Europe’s #1 destination for EU research collaboration and market opportunities

The 9th annual edition of Sustainable Places (SP2021) was a hybrid event, from 28th September to 1st October, with the in-person sessions hosted in Rome, Italy.  

SP2021 gathered more than 150 European projects representing €850 million in R&D and 1500 research performing organizations.

SP2021 Newsletters:

SP2021 quick links:

1-Page Event Overview

SP2021 Event Program

Rome Smart City (30 Sept)

Cities in Transition (1 Oct)

Conference Scope

Sustainability targets and climate change objectives cannot be met without addressing buildings and the built environment at the building, district and urban scale to include our transport and energy infrastructures. Renowned for showcasing results coming out of the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme via the participation of cutting-edge research and innovation projects, the scope of Sustainable Places is captured directly in its name. It involves designing, building and retrofitting the places we live and work in a more sustainable way.

Conference Concept

Sustainable Places prides itself on being an ideal platform for the dissemination of research, the conduct of workshops, EU project clustering and networking between stakeholders of all types. SP2021 was held over four days in a hybrid (digital + in-person) event format. Between opening and closing keynote sessions, parallel technical sessions and project-organized workshops explored the various conference themes. A particular highlight of SP2021 were the two full morning plenary sessions moderated by PPAN focusing on Smart Cities, Smart Districts and perspectives from the real estate sector in facilitating the energy transition.

Conference Themes

Each year, Sustainable Places features topics that are shaping how we think about buildings and the built environment. Across all editions, Sustainable Places is open to all topics related to building sustainability and most often reflect priorities reflected in the European Commission Societal Challenges and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For SP2021, the following list of themes are non-exhaustive and the conference program was created according to accepted proposals received:

Buildings / renovation / energy performance

Policies / certifications / behaviours

Renewable energy technologies / platforms

Circular economy / business models

Smart grids and cities / energy communities

BIM / Digitalisation / energy modeling

Publication Opportunities

Non peer-reviewed technical papers (maximum 4 pages in length) are completely optional, can be submitted by any SP2021 contributor, and referred to as ‘conference papers’. They are due no later than 1st November to and shall be published in Open Access MDPI Environmental Science Proceedings. The template for SP2021 ‘conference paper’ submissions with enclosed formatting instructions can be directly downloaded hereAs a reference, please feel free to peruse the previous SP Proceedings editions from SP2020SP2019SP2018, and SP2017

Select papers will be considered for publication in the Buildings peer-reviewed journal after a manuscript submission pre-approval phase by the publisher. If selected, a cover letter with copyright attribution and an explanation of ‘conference paper’ content extension will be required alongside the ‘journal paper’ and these two documents (i.e. cover letter and ‘journal paper’) will be self-submitted through the MDPI AG online submission portal. Please do not submit your manuscript unless first given the authorisation to do so. As reference, please feel free to peruse the Buildings editions from SP2019, SP2018, and SP2017 (SP2020 edition to be updated shortly). The template for SP2021 ‘journal paper’ submissions with enclosed formatting instructions can be directly downloaded here.

Sponsorship Opportunities

SP2021 sponsors had the opportunity to position their brand in this unique event at the crossroads of European Research and market implementation in the sustainble built environment. The sponsorship program is available for download here. This year’s sponsors benefited from increased visibility with conference growth, professional media coverage, profile appearance in the agenda and post-event book (new), coverage in the conference newsletter, coverage in social media and allocation of a digital booth during the event on the event platform Hopin. Sponsorships were also possible for the social program and meal events. Sponsorships make possible to increase event user experience and to invite additional guests or participants to the event that our core audience are trying to reach.

SP2021 registration

Registration took place using XING (similar to SP2020). Registration outside of XING was also accommodated on a case-by-case basis and questions can be sent to   

The event had a free and paid structure. The plenary program and pre-event training activities were free and made possible the engagement of policy makers and local area in-person professionals/stakeholders we were trying to attract to the event. These professional/stakeholder guests did not have access to the scientific or social parts of the program unless they decided to register for the scientific program using the in-person event pass or day pass. The in-person rates included attendance to the event plus lunches and coffee breaks for 3 days. For “presenters” the 30th September Gala Dinner was included, but it was not included with the “guest” option (those tickets were purchased separately).

Attendees who were presenting or disseminating scientific content had a registration fee. Registration fees are shown in the following table and are VAT inclusive.  The price shown is the final price that was required on the XING platform.

N.B. to register as a representative of the European Commission (EC) or as a non-presenting student, current student credentials and official EC email addresses were required and a unique code was provided that unlocked a free registration option in Xing. All in-person SP2021 delegates had access to the plenary/training sessions, and all in-person presenters were provided with one free social dinner ticket. Non-presenting event passes did not include a social dinner ticket, but they were available to be purchased before 1st September with no limit. The digital platform registration link to create networking profiles and choose the sessions to be streamed wias provided to all registered delegates at least two weeks before SP2021 commenced on 29th September. 

Venue in Rome and administrative aspects

We were proud to welcome EUR SpA as a partner of SP2021. EUR SpA is a company operating in the management and development of real estate with in particular the curation of historic and cultural heritage assets which notably include the EUR exposition area of Rome (Esposizione Universale Roma) and operation of a smart district for heating and cooling. In this regard, the SP2021 venue was the “Roma Convention Center” (Viale della Pittura, 50, 00144 Roma RM). The structure is easily accessible from the Airport, is connected to the Rome city center by metro and has ample space for social distancing, networking, parallel tracks, booths for exposition space and the exciting plenary sessions being designed to engage Rome-area built environment stakeholders and guests.

In accordance with national protocols, this event required the “Greenpass”. The timing, event concept and venues have each been designed and selected considering Covid. Overall, the situation in Italy was favorable and is improving. All regions except Sicily were White (lowest Covid risk level) at the time of this writing. The venue is enormous, out of the center and we occupied between 25-30% capacity. The hotel (in this newsletter edition) and gala dinner were selected to have maximum space and to have a location that can properly accommodate our conference attendees for a dinner respecting the required protocols. A walking tour in the city center allowed our delegates to enjoy the Rome city center individually or in smaller groups. Sign up requests for the social program were sent by email to effectively deliver the headcount information to the services that required those. 

We arranged for a gala dinner and special guest rate at Hotel Villa Pamphili. This hotel is located adjacent to Villa Pamphili Park, the largest park in Rome and its concept can be found here. It was recently renovated by one of our SP2021 attendee organizations and through them, this venue was made possible. Included in the SP2021 registration was an organized transfer each day to and from the event venue at the EUR. The hotel is a resort and has plenty of space to network, relax and accommodate a dinner (weather pending) on a terrace overlooking Rome. We anticipated three types of travelers to the event, those that wanted to stay close to the venue (EUR), those that wanted to be in the city center of Rome (using Metro) and those that wanted a more quiet experience (this option with transfer). Rome is large and the expo area is not directly in the center. The SP2021 rate at this accommodation (VAT Included) was €150 for a single room, €160 for a double room and €205 for a suite. A €6 city tax was not included in these rates.
The provided daily rates include:
  • Buffet Breakfast at the Hotel Restaurant
  • Use of the outdoor pool with guest services
  • 1 Transfer for the Event venue (arrive/return) per day
  • WI-FI throughout the property in both the common areas and bedrooms
  • 10% VAT
The accommodation was booked directly by email or phone using a credit card.
Hotel Villa Pamphili Roma
Via della Nocetta, 105 – Roma (RM),
T +39 06 40064500

For questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at

Digital Platform - Hopin

Digital participants had a new user experience in 2021 as SP transitioned to Hopin.  The platform features a “Stage” area, breakout sessions channels for workshops and a networking area for meeting participants. Running chat dialogue during the workshop made the sessions more interactive and “live.” Similar to SP2020, digital workshops will be available as recordings post event on the SP2021 area of the SP website for further dissemination and use. For SP2021 “Virtual Booth” setup (one per project), confirmed speakers sent this info no later than 17th Sept. to zia[.]lennard[@]r2msolution[.]com who created the booths that were made available to all Hopin users during SP2021.

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Participating Research Projects

With the Patronage of

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Gold Sponsors

Silver & Blue Sponsors

Technical Sponsors

Twinning Event

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