Pilots and Living Labs

Since its beginning, HAPPEN has activated 10 pilot sites across all the partner countries, in which Living Labs have been launched and case-study buildings have been selected.


In each partner country, HAPPEN has identified one or more pilot buildings, on which the solutions and the  outputs developed by HAPPEN will be tested and evaluated. Pilot activities will consist in the concrete implementation of the main modules of the HAPPEN program: this will allow to start building a library of success stories related to the application of the MedZEB approach. The HAPPEN pilots have been selected to cover a wide range of possible situations related to the residential sector; in particular, pilot sites have been divided into two main groups:

Frontrunner pilot sites

They are tracked to already on-going or planned large-scale renovation programs, carried out by Project Partners which accepted to experiment the MedZEB approach within full-scale pilot demonstrators. Frontrunner pilot sites will activate larger Urban Living Labs,  aimed to contribute to the implementation of regeneration programs where social and district-scale aspects will be relevant. –Castellón de la Plana (Comunidad Valenciana, ES): renovation of a multifamily residential building, as first test for further interventions in the city – Les Crottes (Marseilles, FR): renovation of traditional houses and historical factories from a historical neighborhood comprised in the urban regeneration perimeter of Marseilles – Milan (IT): testing of the MedZEB approach to two multifamily buildings, as representative of the private-led national scale energy retrofitting program “Riqualifichiamo in Comune”

Thematic/perspective pilot sites

They are tracked to planned or partially funded retrofitting projects,  and are aimed to widen the HAPPEN outreach to other EU Med countries, and to explore the potential extendibility of the MedZEB approach to other themes (s. a. educational, touristic, cultural facilities). In these sites, where no urban scale renovation is supported, a simplified version of the Living Lab will be implemented.
– Brezno (SI): apartment building representative of old apartment building stock in Slovenia
– Raša (Istria, HR): listed residential buildings representative of Istria new towns from the 30’s.
– Strovolos (CY): capitalization action of past EU projects regarding both residential and municipal buildings
– Athens (EL): listed residential building, now in use as Historic Museum of NKUA
– Grdelin (Istria, HR): school facility (Kindergarten) awarded for its architecture
– Paros and Nysiros islands (EL): municipal hostels in use as touristic facilities


In each pilot site, a Living Lab has been activated since the very beginning of the project, closely connected to the activities carried out on the pilot buildings, so to offer to the participants the chance of experiencing a concrete case study. All the HAPPEN Living Labs share the same basic structure, which includes the following two phases:

PHASE A – engaging actors of the retrofitting supply chain

In this phase, we have engaged the most relevant target groups of the retrofitting supply chain (such as households and owners of the pilot buildings, managers, professionals, service and materials providers, building companies, associations and media) and we have provided a two-fold training:
“Horizontal training”, bringing together all the actors of the supply chain, in order to share basic knowledge and introduce a common approach, with reference to the deep energy retrofitting of residential buildings and to the HAPPEN project.
“Vertical training” addressing each target group, in order to provide specific knowledge related to the deep energy retrofitting and to the HAPPEN project research methodologies.

PHASE B – HAPPEN incubators

This phase is related to the dissemination and exploitation of the HAPPEN outputs in their advanced version. The aim is to gather relevant feedback from the different target groups engaged and to engage further actors, such as local administrations or financial institutions. To this extent, the following actions are performed:
“Vertical training” related to the HAPPEN outputs, as a way to start the construction of the MedZEB community.
“Business Model Workshop” addressing stakeholders interested in the HAPPEN outputs, as a way to drive the final stage of the output development and to maximize their potential market impact. These workshops also aim to nurture the development of the HAPPEN Sustainability Plan.
The final outcome of the HAPPEN Living Labs experience will also be the definition of a replicable Living-Lab approach aimed to defragment the demand of deep energy retrofitting, with special reference to district level renovation programs, or to multi-property real estates.