Renovation activities are hampered by a range of factors: the unsatisfactory level of interoperability of construction project software tools, the fragmentation of the life cycle of the building, and discontinuities in the flow of information. In addition, users often observe disparities between the estimated and actual energy performance of a building, while renovations rarely exploit the potential synergies of working at the neighbourhood level. The EU-funded NewTREND project addressed these issues by developing "a collaborative design methodology for the energy efficiency upgrade of individual buildings and districts," says Project Coordinator Nick Purshouse. "The NewTREND toolkit was created to support all phases, from concept design to implementation and operation, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, involving inhabitants and building users, and having energy efficiency and final performance as key drivers." Technology as an enabler NewTREND scientists developed an advanced suite of software and web tools. They comprise an interactive web-based data manager, a Collaborative Design Platform, Technology (and business model) Library, District Information Model Server, Simulation and Design Hub. These tools tackle such diverse requirements as data collection, communication among all stakeholders, project and integrated design methodology management, sharing of information models, simulations of buildings' current state, potential retrofit scenarios, and simulation and result analyses. Multiple expected impacts End users have a great deal to gain from NewTREND's tools. One of its main impacts is the more effective refurbishment of buildings and districts. Enabling actors to make validated choices during refurbishment processes based on quantified performance objectives is another key benefit. A further advantage is the optimised design of energy-efficient buildings that takes energy, comfort, acoustics, air-quality and other important variables into account. The tools will also advance compliance with regulations and user-oriented comfort expectations and constraints. NewTREND's tools facilitate near-real-time decision-making. This saves time and money during the construction phase, where all related decisions have been virtually pre-validated. As a result, system clashes are reduced, improving the control of both the schedule and the project budget. Project partners successfully tested and demonstrated the methodology and tools at three demo sites in Finland, Hungary and Spain. According to Purshouse, in late 2018 they will finalise plans to take the products to market. "NewTREND promotes cooperation among all key actors in the value chain, engaging occupants and building users, and supporting all phases of the renovation,” concludes Purshouse. "In this way, the project will improve the energy efficiency of the existing European building stock and improve the current renovation rate."
NewTREND, buildings, renovation, retrofit, refurbishment, building stock