The IEA co-ordinates international energy research and development (R&D) activities through a comprehensive portfolio of Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). The mission of the IEA Energy in Buildings and Communities (IEA EBC) TCP is to support the acceleration of the transformation of the built environment towards more energy efficient and sustainable buildings and communities, by the development and dissemination of knowledge, technologies and processes and other solutions through international collaborative research and open innovation. (Until 2013, the IEA EBC Programme was known as the IEA Energy Conservation in Buildings and Community Systems Programme, ECBCS.)
The high priority research themes in the EBC Strategic Plan 2019-2024 are based on research drivers, national programmes within the EBC participating countries, the Future Buildings Forum (FBF) Think Tank Workshop held in Singapore in October 2017 and a Strategy Planning Workshop held at the EBC Executive Committee Meeting in November 2017. The research themes represent a collective input of the Executive Committee members and Operating Agents to exploit technological and other opportunities to save energy in the buildings sector, and to remove technical obstacles to market penetration of new energy technologies, systems and processes. Future EBC collaborative research and innovation work should have its focus on these themes.
At the Strategy Planning Workshop in 2017, some 40 research themes were developed. From those 40 themes, 10 themes of special high priority have been extracted, taking into consideration a score that was given to each theme at the workshop. The 10 high priority themes can be separated in two types namely 'Objectives' and 'Means'. These two groups are distinguished for a better understanding of the different themes.
The strategic objectives of the EBC TCP are as follows:
- reinforcing the technical and economic basis for refurbishment of existing buildings, including financing, engagement of stakeholders and promotion of co-benefits;
- improvement of planning, construction and management processes to reduce the performance gap between design stage assessments and real world operation;
- the creation of 'low tech', robust and affordable technologies;
- the further development of energy efficient cooling in hot and humid, or dry climates, avoiding mechanical cooling if possible;
- the creation of holistic solution sets for district level systems taking into account energy grids, overall performance, business models, engagement of stakeholders, and transport energy system implications.
The strategic objectives of the EBC TCP will be achieved by the means listed below:
- the creation of tools for supporting design and construction through to operations and maintenance, including building energy standards and life cycle analysis (LCA);
- benefitting from 'living labs' to provide experience of and overcome barriers to adoption of energy efficiency measures;
- improving smart control of building services technical installations, including occupant and operator interfaces;
- addressing data issues in buildings, including nonintrusive and secure data collection;
- the development of building information modelling (BIM) as a game changer, from design and construction through to operations and maintenance.
The themes in both groups can be the subject for new Annexes, but what distinguishes them is that the 'objectives' themes are final goals or solutions (or part of) for an energy efficient built environment, while the 'means' themes are instruments or enablers to reach such a goal. These themes are explained in more detail in the EBC Strategic Plan 2019-2024. Download the EBC Strategic Plan 2019 - 2024 (PDF 2.9MB)
Many current and former researchers from EBC projects are often directly involved in formulating standards, regulations and codes and will use the knowledge gained in their work for EBC to inform and improve them. This indirect form of deployment can be one by which the EBC TCP has a strong, although less obvious impact.
EBC projects and activities have produced long-lasting decision-making tools and integrated systems technologies. Outcomes from the EBC TCP are publicised through many seminars and conferences.
EBC is one out of eight Buildings-related Technology Collaboration Programmes (BRTCPs) within the IEA's energy technology network.