ELSEBETH TERKELSEN discusses European Green Cities role in the RINNO project and the potential for drones in deep renovation projects.
11% of Europe’s population still experiences energy poverty due to poor building quality. If the rate of deep renovation does not accelerate, it could take more than 100 years to renovate the entire EU building stock. As such, energy efficiency in buildings is of extreme importance in Europe’s sustainable development movement.
European Green Cities (EGC) is a network of cities, organisations, companies and consultants contributing to the development of green cities and buildings in a sustainable Europe. EGC works with innovation projects such as RINNO to manage the implementation of best practice in project design and construction, training and dissemination.
A key takeaway of the RINNO project for EGC is its demonstration of innovative solutions in practice. These applied deep renovation solutions include elements of the full value chain of renovation projects: planning, involving users, building, developing and testing products, and financing. This combination of research, development and implementation will serve as an important use case for the EGC network.
EGC is responsible for demonstrating all results of the RINNO pilot sites in Poland, Greece, and Denmark. These will show how low energy efficiency buildings can be transformed by implementing biobased insulation, energy windows with integrated PV, micro ventilation in façades, smart meters and energy management – just to mention a few of the innovative elements of the RINNO pilot sites.
One particularly interesting aspect of RINNO is the use of drones in deep renovation. Drones can add a lot of value to the deep renovation process. For example, both at the beginning and end of projects, drones can be used for aerial inspections and tours of the target buildings. While often the focus of drones is the camera and video data that they can collect, drones also can be fitted out with a variety of other sensors that can record data useful in renovation and construction including GPS, LIDAR, multispectral, and thermal sensors. They can also be used in conjunction with other tracking technologies including RFID to identify and locate specific assets or entities and any related movement.
Drone employed for data-collection (©Jason Blackeye)
In their report on the use of drones, PWC highlighted that drones can play a significant role in managing costs, controlling risks, increasing safety and influencing outcomes. In renovation projects, as well as transport, they have a number of advantages over traditional inspections and site/progress monitoring – they are faster to deploy, safer, and can access parts of a building that may not be easily accessible to humans. Obviously, in the context of COVID-19, they are particularly useful in limiting the exposure of key personnel and support social distancing by enabling remote access to sites. Drone streams can be accessed in real-time and retrospectively accelerate inspection and progress monitoring processes. The output from drones depends on the sensors. Image and video output can be stitched together to create 3D models while both image and data can be analysed by machine learning to identify any issues and create alerts. Together these technologies can be used to build trust between all the players on a renovation project by providing a single source of truth.
Drones are not typically applied within the renovation industry. We hope that RINNO will demonstrate their potential to improve both the quality and speed of the renovation process.
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