Facade Leasing is a pilot project that aims to improve buildings’ energy performance and reduce their environmental impact, by leasing integrated façades to building owners.

The problem

Within the EU, buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of energy consumption and 36 per cent of CO2 emissions. Older buildings can be up to 20 times as inefficient in their energy usage as new ones – and around one-third of Europe’s building stock is more than 50 years old.

Renovating buildings’ façades can improve energy performance and reduce energy demand, but current systems of production and consumption are based on a ‘take, make and dispose’ model, which uses energy and creates waste and pollution along the way. Conventional façades also tend to be part of larger, centralised control systems, which are often inefficient.

The solution

Façade Leasing is a pilot scheme, led by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), that aims to explore how the construction industry can work together to lease façades through the use of long-term service contracts. 

The project has two aims: first, to de-materialise this part of the construction industry by shifting the current business model to product-service-systems, in which materials can be recovered and repurposed, reducing the environmental impact. Second, when façades are integrated into buildings with different technologies, they can vastly improve energy performance, making cost savings on energy consumption and reducing carbon emissions.

The impact

In September 2016 a consortium, including component suppliers and façade fabricators, replaced a section of the façade on a low-rise building at TU Delft for one year.

The Façade Leasing team has also organised a series of workshops with both supply and demand industry partners to help develop energy service contracts, financing structures and operational services, and to propose new products and ideas to facilitate the practical implementation of façades through performance contracts.

EIT Climate-KIC’s involvement

TU Delft applied to EIT Climate-KIC’s Pathfinder programme in 2015. Receiving an EIT Climate-KIC Pathfinder grant was critical in getting the project off the ground; it enabled the team to hire a dedicated researcher and to spend time working with the supply chain while generating interest in the proposals among the business community.  

“Being awarded a grant from Climate-KIC sends a signal to the market and helps kick-start the trust process,” says Professor Tillmann Klein, Head of the Façade Research Group at TU Delft. “In innovation, if you can cover that high-risk part, that’s half the battle.”