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Improving the energy performance of step-by-step refurbishment and integration of renewable energies (EUROPHIT)

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Buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of total energy consumption in the EU, most of which goes towards heating. Refurbishment, when done right, can reduce energy use by a factor 10 and can thus not be ignored.With 290 million buildings in need of energy retrofits in the EU, many will require deep retrofitting if the EU's 2020 objectives are to be fulfilled. Such retrofits can either be done all in one go or incrementally in a step-by-step manner.Significant reductions in energy consumption and costs have been demonstrated in many successfully completed one-shot retrofits. Partial refurbishments, however, without overall plans tailored to individual buildings, may clash with later necessary measures. Inadequate improvement of parts of a building may thus result in an end to further improvements (lock-in effect).The EuroPHit project aims to significantly increase the quality and energy efficiency of step-by-step refurbishments throughout the EU by developing a comprehensive and integrated methodology, implementing uniform quality assurance of both design and construction, encouraging implementation by key actors and fostering knowledge dissemination through new and existing project networks.


  • Creation of certification criteria, a balancing tool, a handbook and training module syllabi for designers and craftsmen on the topic of step-by-step energy retrofits including renewable energy sources;
  • Provision of full step by step refurbishment plans for 10 case studies in 8 countries, and implementation of the first step in each plan for the 10 pilot sites;
  • Training for designers and craftsmen on step-by-step refurbishments and deep energy retrofits as well as documentation of findings from successful case studies in the form of reports, recommendations, videos or product lists;
  • Creation of demand for highly efficient refurbishment through an integrative market deployment programme including attractive financial solutions as well as one-stop-shop solutions;
  • Product evaluation as well as the development of design concepts and scientifically validated guidelines for Passive House suitable components with a special focus on step-by-step refurbishments and the integration of renewable energies.

Lessons learned

  • The range of step-by-step refurbishments in the project varies from a) modernisation of single components for a whole building, b) complete modernisation of whole building parts, c) partial modernisation of building parts according to the existing components life cycle and d) modernisation of building assemblies by combining several small buildings into a bigger, much more compact and thereby more efficient building concept.
  • In most countries there is no concept or awareness for the requirement of setting up quality assured concepts for step-by-step refurbishments. The participation of the project at a German competition aiming to showcase such concepts awarded the EuroPHit project as winner of the competition on the one side and detected the lack of existing long term procedures on the other side.
  • It seems there is quite different approach to refurbishing buildings between European countries. Whereas it is assumed that the bigger part of all refurbishments is carried out as refurbishment steps, according to component life cycle and due to available budget. Especially in poorer countries the lack of budget seems to lead to building use that is exceeding the components life cycle and more or less allow only one-shot retrofits when the buildings have to be renovated completely. The necessity to elaborate criteria and concepts for stepwise refurbishments thereby is comprehended differently in the partner countries
  • For further information visit the project webpage

Partners and coordinator

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PassiveHouse Institute
Contact point: 
Mrs Marianne Fujara
Jan Steiger
+49 (0) 6151 8269 99-47


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In brief

01/04/2013 to 31/03/2016
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