3rd International Workshop – Enhancing Ground Source Heat exchangers and Pumps for a sustainable built environment

The end-event of the Cheap-GHSP Project took place at the premises of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in Venice, Italy, on 22-23 May 2019. The international workshop shedded light on promising innovations in shallow geothermal power systems. The systems, which form the scientific basis of the project, have been tested on a number of demonstrative sites located in diversified urban and climatic environments. Sites located in Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece and Croatia have performed as laboratories for the development of good practices to assess, test and monitor innovations such as the employment of novel heat pumps for higher temperatures, new drilling systems and solutions suitable for the retrofitting of buildings, in particular historical ones. Through the project, UNESCO and its partners hope to inspire change in policies, planning and technology at the European and worldwide scales.

Geothermal heat is a promising source for enriching and significantly contributing to the renewable energy mix in the long-term. To foster the use of geothermal energy in a secure, clean and efficient way, the European Commission supports 12 projects within its Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020).

The Horizon 2020 project Cheap-GHSPs aims at reducing the total cost of low enthalpy geothermal systems by improving current drilling/installation technologies and designs of Ground Source Heat Exchangers. The outcomes are of relevance to the further expansion of the inherent potentiality of shallow geothermal power systems for heating and cooling purposes. The use of the novel heat pumps for higher temperatures developed within the project, has the capacity to reduce the market costs for retrofitting buildings, including historical ones.

The project has demonstrated the compatibility of such innovative systems with the requirements of preservation and conservation. This is in line with the need for a comfortable environment (inside buildings) and a more decarbonised economy.

The initiative includes the participation and support of the Green Building Council (GBC) Italia in order to interface the Cheap-GHSPs-driven innovation with the international certification for the built environment. Moreover, the GBCs present throughout the world are key contributors to the rise of a new conceptual paradigm, which merges the holistic concept of sustainability with the built environment – both historical and modern – through a set of innovative protocols.

Protocols such as the LEED® – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the newly developed LEED® for historical buildings are applied to over 170.000 square meters daily throughout the globe. LEED® in Europe complies with the rules and standards of the European market and is also accustomed to a large set of urban contexts: such as for GBC Historic Building®, GBC HOME® for residential buildings, GBC for apartments and others for cities and districts. These protocols may well perform as international depositories for Cheap-GSHPs solutions for future use following standardization.

The 2-day Cheap-GHSPs event in Venice was structured as follows: the first day tackled the technological Innovation, standard and barriers in shallow geothermal systems.  On the second day, 3 sessions were devoted to exploring Cheap-GSHPs’ Decision Support System and Design Tools, opportunities, as well as Technology and Green building certification for sustainable built heritage.

The goals of the workshop included:

  • the promotion and dissemination of the achievements of the Cheap-GHSPs project in enhancing shallow geothermal technology in built environments;
  • promoting the interface between public-private actors and the adoption of an interdisciplinary approach for enhancing innovation and management capacity in sustainability for civil and heritage buildings;
  • strengthening the dissemination of information and know-how on sustainable energy potentials in the construction field and in particular for UNESCO designated sites and cultural heritage in general;
  • exploring the potentialities of GBC (Green Building Council) for civil and Historic Building™, as an energy-environmental rating system, bridging the gap between energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and heritage preservation.

With its interdisciplinary approach, the workshop targeted geologists, engineers, architects, energy managers and practitioners in modern and historical heritage, green building and construction chain-industry professionals along with building and city managers, including UNESCO designated sites. Professionals and practitioners will be asked to display new capacities and knowledge on how to master energy related environmental issues in the age of climate change and emissions energy targets.

Cheap-GSHPs Project on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/302265276