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Social Housing organisations and European professionals Linked and acting together for Testing and promoting professionals coordination in Energy Renovations (SHELTER)

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The social housing sector faces a significant challenge. Housing operators have to implement energy renovations, but have difficulties in implementing them with the professionals on their portfolio. It is observed that without the necessary knowledge: 1) Renovation to strict standards can take longer and be twice as expensive as normal 2) Professionals (architects, consultants, engineers, installers, builders, etc.) don't have enough knowledge of energy aspects 3) They are not used to working together in a co-ordinated manner. This leads to unnecessary difficulties during the construction, when it is too late to easily make changes and many delivered buildings don’t reach the expected energy performance. SHELTER starts from the current situation: the lack of coordination of professionals as the main obstacle to reach high efficiency in buildings and the ineffective use of information and tools available. The integrated design approach is applied, thus changing the way different professions work together along the supply chain. In SHELTER this approach is analysed in the frame of the renovation programmes of social housing operators in 5 countries and applied in practice.


  • - 537 dwellings refurbished. - 238 toe energy savings (5 578 MWh saved). - Between 300.000 and 500.000 EUR savings per year. - Time savings – 20% at tendering, 50% design and 30% works.
  • Analysis of the contractual models between Social Housing Organisations (SHO) and the members of the construction team (e.g. architect, building services engineer, main contractor, sub-contractors, etc.). This has resulted in specific guidelines for the integrated renovation of social housing buildings (SHELTER Guide to Renovate). The guidelines include information of the use of alternative contractual models.
  • Operational application of the new models of cooperation in pilot sites by the 6 social housing organizations. The lessons learnt, as well as the results, are available in the report for each case study.
  • Recommendations to public authorities for improving the legislative framework and the financial incentives system at European level, adapted at national and local level for the countries participating to the Shelter project.
  • Links to existing discussion and experience exchange networks such as PowerHouse and BuildUp to encourage replication and benefit from returns of experience throughout Europe.

Lessons learned

  • Dwelling renovation in social housing is shaped by national social housing policies, energy regulations and market regulations. However, so far, energy efficiency is not a key aspect of the building stock renovation in most of the countries analyzed. Moreover, few countries have settled the evaluation of the energy performance of the building stock as a current practice. Finally, collaborative approach on energy renovation of social housing is not a general practice.
  • Shelter has identified three main delivery methods for renovation: Step-by-step renovation, Design-bid-Build, and Design-Build-Maintain. The latter is an integrated delivery method particularly adapted to projects with high energy performance ambitions and high investment capacity at a time.
  • Shelter has identified 12 options that SHO should take into consideration when implementing an energy renovation project. These options need to be to be evaluated at each step of the renovation process: strategy, tendering and contracting, design, construction and maintenance

Partners and coordinator

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SA D'HLM Logement et Gestion Immobilière pour la Région Parisienne.
Contact point: 
Mr Pierre Touya


In brief

31/05/2010 to 30/05/2013
Contract number: 

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