Bilbao – University Campus

The first demo site, is an Office Building of the Basque University in northern Spain – Leioa, Bilbao.


The University was built in the 1970’s and is owned and managed by the University of the Basque Country University. The retrofitted area includes the rectors’ offices for the University and the Kinder garden school which covers an area of 9200 m2. It is a four-story concrete framed building consisting of three blocks (east, central and west).


The entire building envelope will be retrofitted with the new external super‐insulated system. The southern windows will be replaced with the new reversible window systems and the northern windows will be replaced with low‐e windows.


The internal lighting will be replaced with a smart lighting system, combining natural light, led systems and an intelligent control over the entire occupied area.

Solar Type/Solar Collector System

A thermal solar collector system will be installed within the building to produce the required water temperatures for the hot water supply in the heating system and for satisfactory cooling performance for the building during the heating season.

Ventilation Type

A centralized hybrid ventilation with heat recovery system will be installed with optimized economizer operation for free cooling.

Heating and Cooling Facilities

Cooling will be provided by the installation of a building dual thermal substation supplied by the on-site solar collector system and the district heating network.

A cool water distribution pipe system will deliver the cooling to the diffusion sub-system that will consist of 2 pipe fancoils deployed on the rooms of the refurbished area. Additional thermostatic control valves will be installed on the radiators and automated actuators will be fitted in order to enable presence detection and window status driven control strategies.

A short term thermal storage will be installed in order to improve the design and performance, of the solar collector system as well as optimizing it integration with the building thermal substation.

Domestic Hot Water

The DHW consumption of the building is negligible.


The rector’s offices will be installed with:

3502 m2 of external ventilated façade with the intention of reducing the thermal fluxes through the opaque façade thus warrantying proper hygrothermal performance for preventing early degradation and reduced service life.

Two reversible windows covering an area of 11.7 m2 will be installed in the southern oriented façade of the west block to small offices.

Additionally, 1394.5m2 of high performance windows will replace the existing single glazed wooden frames and double glazed aluminium windows without thermal breaks.




The existing luminaires in the west block will be replaced with 512 integrated smart luminaires where 27 of these are hybrids and will be located to the darkest areas of the second story in the western block. These luminaires will be connected to 5 solar collectors installed on the rooftop providing natural lighting and recommended lighting levels to the work spaces with minimum power consumption through the innovative control system deployed within the project.





The roof-top and overhangs of west and mid-block will be fitted with the VIP insulating material to improve insulation properties and reduce thermal bridging.

To improve the indoor air quality in the western block, an air handling unit will be installed to each of the four stories in the building.





Extensive retrofitting works were carried out at the offices and nursery of the Leioa University. The initial envelope retrofitting works designated for the building increased to cover 3502m2 of external facade covering 3 blocks of the 4 storey office building. Two reversible windows were installed into an office on the southern façade and 512 luminaires were installed in which 27 were hybrids using 5 solar collectors. Additional high performance windows replaced the existing double glazed aluminium framed windows. Certain preparatory works were carried out such as removing or replacing some of the brise soleils with attention given to columns and thermal bridging. The nursery was completed first with the installation of the external ventilated façade and the fiber optic lighting. The light quality inside was significantly improved using a mixture of fiber optic lighting and LEDs. As part of the retrofitting monitoring process, extensive number of photos were taken at critical points of construction and these are recorded in depth. A small number of these are shown in the slideshows. The slideshow below show the installation process of the external ventilated façade.

Further slides record the installation of the lighting in the main office. It should be noted that the building was occupied during works so extra measures were taken regarding health and safety considerations. The results will be provided at the end of the project in February and will be provided in the final newsletter.