The ExcEED database for buildings of the future features Casa Hoval

Dec. 18, 2018

Short story

The ExcEED project (European Energy Efficient building district Database) is funded by the European Commission and aims at collecting data coming from new, modern and energy efficient buildings (such as energy performance, CO2 emissions, etc. )

This data will be gathered and stored into the ExcEED database. Through the data collected the buildings´ performance will be evaluated.  Furthermore, the database will support users to better design energy efficient buildings and define innovative building construction policies.

Before the official launch of the database to possible external users or stakeholders, a new energy efficient building was used as demonstration case to test the functionalities of the ExcEED database. The building is called Casa Hoval, was built in 2014 and is located in Zanica, Lombardia, in the north of Italy. It is a nearly-Zero Energy Building, meaning that its consumption of energy is really low, close to zero.

Casa Hoval is divided in two blocks: an office block facing north and a storehouse block facing south. The latter will not be considered in this project. The linear north façade embeds a distinctive red cubic element, where a training room is located. This room is made as a climatic area in which trainees can experience several different thermal conditions.

The structure of the two blocks of the building are made with different materials. The warehouse has a steel structure with steel columns and wood beams on the top. The office block, for anti-seismic reasons, has a lift shaft and one of the external walls in concrete, the pillars and beams in steel, and the floor is made of trapezoidal metal sheets.

Casa Hoval energy need is of only 24kWh/m²a, three times less than a traditional building of the same size (68kWh/m² a), because the way it is built and the installed systems allows for no, or little energy waste, leading to such a low amount of energy used. As its energy consumption is extremely low, the CO2 emissions are also very low: Casa Hoval produces only 4kg/m² a per year, half of a traditional building with a gas boiler (8kg/m² a).

The Hoval building got the certification of CasaClima Class A, promoting the adoption of building construction methods that meet energy saving and environment protection criteria, considering also the health of the people inside the building.

To qualify for this certification, a building must have its heating energy consumption under 50 kWh/m²a, fuelled by renewable energy sources, must use environmentally-friendly, non-health-damaging building materials and it must include at least one of the following measures: a photovoltaic system, solar panels for water heating and/or integrated with heating system, rainwater usage, green roof. Casa Hoval has a heating energy requirement under 30 kWh/m²a, it is built with materials compliant with the energy certification and it uses solar panels for both electricity and hot water.

The heating and cooling system mainly ensures thermal comfort to the occupants of the building. To provide electricity, it has 84 photovoltaic solar panels made of monocrystalline silicon; to produce hot water, it has 3 thermal solar panels, 3 heat-pumps and 1 biomass heat generator mainly used for heating supply. When energy requirements are too high, for example when it’s too cold outside, there is a gas boiler used as back-up.

In order to make air circulate uniformly and avoid humidity and condensation, Casa Hoval is provided with a distribution system and mechanical ventilation, consisting of one blower for recirculation of air in the warehouse, radiators for heating, radiant ceilings, fan coils and ventilation units for heat and humidity recovery. This system also ensures that the air is always fresh and clean.

Last but not least, Casa Hoval has a monitoring system allowing for measurement and transfer of the data coming from the building to the ExcEED database. The measurement makes sure that everything is working properly. Before the start of the EU project ExcEED, Casa Hoval had sensors to measure temperature, humidity and offline plant alarms and statistics. After the start of ExcEED, in 2017, new sensors were installed and the existing ones improved: the building has now 11 sensors to measure temperature humidity and CO2, 7 energy meters and 5 sensors to check luminosity and presence, all of them providing live data. In addition, the offline plant alarms and analytics are now online, giving the possibility of transferring and reporting data, real-time analysis and trend analytics, fundamental for the transfer into the future ExcEED database.

Casa Hoval is an example of a building of the future, ensuring a healthy environment responding to the needs of the occupants. Can you imagine having all these future-proof buildings in one database? Can you imagine to be able to check their functioning, and to adapt future designs with the statistics coming from the database to have better buildings, consuming less energy and therefore being less costly? Now you can turn this imagination into reality thanks to ExcEED!

Stay tuned and get ready to discover the ExcEED database!

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European UnionThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723858. Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for the content of this material lies with the authors. It does not necessarily represent the views of the European Union, and neither EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use of this material.

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