International cooperation

Article April 2020

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International vibes

Anneloes Krone, project-assistant for INDU-ZERO, gives us a short insight into her experience with the international cooperation of the project: “I started about a year ago. Most of my work is aimed at organizing the meetings, both live and online. I was surprised to see how easily 40 people from 6 different countries work together for several days during the partner meetings. Discussing topics in a different language than your own is difficult but most partners manage just fine switching to English. Sometimes we also encounter cultural differences, but they are also easily accepted.

“During the meetings it is interesting to see how other countries are working on the measures taken to minimize the climate change. Where in the Netherlands all homes can’t use gas anymore other countries are actually changing to gas. This provides interesting discussions.”

“During these Covid-19 times there are some extra challenges, even though the project was already used to working in online environments. Compared to other work not much has changed for us, we mostly meet online to minimize traveling. However, for some of the meetings we would have face-to-face in large groups we now have to look for other ways to come together. During the meetings there are usually lively discussions about what the best methods for INDU-ZERO are. Lively discussions are a bit harder to do by online communication platforms. Which means that we will have to look for a way in which we can still use all those international viewpoints without actually coming together.”

“When I see the partners adapting so quickly to another language or getting over cultural differences, I am convinced that we will also adapt to the new situation and come up with innovative ways in using each other’s strengths.”

Contribution by: Anneloes Krone, project assistant, Provincie Overijssel, the Netherlands


Article February 2020

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Focus for 2020

The international cooperation of the project usually refers to the objective of encouraging development of INDU-ZERO factories in the six participating countries of Interreg North Sea Region. Early in the project, we decided to focus the initial adoption efforts in the Netherlands where the subject was widely understood and where a quantity of net-zero renovations had already been carried out (about 4000 to date). Halfway through the timescale of project INDU-ZERO, we can mark adoption activity in two more of ‘our’ countries, but with less in the other countries.

A ‘business case’ committee for development of the first INDU-ZERO factory met in Deventer, the Netherlands in February 2019. One year later, we can mark that a dealmakers’ group is forming to develop the first INDU-ZERO factory in Overijssel, Netherlands.

We will now be directing the main adoption effort to the other (five) Interreg North Sea Region countries. We have already learned which ingredients are needed to precipitate a dealmakers’ group:

  • a group of manufacturing entrepreneurs with interest to develop the smart factory;
  • a property owner group (e.g. housing association) that requires a large quantity of renovations at lower prices;
  • investors who see a future in sustainable renovations;
  • a city/region that wishes to attract an INDU-ZERO factory to their city/region.

Adoption can start with one or more of these ingredients and a dealmaker’s group can be anticipated if all four ingredients are present. We follow up with encouragement and support to such groups as they move forward with their factory development plans.

Each country is different with different circumstances and different starting points. In one case the starting point is a committed and visionary factory developer, in another it might be a city seeking to identify a high-tech industry for an industrial masterplan, a third case might start with a housing association trying to achieve a programme of net-zero renovations at a lower price. 

Halfway through the timescale of project INDU-ZERO, we can mark adoption activity in two more of ‘our’ countries, but with less in the other countries. But only time can tell whether potential initiatives will crystallise into factory development teams. In 2020 we will be making additional effort, working jointly with the communications team. During this year, INDU-ZERO plans to attend mainline conferences in Scotland, England, Germany and Sweden.

Any INDU-ZERO newsletter article about international cooperation cannot be complete without marking that Energiesprong has recently joined our Advisory Board. We look forward to an active collaboration with Energiesprong, and the opportunity for international collaboration this might bring.

Contribution: Hugh Levins, Zero is More Ltd, United Kingdom


Article September 2019

Houses international INDU-ZERO

INDU-ZERO as a benchmark
Brian Cassidy, CENG FIEI, is a member of the Advisory Board of INDU-ZERO and works for Cork City Council (Ireland) in the housing maintenance department. The Council maintains 10,000 social houses of many different types varying in age from 1886 to the present. He is convinced that INDU-ZERO is a key success factor in the drive towards a low carbon economy: “Because of the volume and of typologies of houses in European countries including Ireland we have to find a way to industrialize the renovation of the existing stock. INDU-ZERO offers an innovative approach that will enable mass production of the renovation packages. Industrialization is the best way to achieve the climate migration targets set out in the Paris Accord.

Benchmark
“If we succeed in building the smart factories, INDU-ZERO will become the benchmark for everybody and the norm for the industry. That is why Cork City Council is investing in networks amongst the education, industry and government sectors in the participating countries. It requires a joint effort to build a whole new industry that combines expertise from different fields and countries. The European structure of the project offers these possibilities. We can learn from each other’s experience and make sure that the renovation process scan be upscaled significantly.”

Public perception and increasing awareness 
According to Brian it is also very important that the residents of the houses are involved in the process: “They are easily overlooked when the focus is on Technology. However citizen enagagment will be a key success fatcor in the drive towards low carbon economy.” To help increase citizen awareness of the need to move towards alow carbon economy Cork City has become a partner in the Interreg Europe INTENSIFY project (https://www.interregeurope.eu/intensify/ ) – a project that aims to increase awareness amongst the general population of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Better product, minimum disturbance
Imparting Brian stated that “Cork is determined to contribute positively to the success of INDU-ZERO, because it has the potential to deliver a better quality product with minimum disturbance to it’s occupants, and increase the rate of the Europe transform to a low carbon housing stock”.

Note
European Interregional learning will be a key driver of developing and piloting the technologies that will allow society to function in a low carbon environment. To that end as well as advising INDU-ZERO Cork City is a partner in:

Cork City also avails of supports from the Irish Energy Authority (SEAI), the Irish Government and the European Cohesion/Eregional Devdlopment funds to reduce carbon emissions from its social housing stock. 


Article June 2019

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Delegation of Strathclyde University visits the Netherlands
At the end of May two project partners from Strathclyde University together with their researchers visited the Netherlands for 2 days. The goal of the visit was to discuss the first steps towards developing the production process of the INDU-ZERO factory.

The delegation visited two factories: timber frame factory De Groot Vroomshoop and sandwich panel factory RC panels. 

During the visit several meetings were planned as well. One meeting took place together with the German logistics partner, the Jade university of Applied Sciences, in order to talk about the logistic interfaces to the factory, within the factory and to the building site where the renovations will occur. A more detailed logistics plan will be presented at the next project partner meeting in Elsfleth (Germany) in July 2019.

The other meeting was with project partners from the Netherlands: Buro de Haan (engineering company), Saxion University of Applied Sciences, D’Andrea & Evers (industrial designer) and Recreate (VR/AR company).

Both these meetings and the factory visits have resulted in a clear understanding of current production methods and the first layout of the new INDU-ZERO factory. The first layout of the factory will be developed in more detail over the coming months and will also be presented at the next INDU-ZERO partner meeting in July 2019.

Contribution: Ulla-Britt Krämer, project manager INDU-ZERO, Provincie Overijssel, the Netherlands  

Article March 2019

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More efficiency in housing is needed

BASF is part of the Advisory Board of the INDU-ZERO project. The worldwide company with divisions in 170 countries produces chemicals for different industries. Pieter van Gent is business director construction chemicals for the Benelux: “By 2050 70% of the people in Europe will be living in an urban environment. This means that more efficiency in building is needed and more high-rise housing. As BASF we have been working on sustainable housing since the early nineties of the last century. So we have been in the forefront of sustainable housing ever since. By producing insulation materials but also as a visionary in presenting showcases and market approaches.”

 “We hope to contribute to the project in a way that is both challenging and stimulating. The construction industry is quite traditional and the work is still done manually to a great extent. We can use our expertise in material properties to industrialize the production of the renovation packages in Europe. We have divisions in the countries that participate in the project. So it will be easy for us to translate our expertise to these countries.”

“I often use the car industry as an example to demonstrate how the production facility should be upgraded. Eventually it should be possible to produce a renovation package in one day at a prize that is comparible to a middle class car, so under 40.000 euro a piece. The production process of a renovation package is less complex than that of a car. I think that together we can realize this kind of mass upgrade that can contribute to a more sustainable Europe.”

Contribution: Pieter van Gent, BASF, the Netherlands