Success Story

Deep retrofit ‘Façade Leasing’ implemented on 3.400m2 at Delft University of Technology

The problem

The construction boom that took place across Europe from the 1950’s to the 1970’s presents the current European construction sector with a tough challenge. Buildings from this time combine a still functional structural integrity with a rapidly declining energetic performance, which often negatively affects the performance of the building’s users/owners. On the other hand, investment on building energy renovation projects is still far below the required volume. Furthermore, many of these retrofitting projects focus on minimizing initial investment costs – rather than optimizing energy consumption – resulting in superficial improvements and in a short-sighted allocation of financial and material resources. Façade Leasing offers a solution that is at the same time financially attractive and offers high quality technically.

The solution

Façade Leasing offers the best of both worlds: an innovative façade technology that reduces energy consumption by up to 80%, combined with a price tag that matches regular (‘low cost’) alternatives. It allows building owners to opt for a high-quality technology whilst even saving money in the long run compared to the standard choices. As it is an integrated façade, building systems can be incorporated, including ventilation, PV panels, energy storage, heating, cooling and so on.

“As every façade is tailor-made, it can be delivered in a number of variations, depending on the preferences of the client and the requirements of the building.”
Juan Azcárate-Aguerre, Façade Leasing Research Team

Importantly, when the building systems are transferred into the skin of the building, often a lot of space from floors, ceilings and walls can be freed up. From a commercial point of view, this could imply a significant gain in rentable area and income.

There is also a very practical advantage: by integrating different functionalities within the façade, there is a single point of contact for all indoor climate factors (heating, cooling, ventilation and so on). Occupants do not need to be disrupted in accessing these. It makes fine-tuning an easy task, offering a huge financial and time advantage in terms of maintenance, comfort adjustments and repairs.

Although Façade Leasing can be used for residential properties as well, office buildings are – at least for now – probably a more logical choice as investments in this area are often higher and more technologies and services are required.

Even though energy reductions of up to 80% are within range, the most innovative element of Façade Leasing is probably the financial aspect: leasing instead of buying a technology. Over a time frame of 10- 25 years, the building owner pays a reasonable monthly fee to the façade owner, covering installation, maintenance and any interim adjustments on the indoor climate. This fee is balanced against the expenses the building owner would otherwise have to pay anyway, such as higher energy expenses and repairs. At the end of the line, the costs are even lower than with a regular (‘cheap at the start’) alternative. A no-brainer without doubt!

The impact

The concept of leasing a façade has the potential to create a systemic change in deep retrofitting, possibly even affecting the construction world in a wider sense. Being less dependent on market fluctuations and on constantly having to acquire new projects, emphasis lies instead on a long-term relation between the client and the maintenance and service provider. Façade companies become less vulnerable as they move away from short-cycle projects. The circularity of building components is supported, by giving the component manufacturers (i.e. windows, frames etc.) of the façade the economic incentives to reuse materials and products as much as possible.

A prototype of the Façade Leasing concept has been already installed at the EWI building on the TU Delft campus. As a result of the excellent performance, Façade Leasing will now be implemented on 3.400m2 at the CiTG building of the Delft University of Technology. CiTG has two main facades, facing East and West, each with an area of approximately 3.400m2. Built in the late 1960’s, the building envelope is reaching the end of its technical service life, requiring improvement. Façade Leasing will entirely renovate the façade panels on the East facade, replacing them with a high energy-performance system and external sun shading.

EIT Climate-KICs role

EIT Climate-KIC has been one of the initiators and has actively supported Façade Leasing throughout its development, which has made this deep retrofit innovation possible and now allows for upscaling. Also, EIT Climate-KIC is actively involved in coordination and management of the project. We promote and invest in innovative business models for deep retrofit, as they are seen as an essential element for the required uptake of retrofit rates throughout Europe.

Published 18 August 2018

About BTA

Building Technologies Accelerator (BTA) is a programme by EIT Climate-KIC: the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy.