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Facing the increasing concerns about the negative environmental impacts from buildings, governments and the general society worldwide have been seeking more efficient and sustainable constructions. An emergent trend on the topic is the Circular Economy (CE), which aims at decoupling economic growth from resource consumption. Following the European Commission’s adoption of the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), in March 2020, a set of fields has been identified to adopt more circular production and consumption patterns, including the construction sector. However, despite the efforts to apply circular thinking and the development of more sustainable frameworks, there is still a lack of a common tool to classify buildings’ circularity at any stage of their lifecycle, as well as to support decision making and assess the implementation level of CEAP. Thus, this Action aims at defining the framework and the methodology to develop an international circularity rating tool, which will be based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPIs will be selected according to the international best practices, current CE state-of-the-art, CEAP, and COST countries construction practices. The framework will be developed with sufficient flexibility so that the international tool can be applied locally by different countries or regions of COST. To accomplish this, a benchmark database will be developed, allowing for the direct use of the international tool, which will support both designers in developing more sustainable buildings and national/local governments in assessing and promoting their CE targets. The KPIs will also be integrated into the Open BIM workflow for an automated assessment using BIM models. Furthermore, construction, assembly, adaptability, deconstruction, and business models guidelines will be developed for new and existing buildings to enhance CE in buildings and promote stakeholder’s knowledge.

The main objective of the project is to support Member States in making the best use of the Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) policy instrument to raise awareness about the benefits of smart buildings and stimulate investments in smart building technologies and energy efficiency measures that are beneficial for both building owners and the future power system. To this end, SRI2MARKET will work on two complementary types of activities: (1) Support Member States in incorporating SRI into their national plans and regulations (market push) and (2) Create demand for the SRI by presenting building owners with evidence on the added value from improving the SRI ratings of their buildings (market pull). The project will improve the knowledge and capabilities of the EU Member States (both within and outside of the project’ partner countries) with regards to the introduction of the SRI in national market and regulation. The provision of capacity building services is imperative for the adoption of the SRI, since there is little understanding and preparedness in Member States on what the SRI is, how to implement it, and more importantly how to use it as an effective tool for addressing the current and foreseen challenges of the national energy system and how to align it with the overall national energy policy. A central component of the envisioned work is the elaboration of roadmaps that clearly outline the path to SRI introduction in national policy and national market.

The need to tackle climate change and achieve the desired carbon neutrality to keep pace with the 1.5 degrees is more urgent than ever. The climate deal at COP26 calls on all nations to set new ambitious climate targets -in preparing their NDCs- and further urges them to integrate mitigation and adaptation measures into national, regional and local planning. Cities and urban areas are vital for achieving climate protection and energy transition targets, being currently responsible for around 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions. With increased global urbanisation -where particularly in Europe around 85% of population is projected to be living in cities by 2050, cities of different size are desicive to reach the COP26 goals. Given the long-term persistence of urban structures, we have to act now. The PLENTY-LIFE project will focus on establishing an innovative methodology of stakeholder-based holistic integrated spatial and energy planning (HISEP) methodology. HISEP comprises building capacity of SMCTs in the field of integrated urban energy planning to enable them preparing and monitoring long-term sustainable energy strategies and plans tailored for their specific conditions to manage the clean energy transition and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030/2050. Besides, it aims at Institutionalising the HISEP methodology that implies a cross-sectoral planning process -integrating energy system with other development sectors- to plan the energy transition towards and achieve sustainable and efficient carbon neutral SMCTs. PLENTY-LIFE will apply an innovative “spatio-temporal and multi sectoral planning” methodology that will be established by the team members of the project consortium based on the combination and advancement of their previous research and development results. The methodology will be fine-tuned in co-creation processes in pilots that will be empowered to deliver and monitor their clean energy strategies.

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