Testing innovative technologies for Energy-Efficiency: Coventry University as a Living Lab

Abdullahi Ahmed, Danny McGough, Monica Mateo Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
136 Downloads (Pure)


Retrofitting Solutions and Services for the enhancement of Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings (RESSEEPE) is an EU funded project which aims to bring together design and decision making tools, innovative building fabric manufacturers and a programme to demonstrate the improved building performance achievable through the retrofit of existing buildings at a district level. The RESSEEPE framework is being validated by a strong demonstration programme, envisaging the renovation of 102,000 square metres of public buildings. The core idea of the project is to technologically advance, adapt, demonstrate and assess a number of innovative retrofit technologies implemented on several pilot cases with different climate conditions across Europe (Coventry-UK, Barcelona-Spain and Skellefteå-Sweden) to ensure a high potential replication of the retrofit solutions. The three demonstration sites are involved as the main promoters of a very ambitious district level renovation, demonstrating a systemic approach to technology installation and evaluation, taking into account the benefits of a set of technologies, which properly combined in terms of cost effectiveness and energy performance could achieve reductions around 50% in terms of energy consumption. Coventry University is acting as a Living Lab in order to test some advanced technologies already in the market and others developed specifically within the RESSEEPE project. Those innovative technologies implemented in the pilot case are: Vacuum Insulated Panels, PCM tubes, Ventilated façade with Photovoltaic Panels, Electrochromic windows and Aerogel Mortar. The main feature of this installation is that it acts as a testing bed for where to install different advanced technologies covering specific areas of the building, rather than refurbishing it as a whole. This paper documents the testing of prototype technologies in a pilot case in Coventry University, analysing the process of selection of the different technologies and showing all the challenges faced during installation and coordination of installation activities. The installation process is shown and discussed, highlighting the difficulties, setbacks and challenges faced during the low carbon refurbishment. The key issues are related to technical and health and safety risks. Also, to financial, coordination, planning and legislation barriers etc. It will also show ways forward and solutions adopted. The study also analyses the process of monitoring the energy performance of the spaces retrofitted and the data obtained through the monitoring of the building before and after the installation of the different technologies. The idea behind the Living Lab pilot case is to monitor the performance of those installations in isolation in order to obtain results which allow us to make conclusions about the replicability of the technologies selected in other locations. Ultimately, what is discussed is the overall process followed. This discussion seeks to show the lessons learnt throughout the process and to obtain conclusions from the barriers and engagement issues faced during the installation when retrofitting a public building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-270
Number of pages13
JournalEntrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017


  • Low-Energy Retrofit
  • living lab
  • public buildings
  • stakeholder engagement
  • performance modelling and monitoring


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