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Built4People is a European partnership that brings together the European Commission and two leading associations–the European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP) and WorldGBC—that together represent thousands of stakeholders across the built environment. It is part of Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy, and Mobility) of Horizon Europe, which is the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation with nearly €100 billion for the 2021-2027 period. The partnership’s key priorities were mutually set by all three entities, with the goal of catalysing the transition to a people-centric, climate-neutral, sustainable, and smart built environment (built environment refers to all aspects of buildings, e.g. renovations, energy efficiency, circular economy, digital solutions and the user aspect).

The Horizon Europe programme is impact-driven and based on excellence and collaboration.

Over seven years, the Built4People partnership will channel nearly €400 million of EU funding to innovation in the building sector and leverage an equivalent amount of private investment. Innovation in the built environment will help to deliver on the European Green Deal, the Renovation Wave as well as align the sector with the aims of the New European Bauhaus initiative.

RDI Support at Luxinnovation

During the Luxinnovation workshop, Sanna Alaranta, Senior Advisor EU RDI Support at Luxinnovation underlined the role of the national innovation agency as the central contact point for Luxembourg companies and applicants for Horizon Europe. Luxinnovation helps to identify other suitable opportunities and partners and provides technical support.

“The Horizon Europe programme is impact-driven and based on excellence and collaboration. Besides funding, it helps participants develop their expertise, visibility, credibility, and networks. It also helps to position companies as innovation leaders,” explained Ms Alaranta. “Buitl4People is a timely topic for Luxembourg and Europe,” she continued, “as the Green Deal pushes the construction sector and the built environment as a whole towards zero emissions through energy efficiency, circular economy, and digital solutions. It also contributes to the New European Bauhaus initiative, which connects engineering and technology with arts and culture while emphasising people-centered values such as aesthetics and inclusion.”

Boosting innovation and strategic research

Alain Zarli, Secretary General of the ECTP, introduced the Built4People partnership. ECTP is an association that represents the interests of industry, SMEs, research organisations, and public institutions within the Built4People partnership. It represents 150 member organisations from construction and other related supply chain sectors of the built environment. Its primary objective is to develop novel R&D and innovation strategies to boost competitiveness, meet societal needs, and tackle environmental issues.

Addressing global environmental, economic and social challenges at multi-national scale and EU-wide, helps to build credible visions and roadmaps.

“Some of the major reasons our members join the ECTP network are to influence innovation and strategic research, gain access to key knowledge, resources, and expertise, and discover opportunities for networking, training, and development,” explained Mr Zarli. The success rate of ECTP members in Horizon Europe are generally higher than that of non-members.

Opportunities for Luxembourg companies

Lead Research and Technology Associate and board member of Built4People, Dr Sylvain Kubicki, presented the funding prospects and priorities for 2023 to 2024 and encouraged Luxembourg organisations to join consortiums.

“There are several opportunities for private stakeholders, such as developers, architects and engineers, construction companies and consultants. Public actors like municipalities and public-owned institutes, building technology developers, IT companies, and those active in innovation support, in academia and research can also get benefit from the programme.” said Dr Kubicki.

Expertise and complementarity with European funding

Dr Kubicki also highlighted the need for access to demonstration sites. “Addressing global environmental, economic and social challenges at multi-national scale and EU-wide, helps to build credible visions and roadmaps,” he explained, while underling the central role of the Societe National des Habitations Bon Marche (SNHBM), a key player in the Luxembourg housing market.

Horizon projects teams often involve a broad network of stakeholders with various background, skills and methods, which help teams to gain insights on construction and real-estate innovations. Project teams also leverage technological building innovations and digital tools, preparing actors from the field, like SNHBM, to apply these innovations in the future.

European financing also complements previously acquired building budgets, allowing for investments and trials on real construction projects. Horizon Europe, for example, helps national construction sectors remain competitive by facilitating the deployment and market penetration of technologies enabled by the initiatives, which are often developed by SMEs.

FORTESIE: shining example of European Dynamics

“So far, European Dynamics has been the only Luxembourg organisation to coordinate a Built4People-funded project,” explains Anastasia Garbi, Head of R&D at European Dynamics, referring to the FORTESIE – Smart Performance Contracts for Efficiency, Sustainable, Inclusive, Energy Use project.

“The overall vision of the project is to design, demonstrate, validate and replicate innovative renovations in the building industry with smart performance-based guarantees and financing aimed at accelerating the wave of renovations in Europe to drive energy efficiency in the sector,” she added.

The project has a total budget of €9.5 million and 26 partners from 11 countries. It will deliver on innovative renovation packages in 5 different building types, such as household and public buildings like schools, museums, and a public swimming pool.

Photo: Luxinnovation

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