Locosoc - Low energy and low cost social housing for an enlarged Europe

Despite the fact that stringent energy use criteria for residential construction are being implemented in all the EU states and the candidate countries (building regulations, Buildings Directive), aspects such as renewable energy sources or energy efficiency remain neglected in social housing construction.
For instance, the classic investor-user dilemma and generally low awareness on the part of project developers/ planners/ decision-makers are only a few examples of aspects that often obstruct innovative residential construction projects.
In the EU countries, and in particular in Austria, there are nevertheless a number of exemplary projects and extensive know-how in the field of integrated architecture/planning and the application of innovational energy technologies in multi-storey residential buildings.

LOCOSOC is a European project co-financed by the EU’s SAVE programme.
The aim of the project is to strengthen the integration of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures (EE) in social housing construction, and to highlight approaches which allow the implementation of innovative strategies both in new construction and refurbishment, entailing considerably lower costs for the residents in the long run, while causing only negligible increases in costs during realization. Such strategies, and years of experience in applying them, have already been established.
However, there remains great potential for implementing such strategies in our own countries, as well as for transmitting this know-how to the future EU members, as these countries can expect an enormous demand for residential retrofitting (e.g. panel buildings) in the coming years.

From the Austrian viewpoint, the project is particulary interesting due to the following objectives:

Evaluation of the status quo on the housing market and pinpointing of potentials for EE in the various CEECs which are important markets for Austrian technologies and services
Know-how transfer in the field of (renewable) energy technologies and architecture/planning services from Austria to the CEECs
Awareness-raising among project developers, housing cooperatives, planners on both sides
Preparation and implementation of innovative pilot projects in the CEECs using Austrian know-how

The following results can be expected of the project:

Comprehensive country reports on the housing situation and energy aspects
Definition of frameworks (potentials/barriers) for the implementation of EE measures in social housing
Elaboration of 3 feasibility studies for low-energy housing projects in CEECs with Austrian cooperation and preparation for concrete realization
Development of a handbook for national and regional decision-makers with concrete recommendations/instructions for the development of low-energy housing projects
Development of training modules in the participating CEECs to raise awareness and know-how among political decision-makers and authorities

The project is subdivided into the following phases:

1. Analysis of the housing industry and existing barriers in 7 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia)
2. Quantifying the potentials and technical solutions
3. Handbook for decision-makers and training programmes
4. Development and presentation of an action plan
5. Identification and realization of pilot projects (feasibility studies)
6. Information spread and awareness-building