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Positive Energy Blocks

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Our ambition

The objective of the Initiative is to build 100 Positive Energy Blocks (PEB) across the EU, with at least one PEB per EU Member State. Of these PEBs, 50% should be located in cities with maximum 250.000 inhabitants (“Small Giants”).
A PEB is a group of connected neighboring buildings producing more energy than what they use on a yearly basis (heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting as a reference). A key feature is a compulsory mixed and complementary usage of buildings (housing, offices, commercial…) to help recreate a diversified and high quality living environment. It can be applied to both new and retrofitted buildings.
It will involve:
  • ICT for Design, Management, Energy and Data flows.  
  • Both public and private actors.
The initiative links-in directly with the Strategic Implementation Plan's ambition to improve the energy efficiency of Europe’s buildings and districts. 

Our case

The PEB Initiative can be seen as the “seed” for an urban renaissance, as it sits at the intersection of the Energy, ICT and Transport priorities. It will contribute as well to tackling the Social, Climate/Environmental and Economic challenges by promoting citizen-oriented sustainable solutions that will improve urban quality of life. The development of PEB is also going to create competitive and innovative solutions for EU businesses and new skilled job opportunities.
When considering the PEB concept, a series of elements naturally come into place: the need for a Smart (micro) Grid; local renewable energy production; advanced materials and digital design; energy storage and connection to electromobility solutions, etc.
During the World Café session back on November 2015, stakeholders also pointed out that essential urban aspects not tackled elsewhere can be also integrated here like water, waste and green/biodiversity issues.  The concept is therefore simple to mention and rich in implications. It offers a strong interdependency with the other action clusters.

Our effort

At this stage, leadership is currently assumed by the Sustainable Districts & Built Environment Action Cluster co-lead, Bouygues, but the Initiative is inclusive and would welcome a city or group of cities to lead the initiative together. In addition to members of the Action Cluster, interested stakeholders with various backgrounds (companies, cities, consultancies, research organisations, associations, etc) have already expressed their interest to participate. 

Our approach

Identification of interested cities is currently ongoing, with the former having the freedom to decide on the size of the PEB (starting from three buildings) and combination of usages. Preference will be given to central areas for demonstration purposes. 
The financing issue is tackled by exploring options at regional level with the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3), the EIB (European Investment Bank) private investors and with business models like Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). It can also be a live test bed for the IPCEI concept (Important Project of Common European Interest).
Throughout the EU, PEBs will provide a large amount of data covering all geoclimatic conditions and could represent a high quality input for the Smart City Information System with high potential to communicate results from experience and facilitate dissemination and replication of the pilot projects.

Our action

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Latest news


The break-out session of the Positive Energy Blocks Initiative during the EIP-SCC 2016 General Assembly was the kick off conference of the group. The participating city representatives showed great interest (cities from Finland, London and French Overseas territories).

The actions to be undertaken were defined:

  • Get a core group of cities that want to lead.
  • Strengthen collaboration with the Business Models, Finance and Procurement Action Cluster.
  • Identify a couple of pilots of Positive Energy Blocks that could be used as use cases.

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