of the current Directive on Public Procurement, in the EU the evaluation of public tenders is generally based on just two elements, the minimal technical requirements and the economic value of the offer. This kind of approach often gives a wrong information on the real price of the supply, forgetting all the maintenance costs generated by the use of the product chosen in the tender, and in this way misrepresenting the real convenience of the offer in the long time.

To correct this kind of approach in the field of the energy efficiency in buildings, in the last few years a new kind of evaluation derived from the established Life Cycle Analysis, known as Life Cycle Costing (LCC), has started to be used. This methodology allows the evaluation of the operation costs, and not only the installation costs, in order to guarantee a better knowledge of the whole economic process. Even if still not compulsory, this kind of methodology is currently in discussion in the process of adoption of the new Directive on Public Procurement, to help public administration in the ongoing process of “buy better”. In the same time, if adopted, this approach would help the market competitiveness of the most promising and innovative technologies.

The LCC is just a sort of excerpt from an even more complicated and integrate approach, known as Whole Life Cycle Cost (WLCC), which includes not only all the operating costs, but also the costs linked to the end-of-life and disposal costs.

Some EU countries (Scotland, Scandinavia, some German and French Regions) have already started to adopt simplified LCC methods, for instance including only the evaluation of the costs linked to all the thermal generation systems, or the distribution of heat and electricity in buildings. The aim of this choice is strategic: they want to introduce gradually this methodology in a traditionally “conservative” market, such as the building sector, helping the private stakeholders to become experts of these new ways of public tenders before the full introduction of the complete WLCC method (when final methodologies are defined and agreed).

The experimentation on the products will thus centre on this kind of new Public Procurement approach, on one side helping the Regional Administration in the adoption of new methodologies for procurement, on the other side helping the local SMEs of the building sector in providing technologies able to be considered in this kind of procurement.

Objectif :



  1. Test de la méthodologie LCC dans les procédures de passation des marchés publics ;
  2. Enquête sur l'évolution des mesures et des politiques au niveau régional, national et européen;3. Utilisation de l'ACV pour la qualification des produits offerts par les PME locales du secteur;
  3. Mise à jour de la liste des prix de la construction d'offres publiques régionales avec des concepts LCC et LCA;
  4. Tests en conditions réelles de produits innovants pour le secteur du bâtiment.

Outils/Méthodes :

The general objective is the implementation at Regional level of a support strategy devoted to local SMEs working in the building sector, in order to increase the quality and innovation of their technological products, harmonized with the adoption by Regional government of public procurement schemes focused on the quality of building products and components.

To reach this kind of goals, the experimentation will have different objectives, each one corresponding to a specific task:

Task 1 : LCC methodology in PP procedures

Definition and creation of a software destined to the Regional Administration for the evaluation of the LCC in case of public tenders regarding retrofitting or construction of buildings, limited to thermal and electric systems. The software will be obviously based on the current acts defining the required technical performances of buildings, both at National and at Regional level (D. lgs. 192/05 and modifications, DGR 4.8.2010 n. 46-11968).

Task 2 : Information on the evolution of measures and policies at regional, National and European level

The aim of this part of the Pilot Action is to inform local companies about the new instruments currently under development for Public Procurement schemes, in order to help them readjust their offer.

In this phase, it is foreseen the organization of 6 (two per year) thematic meetings with the local companies, on the following subjects :

  • Introduction of the LCC methodology in the Public Procurement schemes;

  • Evolution of the systems for the environmental and energy assessment;

  • New EU Directives on energy efficiency and Public Procurement;

  • LCA methodologies for the qualification of products;

  • the new catalogue of prices for Regional public tenders in the building sector;

  • the introduction of a Regional Legislative and Financial Measures Program (LEFIMP), a program of support measures possibly integrated by the results of the applications of LCC method;

Task 3 : use of the LCA for the qualification of the products offered by local SMEs of the building sector

The object of this part of the Pilot Action is thus to begin an activity of support to the diffusion between Regional enterprises of the use of LCA methodologies to qualify their products. This methodology, besides, could be used in the future to define some basic criteria for the definition of a local “best practice” that could be developed in financial support actions to local SMEs.

Task 4 : Definition of a new catalogue of prices for Regional public tenders in the building sector

Activities will thus be the following:

  • Definition, in accordance with the interested Regional departments, of a new structure for the Regional catalogue of prices taking in account of LCA and LCC criteria inside product qualification. In this initial phase LCA and LCC product assessment will be introduced in form of annex of the pricelist, with the aim to test the procedure and develop a methodology for full introduction of LCA and LCC evaluation to full Regional Pricelist items;
  • Update of the Regional pricelist including innovative products and solutions, in particular outcomes of supply side Regional Benchmarking Analysis;

  • Inclusion in the new national database of the ITACA association of products coming from Piedmont Region enterprises qualified by LCA procedures.

Experimentation 3.3 -Development of business services for local SME to push and pull the energy renovation market in Med regions

Development of business services for local SMEs on two local Mediterranean territories : Pays Dignois and Frejus town The pilot action is deeply rooted in a founding paradigm which states that :

  • faced with the energy and climate issues and the complexity of the energy market for private homeowners, no public or private actor alone has the capacity to boost the market for ambitious energy renovations ;
  • drastically developing the EE renovations rate requires a major cultural shift of both demand (consumers) and offer (SMEs, artisans) but more generally of many other influential actors ;
  • this cultural shift may be better started by considering consumers' and SMEs' habits (business as usual) and working on gradually changing them ; more specifically, aiming at embedding EE in any kind of renovation works, rather than focusing on shear EE renovations is considered more effective ;
  • while efficient EE renovations need global planning, they may be implemented "step by step" provided that the works which are done first don't alter the possibility for later improvements.

The pilot action was tailored so as to to set up on conditions to boost the energy efficiency market, on a local territory, with a twofold strategy :

  • a push strategy : inciting SMEs to generate and supply local demand for energy efficiency through support measures addressing their needs (existing and new ones if necessary). That strategy seeked to develop an effective offer to help SMEs choose, among existing support measures and services, those most adapted to their own strategic goals and specific needs. New support measures for needs not fulfilled yet were developed and tested.
  • a pull strategy, to boost local demand through innovative communication actions. These actions were designed so as to stick to users' actual motivations and embed EE in any kind of renovation project.

Two areas have been selected for this pilot action, on the basis of their characteristics which are representative of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur main issues regarding EE renovation (rural vs. urban, individual vs. collective...) :

  • Pays Dignois, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04) ;
  • town of Fréjus, in the Var (83).

The pilot action, called Rénover+, allowed a large range of actions aiming at modifying the dynamics of the energy renovation market by creating more links between all kinds of actors : private homeowners, professionals, institutions, politicians, etc.

The operation has been designed in a spirit of "coopetition", especially between private actors. On a emerging and growing market (like that of EE renovation), the most effective strategy states that all actors should contribute to the growth of the market rather than compete for meagre market shares. Each private actor is thus encouraged to identify its priority targets, develop and test new offers and partnerships, contribute to a common communication effort.

Main implementation steps regarding SMEs support actions within pilot

  • Identify, mobilize, invite, activate and coordinate public and private actors developing specific support measures for SMEs related to the EE market ;
  • Develop the awareness of these existing measures and actions among SMEs, help them identify and choose those most adapted to their concerns and own strategy ; complement the existing support measures where and when necessary ; stimulate networking ;
  • Stimulate the energy renovation demand using both push and pull strategies.

Ground work in both Pays dignois and Frejus

In each pilot site, the action plan has been implemented by two field managers, working hand in had, one mostly devoted to actions on demand, and the other to actions towards SMEs.

The Skilled Crafts Chamber, of respectively the Alpes de Haute-Provence and Var, devoted two business development managers to the pilot. They were in contact, on a daily basis, with the building SMEs and their usual interlocutors : wholesalers, building materials merchants, contractors, trainers, professional organizations, etc.

Two territorial project managers respectively in Pays Dignois and in Fréjus were responsible for actions aimed at informing, directing and stimulating homeowners and mobilising the partners likely to take part in such actions, with various advisory locations, estate agents, asset managers and solicitors, banks, etc. Actions on demand were undertaken either directly or via local facilitators (EE information Agency, Agency for improvement of housing dealing specifically with social issues etc.). 

Working in close collaboration and acting as privileged interlocutors for all partners in the scheme, they strived to facilitate convergences, encourage possible cooperation and find concrete solutions to the problems encountered.

At any time, the current partners but also the stakeholders and organisations wishing to join the scheme could get in touch with them to propose actions, seek forms of cooperation and contribute with their ideas and suggestions.

During the pilot, both territories worked closely together and shared best practices ; regular meetings including regional supervisors and consultants, have been organized.

Actual actions and results :

  • Renover+ website
  • A long preparatory stage involving numerous contacts with professionals and businesses  
  • Press relations (around thirty press articles on Rénover +)
  • Specific tools to support the professionals (A protocole of renovation called 123 réno; Training)