How energy performance certificates support the deep renovation

QualDeEPC has had its final conference on how Energy Performance Certification can support the deep renovation. Read more about the conclusions in this article.

How energy performance certificates support the deep renovation

There is room for improvement in energy savings in the building sector, mainly through refurbishing Europe’s existing building stock. Amongst the measures introduced in the EU to boost energy savings is Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), providing buildings and owners with an incentive to invest in improving energy efficiency. In addition to improving the practical implementation of the assessment, issuance, design, and use of EPCs, QualDeEPC has focused on deep renovation recommendations.

All the progress made since the start of the project in 2019 has kept the deep renovation measures at its core. During the final conference of QualDeEPC, partners presented the new EPC template, tools developed, and policy recommendations drafted during the project.

Joined by Stefan Thomas, Wuppertal Institute and coordinator of QualDeEPC, in the first-panel discussion, Adrian Joyce, EuroACE, witnessed a lot of improvement in EPCs’ usefulness. He insisted that QualDeEPC’s recommendation with the aim to “increase coverage of the building stock” is the most important. Having an EPC for every building is crucial to be able to develop adequate policy. The policy situation at the EU level at the time of the event was still very active. For Andreas Androutsopoulos, CRES and member of the CA EPBD, a majority of the QualDeEPC’s recommendations are very welcome, but his number one priority would be “more restrictive minimum requirements in regard to energy performance”. The enforcement of measures is central, he said. They all agreed that it was equally essential to have EPCs for more buildings and better quality EPCs for those that already have one.

During the second panel discussion, representatives of the Next Gen EPCerts H2020 cluster which is the hub of the H2020 projects working on EPC joined the event and discussed the relations with QualDeEPC’s work. Milka Hrbud, REGEA, representing CrossCert mentioned resolving the status quo of EPBs in Europe and assessing the performance gap, increasing the value of EPBs (e.g. with roadmaps), user-friendliness and recommendations across the EU. She added that the traffic light system is very useful. Andrei Litiu, REHVA, representing U-Cert and EPB Center, highlighted the policy recommendations and stakeholder networks. Jana Bendzalova, ENBEE, representing EPC RECAST, explained that their project’s focus is on technical developments & toolboxes, but that policy recommendations and user-friendly design are important topics.

For Paris Fokaides, Frederick University, representing D²EPC & SmartLivingEPC, the results of QualDeEPC will be the occasion to gain knowledge about the central aspect that is operational rating – the development of a new standard for the operational rating of buildings. There are a lot of gaps and open questions, also with regard to infrastructure development and the development of smart buildings. Collaboration about these topics will be a major outcome for the entire Next Gen EPCerts cluster, he said. Finally, Vivian Dorizas, BPIE, explained that iBRoad2ePC is working on a Building Renovation Passport (BRP) – a roadmap with steps that need to be followed to improve the performance. Very similar to the EPC template and the online tools developed by QualDeEPC, she insisted that the aim is not to create new tools and methodologies, but look at what is there and expand.

Pau Garcia Audi, DG ENER, concluded the day by stating that an agreement on EPCs will likely not be reached until the beginning of 2023 delaying the finalisation of the directive and leaving little time for implementation at the national level. It is clear that EPCs need to be cheaper, faster, and easier to digitalize, to anticipate higher demand in the future.