HIT2GAP is a four-year project which began in September 2015 and will run to September 2019. Its aim is to reduce the gap between the theoretical energy performance of buildings and the actual consumption in use, by focusing on what happens, and on what could be done, while a building is in operation.
A typical office building will use much more energy than the design team and client expected at the design and construction phases. An innovative project called 'HIT2GAP' is now seeking to solve this problem, in order to help to reduce the gap between the anticipated energy use of a building and what actually happens once the building is occupied. The reasons for 'the gap' relate to the fact that the design and construction of a building involves compromises, construction issues ad unforeseen behaviours, some of which will have an energy impact.
For example, the difference between the theory of putting together the building and the complexity of doing this on a building site means that construction defects can arise as the building is assembled. Once the building has been constructed, the commissioning of heating, cooling and ventilation introduce further inefficiencies in the overall performance of the building. Finally, the people who occupy buildings introduce unpredictable needs and behaviours, some of which will lead to higher energy consumption.
All of these factors can contribute to the energy consumption of the building being higher than had originally been anticipated. Furthermore, renewable energy devices and other building services do not always work well with each other, and this can reduce the overall savings from devices designed to save energy.
HIT2GAP cannot solve all of these problems and while the project is focused specifically on eliminating some of the wastage of energy in buildings in use, it can also help identify other contributory factors such as construction defects.
Inclusivity, Equality and Gender Balance
We believe that a diverse workforce is beneficial both to research and to society as a whole and that the rights of all, including wider gender and non-gender related equality issues should be fully respected and the contributions and skills of all should be recognised equally. Furthermore, European policies of equal opportunities between women and men are enshrined in the Treaty of the European Union and in the HIT2GAP project we agreed to make special efforts to address this in setting up and managing this particular project.
Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty establish equality between women and men as a specific task of the Community, as well as a horizontal objective affecting all Community tasks. The Treaty seeks not only to eliminate inequalities, but also to promote equality. Monitoring the progress toward gender equality in science has become a well-established activity of the European Union research policy.
The professional skills required for the HIT2GAP project have in the past attracted more men than women. The HIT2GAP consortium indeed, recognises that it has an opportunity to redress the current imbalance by specific efforts to attract women into the project activities. Special provisions have been made to secure a presence of women in the HIT2GAP consortium, with an aim of securing up in the region of 30% women. Three WPs have been assigned to women managers. The project has adopted a policy of positive discrimination in favour of women - but it is hoped that this will lead to a trend that becomes natural and not forced. Similarly, there has been a policy of assigning the right person for the job-ensuring that the quality of staff is maintained at the expected high standard and that in all cases; each candidate is appropriately qualified for the task which he/she undertakes.
We believe that, more than securing access to women to key positions in HIT2GAP itself, it is even more important to set a visible example. To this extent, the project consortium agreed that HIT2GAP would consistently report on these matters, in a special section in the homepage of its website. These reported figures will be based on actual, time-sheet originating information. In this way we could argue that HIT2GAP sets a paradigm and contributes to true monitoring of the progress towards gender equality, as requested in EU policies in the area.
We hope that HIT2GAP demonstrates an Equality and inclusivity approach that is above reproach and that it points the way to tackling any systemic barriers that limit who participates in this field. This means demonstrating by our actions, new ways to promote new and more diverse voices-there should be no barriers to succeed in our field.
The consortium comprises 22 main partners - 7 of which have women project leaders. Overall the project involves approximately 12 women from a total of 35 participants. The leaders of the Work Packages reflect our commitment and are as follows: