oPEN Lab | EU Project Reports

All oPEN Lab EU project reports will progressively become available in this section.

WP 1 – Set up and operation of the PEN living labs


This document provides the approach and methodology on how innovators – beyond the oPEN
Lab project consortium partners – can be involved via the Open Call. This to test and validate
their innovative solutions with end-users under real market conditions at one or more of the
three oPEN Living Lab sites. This document presents the foundations of the oPEN Lab Open
Call and the considerations made by the consortium during its co-design and developing phase
to achieve the end objectives.
The methodological approach to set out the process of the Open Call for innovators revolves
around the ENoLL Living Lab framework for enacting open innovation of Positive Energy
Neighbourhoods in Europe.
The process identified by this document for the oPEN Lab Open Call will lead to a series of
activities in the upcoming months within the project, and more in detail with the aim to:
• Launch the call for innovators on 16 January 2023.
• Evaluate the applications between 21 February and 21 March 2023.
• Select the innovators in collaboration with the three oPEN Living Labs in March 2023.
• Start the implementation phase from April 2023 onwards.


This Capacity Building Handbook and Mentoring Report is a practical guide to support setting up and implementing Positive Energy Neighbourhoods (PENs) using a Living Lab approach. As important drivers of transformational change for the successful decarbonisation of the European building stock, PENs seek an integrated, participatory and neighbourhood-based approach to maximise the impact of innovative energy systems. Living Labs facilitate this change by co-designing solutions with citizens through open and user innovation.

Through the oPEN Lab project, three Living Labs at Genk (Belgium), Tartu (Estonia) and Pamplona (Spain) have been working extensively to establish their Living Labs focused on PENs’ development. This Capacity Building Handbook summarises the methodology and key outcomes of applying Living Lab concepts, methods, and tools in the three oPEN Labs from September 2021 to March 2023. It also presents multiple examples from existing Living Labs around Europe.

WP 2 – Co-creation, community and value chain engagement for user-centric PENs


This report describes the need for more integration of two sectors that are currently involved in the building projects but on rather parallel tracks: the energy and the construction sectors. In energy-driven construction, early involvement of energy actors is crucial, especially in Positive Energy Neighbourhoods (PEN).

The document’s first section outlines the value chain, actors, and integration challenges. It emphasises the early involvement of energy actors. The second section evaluates current collaboration methods, considering applicability, suitability for public procurement, and support for early integration. The goal is to enhance design phase collaboration for more successful and sustainable projects.

WP 4 – Industrial construction and renovation workflows


This report outlines the findings of the oPEN Lab project’s research aimed at enhancing building renovation processes through digitalization, with a focus on prefabrication. The study utilizes detailed BIM models and laser scan data to establish a seamless connection between digital tools and manufacturing processes. The primary achievement is a workflow proposal, “optimized scenario: integrated renovation process,” which streamlines renovation efforts, minimizing time, resources, and environmental impact. The proposed approach can be applied to various project scales and prefabricated solutions.

The report encompasses definitions, stakeholder roles, and digitalization advancements in renovation. It delineates three scenarios: a baseline representing traditional renovation, an improved scenario integrating prefabrication, and an optimized scenario emphasizing early stakeholder involvement and digital tools like BIM, CAM, and GIS. The latter offers reduced duplications, errors, and costs, aligning with the project’s goals. The workflow underwent testing in oPEN Lab Living Labs for refinement. The report suggests applying this integrated approach to upcoming renovation projects and evaluating its impact using Key Performance Indicators.

WP 7 – Exploitation: steering market uptake and PENs roll-out


The report shares key insights from EU policies underpinning the PEN approach, including:

  • A harmonised definition and framework for PENs is needed to enable assessment of progress towards policy goals.
  • Tailored actions and policies are needed to protect vulnerable households and mitigate energy poverty, including supporting access to renovation and renewable energy systems.
  • Financing solutions must be better designed to benefit the income groups that need them.
  • Assessment methods of social and environmental co-benefits of PENs are needed to enable access to public and private environmental, social & governance finance.