Energy Adaptive Shell

Making Europe the first circular, carbon-neutral and sustainable economy by 2050 will require a profound transformation of the entire energy system across all sectors. The buildings sector is the largest energy consumer (40%) and has the largest energy-related greenhouse gas emissions (36%) in the EU. The use of green energy in buildings and their transformation into energy-efficient consumers is therefore crucial to achieving the EU’s energy and environmental goals. Currently, about 35% of buildings in the EU are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient. At the same time, only about 1% of the building stock is renovated each year.

Austria has set itself even more ambitious goals of achieving climate neutrality by 2040. However, transforming existing buildings into low-emitting, active participants in a carbon-neutral, volatile energy system presents challenges. Many buildings are still largely dependent on decentralized energy supply based on fossil fuels. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and implement scalable, serial refurbishment concepts for renewable heating and cooling supply, storage and distribution.


This is exactly what RENVELOPE has set as its goal. The project will develop a cost-effective, circular, end-to-end solution for modernizing existing buildings by conditioning buildings from an exterior envelope for minimally invasive retrofits.

By combining serial, multifunctional CO2-neutral building renovation with integrated, intelligently controlled building technology, RENVELOPE aims to make the building sector an essential pillar for the energy system of the future.

Approach and methodology

The RENVELOPE project demonstrates a complete solution for serial, multifunctional CO2-neutral and recyclable building renovation. With the help of fully digitized processes and non-invasive, flexible and energy-active envelope elements and customer integration strategies, existing buildings can act as part of integrated energy systems.

In the course of the project, three buildings will be modernized with a cost-efficient circular complete solution, in the form of an innovative exterior envelope. This represents a paradigm shift from the traditional approach, where heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were located inside the building. An individual solution is studied for each building, based on the respective existing thermal and energy stocks, architectural desires and planned uses. Three variants of large-volume buildings are envisaged: Municipal residential buildings, schools and office buildings. The three demonstrators are intended to show that a CO2-neutral building renovation method using prefabricated innovative façade and roof elements is cost and time effective.

To the project website

The following model solutions are being developed in the RENVELOPE project:

Sample solution/s under development

Media reports on the project

Air conditioning buildings sustainably: These are the alternatives of tomorrow

Energy consumption in the building sector is responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Due to climate change, the issue of room cooling is playing an increasingly important role. In the Green Energy Lab, researchers are looking for sustainable solutions as part of numerous projects. RENVELOPE aims to develop a cost-effective, minimally invasive, serial refurbishment solution for existing buildings.

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Renovation of the Knittelfeld vocational school and apprentice house

The focus of the renovation of the Knittelfeld state vocational school and the apprentice house is on maximum energy savings and the greatest possible energy generation through the planned PV systems in the new façade. In addition, the electrical installations and parts of the classroom ventilation system are also to be integrated into the façade. The serial renovation process was developed in the RENVELOPE research project.

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