Innovative technologies for retrofitting: Coventry University as a living lab

RESEEPEE – Innovative technologies for retrofitting: Coventry University as a living lab


Monica Mateo-Garcia, Coventry University United Kingdom 

Dr. Monica Mateo-Garcia is an Architect with over 8 years professional and academic experience. She holds a PhD in Ar-chitecture and Sustainable Urban Planning from the University of Alicante, Spain. In 2008, she moved from professional practice to academia, joining the University of Alicante as an Assistant Lecturer teaching modules in Construction and Energy efficiency in Architecture. In 2015 she joined Coventry University as a Research Associate in Low Carbon Refurbishment in the project EU FP7 RESEEPEE.

Abdullahi Ahmed, Coventry University United Kingdom

Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed is a Sen-ior Lecturer in Built Environment with over 10 years industry and professional experience in the field of building physics and sustainable design. Dr Ahmed has participated in several funded projects over the last 3 years. He is leading Coventry University’s contribution to the EU funded project RESSEEPE. Dr Ahmed is managing a number of PhD students in the area of BIM, Urban Resilience and Low Carbon Technologies. Dr Ahmed has skills and experience of building information modelling and the transient simulation of buildings and building sys-tems.

Danny McGough, Coventry University United Kingdom

Mr. Danny McGough is a Lec-turer in BIM at Coventry University and is leading the development and integration of BIM into Coventry University delivery of teaching and learning activities. Danny is an investigator on the current FP7 RESEEPEE project. Danny has also been involved in developing consultancy for companies within the West Midlands to develop BIMM systems and strategies within con-struction organisations. Danny is currently managing 2 ERDF KEEN projects that assist SME’s to optimise their processes through the implementation BIM. Danny’s particular re-search interest is in the retrospective application BIM in performance management of existing buildings stock.


The paper shows a Higher Education building case study used as a Testing Bed for innova-tive technologies developed specifically within the project framework, for the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings. These advanced technologies are not aimed at refurbishing the building as a whole, being applied just in some areas in order to evaluate the performance of the retrofitted elements in isolation. The idea behind the Living Lab pilot case is to monitor the performance of those installations in order to get results which allow us to obtain conclu-sions about the replicability of the technologies selected.


“Retrofitting Solutions and Services for the enhancement of Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings (RESSEEPE) is an EU funded pro-ject which aims to bring together design and decision making tools, innovative building fabric manufacturers and a programme to demonstrate the improved building perfor-mance achievable through the retrofit of exist-ing buildings at a district level. The RESSEEPE framework is being validated by a strong demonstration programme, envisag-ing the renovation of 102,000 square metres of public buildings. The core idea of the pro-ject is to technologically advance, adapt, demonstrate and assess a number of innova-tive retrofit technologies implemented on sev-eral pilot cases with different climate condi-tions across Europe (Coventry-UK, Barcelona-Spain and Skellefteå-Sweden) to ensure a high potential replication of the retrofit solu-tions. The three demonstration sites are in-volved as the main promoters of a very ambi-tious district level renovation, demonstrating a systemic approach to technology installation and evaluation, taking into account the bene-fits of a set of technologies, which properly combined in terms of cost effectiveness and energy performance could achieve reductions around 50% in terms of energy consumption. Coventry University is acting as a Living Lab in order to test some Advanced Technologies already on the market and others developed specifically within the RESSEEPE project. Those innovative technologies implemented in the pilot case are: Vacuum Insulated Pan-els, PCM tubes, Ventilated façade with Pho-tovoltaic Panels, Electrochromic windows and Aerogel Mortar. The main feature of this in-stallation is that it acts as a testing bed for where to install different advanced technolo-gies covering specific areas ofthe building, rather than refurbishing it as a whole. This paper documents the testing of prototype technologies in a pilot case in Coventry Uni-versity, analysing the process of selection of the different technologies and showing all the challenges faced during installation and coor-dination of installation activities. The installa-tion process is shown and discussed, high-lighting the difficulties, setbacks and challeng-es faced during the low carbon refurbishment. The key issues are related to technical and health and safety risks. Also, to financial, co-ordination, planning and legislation barriers etc. It will also show ways forward and solu-tions adopted. The study also analyses the process of monitoring the energy perfor-mance of the spaces retrofitted and the data obtained through the monitoring of the build-ing before and after the installation of the dif-ferent technologies. The idea behind the Liv-ing Lab pilot case is to monitor the perfor-mance of those installations in isolation in or-der to get results which allow us to obtain conclusions about the replicability of the tech-nologies selected in other locations. Ultimate-ly, what is discussed is the overall process followed. This discussion seeks to show the lessons learnt throughout the process and to obtain conclusions from the barriers and en-gagement issues faced during the installation when retrofitting a public building.