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AZEB - Affordable Zero Energy Buildings



AZEB (Affordable Zero Energy Buildings) is a EU project funded by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program which aims to foster the diffusion of nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) through the definition of a methodology to reduce costs along the entire lifecycle of the building, in parallel with an optimization of the energy, comfort and environmental performance.

In the 30-month project 8 partners from Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, France and The Netherlands work together till October 2019.

The main steps of the AZEB project are:

  • Evaluate available experience and solutions
  • Create a common methodology for cost reduction
  • Apply the methodology to demonstration projects
  • Finalise the methodology including lessons learned
  • Disseminate the results

AZEB Projectpartners

Official website


Prof. Lorenzo Pagliano


Silvia Erba, PhD


Energy Sufficiency in (strongly intertwined) Building and City Design. Examples for temperate and mediterranean climates. L.Pagliano, S. Erba 2019

At eceee 2019 Summer Study “Is efficient Sufficient?” Prof. Lorenzo Pagliano discusses how new «smart districts» and city re-design should and might include efficiency and sufficiency-enabling physical features with a focus on the emerging issue of summer comfort under a warming climate. A preliminary relevant question is if current policies are able to promote opportunities or there is a need to adapt those policies and how. Low cost technologies and design options for zero energy buildings developed in AZEB are the main topic of the presentation.




Present and future potential of natural night ventilation in nZEBs. S. Erba, A. Sangalli, L. Pagliano 2019

During the international conference “SBE19 - Resilient Built Environment for Sustainable Mediterranean Countries” organised by PoliMi (Campus Leonardo, Politecnico di Milano) from 4th to 5th September 2019, Dr. Silvia Erba presented the peer-reviewed paper “Present and future potential of natural night ventilation in nZEBs” which investigates the effects and the potential of natural night ventilation, as a strategy to reduce the energy need for cooling even taking into account the evolution of surrounding urban area with the exacerbation of urban heat island under future weather projections.

Directive 2010/31/EU states that “Recent years have seen a rise in the number of air-conditioning systems in European countries. This creates considerable problems at peak load times, increasing the cost of electricity and disrupting the energy balance. Priority should be given to strategies which enhance the thermal performance of buildings during the summer period. To that end, there should be focus on measures which avoid overheating, such as shading and sufficient thermal capacity in the building construction, and further development and application of passive cooling techniques, primarily those that improve indoor climatic conditions and the microclimate around buildings”.

The study on natural night ventilation was developed within the framework of the project AZEB which explores low cost strategies to realize affordable nearly zero energy buildings.




Energy consumption, thermal comfort and load match: study of a monitored nearly Zero Energy Building in Mediterranean climate”. S. Erba, L. Pagliano, S. Shandiz, M. Pietrobon 2019

Several definitions of Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) exist in literature and different implementations of the term can be found in National laws/regulations. The differences among the Member States in nomenclature and definition of the main indicators often lead to incomparable results and difficulties in transfer and diffusion of technologies across the EU. The paper aims to investigate the topic of ZEB by clarifying the meaning of nearly ZEB and Net ZEB through the application of the definitions in a case study of a high-performance building (certified Passivhaus) located in Sicily, Italy.

The importance of using a proper nomenclature and definitions has been consistently emphasised in AZEB project, especially in deliverable D2.1 "Definition of indicators and essessment methods for cost effective nZEB and Energy+ Buildings" which provides definitions for the main relevant aspects of building performance and building costs. Also, it shows some available methods to allow these aspects to be evaluated by indicators and relevant measuring units.