Affordable Housing Initiative Tech Camp in Barcelona


The Tech Camp will be a three-day event by and for affordable housing renovation experts and practitioners that will address the difficult technical challenges related to renovation, such as ready-to-market sustainable solutions and materials, the use of advanced technologies, smart solutions, and efficient use of state-of-the-art technologies, among others.

8-9 June 2023

@ VIP Room, Palau de Congressos, Barcelona

Heating and cooling systems, lighting, and household appliances contribute to making buildings intense energy users—and the largest emitters of carbon. In Europe alone, buildings represent 40% of the final energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. Given its weight, the building sector is at the centre of the European Commission’s commitment to cut 55% greenhouse gases emissions by 2030. The plan includes reducing its final energy consumption by 14% and energy consumption for heating and cooling by 18%. These targets are affecting the social and affordable housing sector as well. With the green transition demands, the affordable housing providers are increasingly being asked for more than ever before: indeed, higher energy efficiency and from renewable sources, but also additional houses, improved building quality, but still affordable. Choosing the right technologies and approaches in the planning phase, in the selection of building materials and systems, and throughout its lifecycle is one of the keys to better the challenge of the Renovation Wave targets. The 1st edition of the Affordable Housing Initiative Tech Camp is an event where Suppliers meet Providers to discuss exactly how. Ready-to-market sustainable products and services, novel technical methodologies and smarter approaches will be presented with the objective of making them work in the affordable housing context. Participants will also be invited to discuss the pressing questions that the sector is facing in this regard, such as How to define technology pathways towards sustainability, affordability, and liveability? What barriers and gaps get in the way of mainstreaming useful technologies? How can we make innovative technologies affordable? And how to make them work for the residents?


8th June 2023

@ VIP Room, Palau de Congressos, Barcelona


Moderator: Anna Gumbau


9:00      Bent Madsen, Housing Europe President of the Board

9:10      Paul Cartuyvels, ECTP President


The Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) is part of the Commission’s Renovation Wave strategy for Europe, which aims to green buildings and reduce carbon emissions. The AHI includes piloting 100 renovation and construction districts with a smart neighbourhood approach to pave the way for other renovation projects across Europe. But how should these districts be renovated? What principles should the public, social and cooperative housing providers follow that would bring about the socially just energy transition? A number of organisations across Europe have taken up this challenge of developing and demonstrating innovative approaches to achieving the renovation targets while engaging citizens and developing local communities, socially and economically.

Moderation: Anna Gumbau

09:20    The Affordable Housing Initiative, Martin Willemart, European Commission

09:30    An energy transition that works for all, Sorcha Edwards, European Affordable Housing Consortium

09:40    Three perspectives of integrated renovation methodologies to transform social housing districts into inclusive smart neighbourhoods.

  • DROP Project, Naia Merino, Ermua Municipality
  • PROLIGHT project, Momir Tabakovic, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien
  • SUPERSHINE project, Riccardo Coletta, APRE, & Paola Zerilli, University of York

10:10    Panel Discussion

10:30 Coffee-break


For a socially just and affordable Renovation Wave we need to talk about what makes social and affordable housing renovations cumbersome and what opportunities hold the promise to accelerate district level approach. The European Affordable Housing Consortium has identified some of the most pressing barriers from the local stakeholder perspective. The results show an urgent need to innovate the renovation process itself, work more efficiently and aim to achieve higher degree of sustainability. Introducing more integrated project delivery, new business models and financing instruments is also crucial, along with taking advantage of data and digitalization tools. As for social aspects, communication and cooperation are the weakest points causing delays, mistrust, and low citizen interest in renovation.  Moreover, the role of the local governments as a catalyst can be crucial for overcoming those barriers. In this panel discussion we will highlight 3 barriers from different perspectives and discuss real case experiments and ideas for turning these obstacles into opportunities.

Moderation: Anna Gumbau

11:00    Enrico Grillo (Sequas)

11:15    Gert Eyckmans (VVH)

11:30    Albert Terrones (city of Matarò)

11:45    Panel discussion


The European Commission will pilot the renovation of 100 districts to pave the way to (re)build quality, liveable, and affordable homes. These districts are renovation projects of reference that go ‘the extra mile’ in terms of technological, social or process innovations. There are already numerous such tried and tested examples throughout Europe, where a combination of smart, circular or modular solutions, eco-design principles and renewables, and resident involvement were developed. For the past year, as part of a collaborative effort, the European Affordable Housing Consortium has been gathering these examples across Europe, which together can potentially form a narrative or ‘blueprint’ to guide local organisations towards delivering the just energy transition. In this session some of that work will be presented. Afterwards, participants will be invited to jointly discuss the question of replicating those examples in other contexts.

12:00  The district scale and the EU regulatory framework – the perspective of the Spanish EU Presidency, Javier Martin Ramiro, Ministry of Transport and Urban Agenda of Spain)

12:10  One-stop-shop to spread urban regeneration in the Basque Country, Andoni Hidalgo (Opengela

The ‘OPENGELA’ project set-up two neighbourhood offices in the Basque Country as One-Stop-Shops to give support to the residents of the Otxarkoaga (Bilbao) and the Txonta (Eibar) districts about green energy renovation. Additionally, born out of the premise that the income and repayment capacity levels of a great share of the population was too low to access ordinary bank loans and could only access subsidies or high-interest rate credits, Opengela included a financial mechanism (a mix of public and private funds) that offered loans refundable in 15 years to help those low-income households cover the full investment needed for the renovation of their homes.

12:20  A new social housing district and system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muris Kodzaga (Hilfswerk International)

12:30  Guidelines for renovating social and affordable districts – the technical component, Paula Ferrando (GNE Finance), Nerea Gómez (ECTP)

12:40  Panel Discussion with Gyorgy Sumeghy (Habitat for Humanity), Alberto Rubio (Valencia Region Government), Laura Colini (IUAV / Tesserae), and Andoni Hidalgo (Opengela), Muris        Kodzaga (Hilfswerk International)

Tapas y Prácticas (networking event)


With the development of sensor and network communication technologies, data generation from buildings has increased dramatically in the past years. Extracting value from consumption data, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, makes the building adaptable to the exact needs of the users and optimise the construction and renovation process. In this session, frontrunners will showcase their applications of data analysis and invited to discuss how to improve the way small and medium sized housing providers access data science expertise and learn from their accumulated data to help improve energy efficiency or optimise decision making.

At the end of the session, we will introduce societal concerns to the discussion, namely how are residents involved in the process and how to avoid technology or vendor lock-in.

14:00   Leveraging data integration solutions to upgrade the building stock, Leandro Madrazo (Ramon Llull University)

14:10   How machine learning can improve decision making in social housing, Elissaios Sarmas (National Technical University of Athens)

14:20   “Energy Savings Verification Service”: increasing trust on Energy Performance Contracts, Guillermo Andrés Nieto (Veolia)

14:30   Panel discussion with Barbara Steenbergen (International Union of Tenants),Timo Wanke (Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies), and Leandro Madrazo (URL), Guillermo Andrés Nieto (Veolia), Elissaios Sarmas (NTUA).



9th June 2023


@ VIP Room, Palau de Congressos, Barcelona


As far as new systems for the Renovation Wave are concerned, applying circular principles to construction and renovation has captured the imagination of both practitioners and policy level actors alike. However, the field is arguably still at the level of experimentation. Most examples stem from research led experiments or grassroots movements led by highly motivated individuals working together. This indicates lower SLR or TLR levels and the need to investigate further. This session will provide examples of the latest technologies and systems using circular principles. The discussion afterwards will be precisely centred on what transformations are needed to advance this field further and bring it to market and potentially mainstream adoption by housing providers.

9:00      Alexis Versele, KU Leuven

The University of Leuven has developed a prototype of a steel and wood prefabricated house that can be used to provide temporary accommodation to refugees or residents while their house is being renovated. The house can be assembled and disassembled in a short time. Design for Disassembly and Adaptation principles were followed where materials and the structure are designed to be easily re-used.

9:10      Gaetano Bertino, Alchemia Nova

Alchemia Nova creates out-of-the-box solutions by combining different disciplines. They connect the dots and use a systemic thinking approach for possible disruptive and game-changing innovations that are fit for future. Their leitmotif includes research, development and education as well as productisation, selling & consulting of circular economy and nature-based solutions.

9:20      Lorena Rodríguez Lara, Bio EcoMatter

The Bio-EcoMatter project, in coherence with the EU Green Deal, aims at a more circular and efficient economy of the construction sector by developing a new mortar without cement and sand, fully composed by Secondary Raw Material (SRM). The objective was the characterization and validation of a new bio-mortar to meet the technical requirements and standards for the commercialization of the product, replacing traditional mortars at a reduced cost and with high environmental benefits.

9:30 Panel Discussion and Q&A

Moderator: Beatriz Pineda Revilla, RMIT



To provide the expected comfort and services, buildings consume energy and emit greenhouse gases in different quantity depending on their envelope’s performance, but also on their operation and energy equipment. Following the session focused on the latest applications of circularity, this session will provide an overview on different energy efficiency systems.


Urbanscape® is a cover name for a range of innovative products, concepts and systems which can be used in numerous applications. They combine the key aspects for enhancing the Urban Environment by making it healthier for the residents.

10:40    Xavier Dubuisson, RetroKit

RetroKit is a software platform that provides a data management system and analytical tools to assist housing professionals in making evidence-based decisions for investment in energy upgrades, and save time and money in the delivery of their projects.

10:50    Otto Höller, Nettelbeckplatz

Housing Cooperative 1892 pursued an experimental and innovative renewal of a housing complex built in the 1970s. The renovation was based on an award-winning co-creation process within a wide coalition of architects, social and healthcare organisations and research teams (from the EU-funded project DREEAM) with the residents, neighbourhood committees and the staff of 1892. They opted for a balanced approach, with traditional and novel technological solutions, including battery storage of the energy provided by photovoltaic installations. To cater for different needs, the architectural solution included adaptable suitable housing sizes and floor plans as well as transformation of existing flats into shared and public spaces, which were conducive to increased sense of belonging and community.

11:00 Panel Discussion and Q&A

Beatriz Pineda Revilla, RMIT


The implementation of industrialised solutions in the renovation of districts presents several advantages compared to the traditional renovation techniques. It enables large-scale production with high productivity and quality; which allows costs to be reduced and facilitates consistent product quality. This session will present different approaches, from additive manufacturing and prefabrication to 3D scanning or other smart tools.

11:30    Juan Carlos Iquero, AM Platform

The Additive Manufacturing Technology Platform was born in 2006 as a community of European stakeholders of Additive Manufacturing (AM). It belongs to the Manufuture-EU platform, whose aim is to propose, develop and implement a strategy based on Research and Innovation, capable of speeding up the rate of industrial transformation to high-added-value products.

11:40    Oksana Talisainen, Mustamäe District

In Tallinn, Estonia, the renovation of the Mustamae district included developing standardized renovation solution model based on modular processes and prefabricated panels. The pilot project was the renovation of a dormitory for postgraduate students, which became the first multi-apartment building renovated with prefabricated panels in Estonia. The project deployed prefabricated wooden modular elements and a 3D laser scanning technology to obtain highly precise geometry of the building façades and balconies. Solar panels for electricity and hot water were also installed, together with a greywater heat recovery system, sensors and internet-based logging system to monitor energy and water consumption. The dorm now classifies as a nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB).

11:50    Paul Dufraisse, EnergieSprong – Giga Regio Factory

The aim of EnergieSprong is building for tomorrow, free of the compromise of today. They achieve this by supporting markets for energy transition, push forward the development of energy positive materials, to inspire the personal and business development needed for change and to drive forward and map the right regulations and financing schemes needed for these changes.

In this context, Greenflex also takes part of the Giga Regio Factory project, whose main objectives are: to develop an open source housing qualification tool, and a smarter aggregation strategy to launch large-scale collective zero-energy industrial renovations; to develop an accelerator of global solutions integrators, by supporting companies that integrate and assemble industrial solutions, so that they can develop 100% industrialized offers; and to develop a Giga Factory industrialization kit to enable solution providers to develop their offers and thus meet massive demand.

12:00  William Nelissen, Sociale Energy Sprong

Sociale Energie Sprong signifies a renovation concept based on economies of scale to speed up the retrofit of social housing buildings in Flanders, Belgium, while maintaining the overall cost affordable. The pilot project in Hoeselt was based on the usage of industrially prefabricated external cladding and energy modules, attached externally to the buildings’ façades. This process allowed an extraordinary 9 days of renovation works onsite, which allowing tenants to remain in the building throughout.

12:10 Panel Discussion and Q&A

Moderator: Carlos Delclos, RMIT

Tapas y Prácticas (networking event)


Digitization intends to transform the existing and new buildings into an active element rather than passive, enabling it to adapt to the dynamic environment and to occupants’ requirements. This will optimize the energy consumption and give provision of assessment of the live energy performance of a building. This session will provide an overview on different examples of digitization applied on renovation and construction in an affordable, adaptable and purpose driven manner.

13:30    Alex van der Leer, SPOTR

Inspection of a large number of buildings in seconds. AI-powered property insights at scale without having to visit on-site. Digitally inspect buildings off-site, instantly and at scale. Reduce on-site visits by having remote access to the most recent building images from all different angles. Fill your data blind spots with measurements, conditions, or specific risks associated with your properties, all 100% remote. Analyze property intelligence: locate underinsurance, improve underwriting or make data-driven decisions on maintenance.

13:40   Ian Pyburn, IES R&D Ltd

Ian Pyburn will present how to use Digital Twin Technology to optimise renovation for Social Housing. IES and Dublin City Council have been working together on a whole-life carbon Digital Twin project to optimise renovation of their social housing complexes in North Dublin. The Digital Twin assessed the whole-life carbon impact (i.e. operational and embodied) of four retrofit strategies over three time periods aligned with national targets for 2030, 2050 and beyond. As a result, public sector in Ireland will be able to make evidence-backed decisions when developing the most optimal regeneration strategy for the refurbishment of ageing social housing buildings.

13:50    Elena Conte, NEMESIS

A digital tool for the estimation of a building’s Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) using information from BIM tools, combined with Building Management Systems (BMS). With Nemesis we aim to integrate SRI and best practices for building energy efficiency with BMS providing to the building stakeholders support to improve SRI by maximising as much as possible smart readiness of building together with energy efficiency in consideration of the user comfort.

14:00   Gregory Clare, SWITCHEE

14:10   Discussion panel and Q&A

Moderator: Carlos Delclos, RMIT

Notice:  Tech Camp will be broadcasted through social media (Youtube).

Throughout the Festival

Exhibition Area and Real-time Technology Demonstrations

SMEs will showcase their market ready or close-to-market technologies.

Renovation Helpdesk

A dedicated space will be occupied with one-on-one support for local practitioners with experts from across Europe. This support will be organised under a booking-only approach, via the online Renovation Helpdesk booking system available on the Accelerator website.

The programme will be part of the 4th International Social Housing Festival (7-9 June) in Barcelona which brings more than a thousand social and affordable housing providers, policymakers, urbanists, architects, fellow NGOs, academics, and journalists. The upcoming edition is organised by Barcelona City Council and Housing Europe. Find out more about the Festival –

What can you expect from the Tech Camp?

Capacity-Building Sessions by experts in technical topics

Best practice presentations focused on affordable, high-impact technologies and technical solutions

Exhibition Area: Onsite showcase of the latest technologies & live presentations by start-ups and SMEs

Tapas y Pàcticas (lunch & networking)

Renovation Helpdesk offering one-to-one meetings with experts