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Quality Management Investments for Energy Efficiency

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - QUEST (Quality Management Investments for Energy Efficiency)

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2022-05-31

The main goal of QUEST was to increase investments in Sustainability and Energy Efficiency of buildings by providing an easy-to-follow methodology for evaluating the risks associated with these investments. The risks attributed by investors to Energy Efficiency projects mainly stem from insecurity around the energy and cost savings, since predicted energy savings are unfortunately very often much higher than the actual savings achieved.

Within QUEST this issue has been tackled by identifying and empirically risk-grading factors that influence energy performance of buildings. Leveraging existing data and QUEST-led stakeholder workshops, QUEST has created an Energy Efficiency risk appraisal method to de-risk investment decisions through the integration of effective quality management services into Energy Efficiency projects:

• QUEST drafted an online-tool, the QUEST tool, that allows the approximation of cost and added value of quality management services for any given building project. Due to the minimal information required for the estimation, the tool can be used in early stages of real estate development to have budgets for quality management services properly allocated (https://quest-tool.synavision.de/ ).
• QUEST also drafted a methodology, the QUEST data engine, to evaluate the added value of quality management services using pre- and post-project evaluations. These cover basic panel data (like size, occupancy rate, operational expenditures etc.), questions on the perceived technical and financial performance of a project as well as technical testing of systems.

Both approaches combined shall be used to continuously strengthen and evaluate the success of projects including data on the added value of quality management services for buildings.

The QUEST process will help financial institutions to improve risk premium calculations reliability. The core element is the online QUEST tool. Its application allows users predicting quantitatively the impact of quality management services like certification schemes (BREEAM, DGNB, LEED etc.), building commissioning (LEED, COPILOT, ICP etc.), Monitoring (AMEV, LEED etc.) on building projects. A corresponding data set for documentation, the QUEST data engine, will continuously improve the underlying empiric evidence.

As a practical and reference document, the project created the QUEST Technical Manual. It explains the underlying technical causes of quality deficits, gives guidance for the application of Quality Management Services, introduces into the application of the QUEST Tool and Data Engine, and provides templates for tender documents and procurements. Their application will help to remove risks from green investments and bring about success in the green transformation of European building stock.
Leveraging existing data and QUEST-led stakeholder workshops, QUEST created “an Energy Efficiency risk appraisal method to de-risk investment decisions through the integration of effective quality management services into Energy Efficiency projects”: For the first time, there is an easy-to-use online tool that investors can use to integrate Quality Management Services (QMS) in their projects. The QUEST tool (https://quest-tool.synavision.de/) allows to calculate cost and value add of QMS in the decisive budgeting phase of a project. To continuously improve the data foundations of the tool, QUEST has also defined a documentation data set to collect data on QMS in a unified way.
All results have been published as QUEST Technical Guidebook with support of REHVA and presented to the public on the project website (https://project-quest.eu/ ) and on numerous events.

QUEST developed a selection of certifiable processes that integrate the QUEST data engine. These certifiable processes may be used in association with, or integrated into, existing certificates such as DGNB. LEED, BREEAM etc.

The QUEST project has also defined a way to continuously apply “QUEST beyond QUEST”. Partners will remain in the national stakeholder groups and have started follow-up activities and business activities pushing QMS forward to make quality a corner stone of the Green Deal in European Buildings. These activities and the exchange between partners on a European level will be synchronized through the QUEST methodology.
By applying the QUEST methodology, it is possible for the first time for investors to calculate the added value of quality management services for their projects in the early stage of project budgeting based on empiric data and to include corresponding budgets in their projects financial planning. This will help to de-risk projects by reducing the technical performance gap that ultimately harms the financial performance of projects. Due to the proven cost-effectiveness of quality management services like Technical Monitoring and Commissioning, this will most likely improve both the economic as well as the ecologic performance of buildings.

Through the work carried out so far the methodology has been developed, but the project has not yet saved primary energy. But some building owners that apply the QUEST methodology (among them Copenhagen Airport/Denmark) have agreed to apply quality management services and have contracted those services already. QUEST has thus already triggered energy savings although they cannot be quantitatively evaluated yet. In Germany, QMS are strongly gaining attention. Regarding market demand, cost pressure and political guidance, synavision considers it likely that per year 3-5% of buildings may undergo some kind of QMS, most likely TMon. For large office buildings in Germany with more than 5.000m² floor area, we consider it realistic to expect the savings to reach 0,9 GWhPE/a or 4,5 GWhPE/a in 5 years until 2027 for this building type only and assuming savings of only 5%.

QUEST has reached mere than 4.000 stakeholders in the financial and technical sectors. 19 dissemination events within the project at national level. In France, 7 small webinars were held to inform both building professionals & financial stakeholders on how QUEST can be applied to de-risk green real estate investments. Further activities have been among others:

• On June 2nd, 2021, QUEST was presented at the AMICE congress (initially planned for September 2020) as part of a panel discussion followed by a workshop focusing solely on the QUEST methodology. This was planned as the starting point for business activities building upon the methodology beyond the QUEST project. AMICE is building up capacities and has established a new Sustainability Working Group.
• In Germany, the ECORE initiative has been founded bring together by now more then one hundred asset managers, banks, insurance companies and service providers to exchange on ESG topics and to create a new practical ESG certification scheme. synavision and COPILOT have joined ECORE and presented QUEST to members.
• In Italy, LINKS has been able to set up the non-profit entity named ATENES-AUC, an Italian acronym meaning “Association for sustainable and fair energy transition through collective self-consumption in Buildings”, that intends to commercialize QUEST results.

QUEST complements the EU’s Green Deal. We hope to advance the state of the art by cross-fertilising QUEST work with EU Taxonomy requirements to generate tools for users to verify their EU Taxonomy-compliant sustainability score.
Logo of the QUEST project