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eXTENDing the energy performance assessment and certification schemes via a mOdular approach

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - X-tendo (eXTENDing the energy performance assessment and certification schemes via a mOdular approach)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2022-08-31

Mitigating the adverse climate impact of the buildings stock is a crucial objective of the European Union (EU). The energy performance certificate (EPC) was introduced by the EU almost 20 years ago and has continuously gained significance. The instrument still needs to overcome multiple challenges before the Europe-wide implementation can be seen as effective. At the same time EPC, with its surrounding infrastructure with trained experts and rich databases, also represents a huge opportunity for the EU. The EPCs can be an effective force that triggers a new wave of renovation activities across the EU if the full potential is explored. In order to become a catalyst for energy renovations, the next-generation EPC must provide an improved and more reliable service tailored for the end-users.
The aim of X-tendo was to support public authorities in the transition towards improved compliance, reliability, usability and convergence of next-generation energy performance assessment and certification.
The X-tendo project developed a framework of ten “next-generation EPC features”. The X-tendo partners covered ten countries or regions, including Austria, Belgium (Flanders) Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom (Scotland). The project explored the 10 features that falls into two categories :
1. New indicators used within EPC assessment processes
2. Innovative approaches to handle EPC data and maximise their value for building owners and other end-users
Some key general conclusions derived for all the features are:
- An underlying need for all the features is the establishment of right conditions and quality assurance of EPC databases at national level giving access to public and other relevant stakeholders.
- New or revised EPCs must not be burdened with a lot of new information for the end-user. Information on the first page must be prioritised for the end-user application. Thus, it should be considered which information is presented on the EPC (on paper) and which on the digital EPC or DBL.
- New features must not overload the assessor’s work which risks the quality, cost and reliability of EPCs.
- Automation and simplification of procedures are necessary for overcoming major issues regarding interoperability and data exchange.
- User-friendliness of features is highlighted as one of the most important drivers during test of all features and more research is needed in this regard, because so far, most features were tested with experts, not with end users.
- EPCs must be coherently linked with other instruments such as DBL and building renovation passports to increase their impact.
- Training is required for some features to upskill and improve the competence of the workforce responsible for delivering EPCs. Some features do not require at all, while others have methods either simple or complex with different training needs.
- New features must be voluntary in the initial stages of implementation and should be integrated once they showcase acceptance and demand in the building sector.
- All the features are compatible for different building typologies and construction period. Some features have two calculation methods, one more simple and less reliable, while other complex and more reliable and each method can fit different building typologies (e.g. detailed SRI is needed for large commercial buildings, CARP and CORP of the comfort tool can be used for school, office and residential buildings)
- Calculation methods were adjusted for individual test countries. However, this presented challenges in different aspects such as missing databases to complete calculations, measurement issues, regional restrictions due to Covid-19, etc.
- All the features have the potential to increase the uptake of renovation if implemented, however, this varies for features that are more directed toward public authorities
- Stakeholders consider GDPR to be a major barrier for many of the features. However, it requires careful evaluation at Member State level for the successful implementation, since it can be shown that the understanding GDPR issues in the context of EPC data is very different in different EU Member States
- It is important to establish partnerships and alliances between public and private stakeholders to overcome the market barriers and enable affordable solutions for the implementation of the features
- Some features demonstrate an increase in cost burden for the end-users of EPC marginally, while some need specific mechanisms to be set up for functioning (e.g. enhanced recommendations, EPC databases)
Overall, the ten features developed and tested in the X-tendo project provide a promising direction to advance the existing EPC schemes for purposes that would not only support taking necessary measures for enhancing the energy performance but extending it beyond that as well. Provision of information to owners and tenants as well as relevant market actors is necessary to give a push to renovation rate across the EU. Each feature aims to enrich the EPCs with such information that enables decision-making by stakeholders. The features developed in the project were tested in X-tendo countries, and then the experts who tested them provided deeper insights and appropriate directions, drivers and barriers investigated from social, economic, market and policy perspectives which provided a realistic estimation for its implementation and replicability across the different Member States. Quantitative impact assessments using the trigger points for each feature was conducted to evaluate the impact of feature implementation in terms of increase in share of EPCs. While it is clear that most of the features are directly useful to the end-user, others are meant for quality assurance such as EPC database, tracking progress by public authorities such as district heating, and planning and setting targets for environmental policies using outdoor air pollution feature.
Each feature is distinct in its application and entails careful planning for its implementation across the Member States. Findings stated thereof in this report from the X-tendo countries are promising and could be replicated in other Member States after careful evaluation in the context of their existing EPC regime. The developed features are provided in the form of a toolbox for the public authorities so that it enables effective implementation of more than one feature in the update of the EPC system. All the features build on existing EPC data with additional data inputs that may entail additional training for EPC assessors.
Overview features 6 to 10
Overview features 1 to 5
X-tendo features overview