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High-quality Energy Performance Assessment and Certification in Europe Accelerating Deep Energy Renovation (QualDeEPC)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - QualDeEPC (High-quality Energy Performance Assessment and Certification in Europe Accelerating Deep Energy Renovation (QualDeEPC))

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

Considering that 40% of the European Union’s energy consumption can be traced back to its buildings, it is essential to improve their energy efficiency in order to achieve the EU’s energy efficiency targets. Both the rate of energy renovation and its depth, i.e. the amount of energy savings during a renovation, need to be improved.
An important instrument to enhance the market uptake of energy-efficient new buildings and the energy-efficient renovation of existing buildings are the Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), required by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) of the European Commission.
The EPC schemes offer an objective estimate of a building’s energy efficiency under normal use and cover many of the aspects for the long-term renovation strategies required by the EPBD. However, there are several challenges to overcome in order to increase market confidence and incite investments in energy efficient buildings, such as enhanced reliability, quality of the renovation recommendations, cost-effectiveness, and compliance with relevant EU standards and the EPBD.

The Horizon2020 funded project QualDeEPC aims to enhance (1) the quality and cross-EU convergence of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) schemes, and (2) the link between EPCs and deep renovation.
QualDeEPC works on EU-wide convergence of the building assessment and the issuance, design, and use of quality-enhanced EPCs as well as their recommendations for building renovation. The aim is to make these recommendations coherent with deep energy renovation towards a nearly-zero energy building stock by 2050. Under the coordination of the Wuppertal Institute, the project partners work to create consensus in the participating countries and beyond, and to implement as many improvements as possible during the project period, involving certification bodies, energy agencies, building sector and certification stakeholders, and other relevant organisations.

The QualDeEPC project is carried out with eleven partners from eight different European countries over a period of three years. In order to reach the objectives, the project organises its activities in four stages:
1. Analysis of existing EPC schemes, good practice, shortcomings, and priorities for improvement
2. Development and testing of concrete proposals and tools for enhanced EPC assessment, certification and verification, as well as Deep Renovation Network Platforms
3. Adaptation to country needs and implementation of consensus elements, as well as developing a roadmap for further dialogue, and
4. Development of a sustainability strategy and conclusive policy recommendations for regional, national, and transnational dialogue, and transfer.

QualDeEPC will stimulate action for enhanced EPC schemes by (1) intensive dialogue involving the important stakeholders at all levels from the very beginning in the above four project stages and (2) disseminating its findings among the relevant target audiences in Europe.
In October 2019, the QualDeEPC consortium representing eleven institutions from eight countries held its kick-off meeting in Brussels, Belgium. The 20 attendees set the path of QualDeEPC as a project, e.g. discussing methodologies and state of the art at national level, as well as the scope of engagement and deliverables of the partners.
Early in 2020, the first series of QualDeEPC national workshops was successfully conducted in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Spain and Sweden. The expert workshops were held with the aim to develop priorities of options for enhanced EPC schemes, e.g. an improved user-oriented design of EPCs, by compiling the shortcomings of existing EPC schemes at national level and opportunities for their improvement in the respective countries.
In June 2020, QualDeEPC concluded the work on the analysis of current practices and priorities for next-generation EPC’s (WP2) resulting in the following four public deliverables:
• D2.1 Report on local EPC situation and cross-country comparison matrix
• D2.2 Report on EPC best practices
• D2.3 Report on EPC short-comings and national priority approaches to their resolution
• D2.4 Development Strategy Plan for the development of next generation EPC schemes
With the latest deliverable D3.1 „Green paper on good practice in EPC assessment, certification, and use“ the project participants provide further analysis, policy proposals, and draft descriptions of tools on the following priorities for the development of enhanced EPC schemes:
• Improving the recommendations for renovation, which are provided on the EPCs, towards deep energy renovation
• Online tool for comparing EPC recommendations to deep energy renovation recommendations
• Creating Deep Renovation Network Platforms
• Regular mandatory EPC assessor training on assessment and recommendations required for certification/accreditation and registry
• High user-friendliness of the EPC
• Voluntary/mandatory advertising guidelines for EPCs
• Improving compliance with the mandatory use of EPCs in real estate advertisements

This Green paper has been discussed in an EU expert-level workshop in January 2021. At the same time, a series of national workshops in the project partner countries started. In parallel, the test phase of an improved, user-friendly EPC form and of the recommendations for deep energy renovation on the basis of almost 100 example buildings starts.
Like all ongoing H2020 projects, QualDeEPC has faced the limitations in research related work and project management due to covid-19. While face-to-face partner meetings could be transferred to online events, some work package progresses were partly on hold due to the restricting national regulations. Nevertheless, the consortium was able to exchange and discuss results to commonly work on project outputs. These have considerably advanced knowledge on EPC schemes and the needs and possibilities for enhancing them beyond the state of the art. Almost 50 potential improvements for building assessment and the issuance, design, and use of quality-enhanced EPCs as well as their recommendations for building renovation, and for supporting tools have been thoroughly analysed, and the above-mentioned priorities for development by the project have been identified and advanced to a draft concept stage. This progress has been documented in the above-mentioned deliverables D2.1 to D2.4 from WP 2 and the deliverable D3.1 „Green paper on good practice in EPC assessment, certification, and use“.
Events like the joint webinar “Catalysing the EU Renovation Wave in the transition to the next-generation Energy Performance Certificates” hosted by BUILD UP, the European Portal For Energy Efficiency In Buildings, were also conducted online.
Based on the results from the EU expert-level workshop, the national project workshops and example buildings, the Green Paper will be further developed into the "White paper on good practice in EPC assessment, certification, and use". In the further course of the project, the adapted online tool and the "Deep Renovation Network Platform" with information offers by August 2022 will be implemented – as far as possible. The remaining results usually require implementation by legislation or the competent authorities. Therefore, in two further rounds of national workshops, an EU-level conference, and other communication and dissemination work, the practical implementation will be actively promoted by the project team.
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