New project to push use of renewable energy in public buildings

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A new project to support innovative and cost-effective energy rehabilitation in public buildings has received more than €2.8 million in funding, the University of Cyprus announced on Friday.

The project, which brings together four countries – Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Italy – is being coordinated by the University of Cyprus’ Foss research centre.

During the next three years, it aims to improve the penetration of renewable energy resources in public buildings, focusing on photovoltaics, and better battery storage in particular. The buildings will be turned into smart and resilient ‘nano-grids’ using storage.

“We cannot solve the problem without solving the grid solution and that means improving battery storage,” coordinator and director of the Foss research centre George Georgiou said at the press conference for the launch. “But not only that, we have to look at the demand-side of management, we have to turn people into active consumers.”

As a start, the project aims to demonstrate to students at six schools and universities in the four countries that it is possible to create self-sufficient public buildings which are greener, smarter, more innovative and sustainable.

“We will try to demonstrate that it works. It is important that there are occupants of the buildings, the students who will be trained,” Georgiou said.

The project partners will also show what can be done to policy makers, regulators, the private sector and the public “to show they can take their fate into their own hands”. The emphasis is on showing and demonstrating rather than just talking.

The project aspires to foster replication in other Mediterranean/EU regions and to enhance interest and capacity of public authorities.

It is hoped it will also boost the competitiveness of small and medium sized businesses and attract professionals to train in new innovations for highly efficient buildings, and boost business and job opportunities in building retrofitting.

The initiative, one of the largest project in the EU, is aimed at enhancing cooperation of countries which have common problems and can find common solutions for the benefit of Mediterranean countries, coordinator of the ENI CBC Med Programme which funds 90 per cent of the initiative Esmat AlKaradsheh explained.

The Israeli ambassador to Cyprus Shmuel Revel also spoke at the kick-off meeting, saying that the topic of climate change is on top of the agenda at tripartite meetings between Cyprus, Israel and Greece and it is hoped that in future more countries in the region, for example Jordan, will cooperate.

“One thing is for sure, one country cannot achieve a solution alone,” he said.

The lead beneficiary is the University of Cyprus. Partners are the Technological Research Centre of Western Macedonia in Greece, the municipality of Eilat, the Hevel Eilot regional council and the Ben Gurion University in Israel, the University of Cagliary in Italy and Deloitte Limited in Cyprus.

For more information on the ‘Cost-effective rehabilitation of public buildings into smart and resilient nano-grids using storage’ (Acronym: BERLIN), contact Professor George Georgiou at 22-892272 or navigate to the project webpage http://www.einicbcmed.eu/projects/berlin