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Next Zero Energy Buildings at Lowest Cost by Using Competitive Sustainable Technology


EU contribution
Total costs
Funding programme
Topic EeB.ENERGY.2011.8.1-1: Demonstration of very low energy new buildings


The NEXT-Buildings project focused on low energy buildings also called active houses, which are not only buildings but active components in the overall integrated energy systems. The target was to demonstrate affordable solutions for social housing and the revitalisation of town areas. The solutions were supposed to reduce CO2 at no or negative cost seen in a total perspective. The targeted CO2 reduction cost was minus € 80/tonne taking the benefits of lower energy bills into account, to even better figures when national grants are included. It is possible to simultaneously save CO2 and money! A key barrier is an initial investment.

The three demonstrators were Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Lyon (France) and Helsingborg (Sweden). In Amsterdam, an old harbour area close to the city centre was developed as a climate neutral, water-rich neighbourhood. SPL Lyon-Confluence set very ambitious energy targets for their P-Plot building: this building should have a balanced energy consumption calculated in primary energy. The Kvarteret Isbanan area was registered and evaluated on multiple parameters for 10 eco topics before, during design and in the evaluation. The houses were built as passive houses and supplemented with renewable energy supply, making the houses active.

The three pilots have a total gross floor area of about 50000 m2. All set the standard for future developments. Within all demonstrations, there was a strong emphasis on the demonstration of competitive techniques like wastewater heat recovery. Demonstrations of ICT-based inhabitant energy feedback systems were included. Existing systems were improved and new ones developed. A system for neighbourhood load control was developed and demonstrated.


Project demonstration sites


For first lessons, please have a look at the journal article "Demonstration projects of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: Lessons from end-user experiences in Amsterdam, Helsingborg, and Lyon", written by Nicolien van der Grija, Frans van der Woerd, Bruno Gaiddon, Reto Hummelshøj, Mia Larsson, Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa, Rudy Rooth and published in Energy Research & Social Science,Volume 49, March 2019.


developed and demonstrated.

The expected impact of the three demonstrators was:

  • 88% reduction in energy use and 0.003Mt of CO2 savings per year
  • 50,000m2 of new build efficient area
  • 366 dwellings involved and an estimated 970 end users engaged
  • 1,500 – 20,000 people reached by dissemination activity
  • 4% return on investment
  • EUR 50 million investment from project partners
  • Key training actions: training of designers
  • 5 technologies taken to market.

The following innovative technologies were also being developed in NEXT-Buildings: 

  • Dual function insulation/photovoltaic building elements
  • Innovative windows
  • ICT solutions.

Building aspects

  • Building Energy Services
  • cooling (only)
  • Building Energy Services
  • heating and cooling and DHW
  • Building Energy Services
  • other please specify
  • Installed Renewable Energy Sources
  • photovoltaic - building integrated
  • Technology used to supply the buildings
  • absorption chiller
  • Technology used to supply the buildings
  • micro CHP
  • Technology used to supply the buildings
  • other please specify
  • Technology used to supply the buildings
  • thermal storage

Thematic Field

  • New Building(s)


NEXT-BUILDINGS_Report on market relevant parameters of the intelligent window
NEXT-BUILDINGS_Report on P plot overall construction process


Rudy Rooth
Gemeente Amsterdam
The Netherlands