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Next-generation Dynamic Digital EPCs for Enhanced Quality and User Awareness

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - D^2EPC (Next-generation Dynamic Digital EPCs for Enhanced Quality and User Awareness)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

Considering that buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of the final energy demand and 36% of CO2 emissions, EU has proposed a set of directives and policy tools towards phasing out inefficient buildings. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) comprise an essential part of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and are a mandatory requirement in Member States when constructing, selling or renting a building. According to existing practices, energy performance certificates are issued at the early stages of the building construction, thus they fail to present the actual energy behaviour of the building over time, while for a large number of properties there is little or no correlation between EPC ratings and actual energy performance. Although the EPC calculation process is based on a comprehensive set of standards, it still overlooks some important determinant attributes such as indoor air quality and daylight, which can negatively impact on occupants’ experience in buildings. The revised EPBD (2018/844/EU) requires the integration of human centric elements to the energy performance calculations as well as Smart Readiness Indicators (SRI) into the energy calculation procedure. Although significant progress has been achieved in the past decade in the field of buildings digital design with the use of advanced tools, most of the software used in EU MSs is based on simplified architecture. In this context, D^2EPC aspires to deliver the next-generation of dynamic EPCs for the operational and regular assessment of buildings energy performance through a set of cutting-edge digital design and monitoring tools and services. D^2EPC relies upon and adjusts accordingly to the smart-readiness level of the buildings and the corresponding data collection infrastructure and management systems. It subsequently builds upon actual data and the ‘digital twin’ concept to calculate energy, environmental, financial and human comfort indicators. In this context, D^2EPC will be based on BIM literacy, integrating smart meters, actual performance-related data and activities profiling into the buildings’ digital twins. The proposed scheme will provide sufficient background for the redefinition of EPC related policies, through regular benchmarking and upgrade of the reference buildings, as well as with the integration of geolocation and “polluter pay” practices into the EPC rationale.
D^2EPC has performed an initial analysis on the methodologies currently used for the issuance of EPCs on a European level and has highlighted the key features that should be taken into consideration as well as the needs and requirements of the major players and the market. Investing upon those findings, a concrete and consise definition and design of the D^2EPC System Architecture was prepared, summarizing the technical and functional design aspects, including the D^2EPC Business scenarios. From the technical perspective, the D^2EPC IoT Framework responsible for the acquisition, processing and streaming of the real-life information collected from the project’s pilot buildings has been defined, constituted on the basis of Hypertech’s solution. Furthermore, a detailed overview of the current status on the SRIs definition was performed and an allocation of IFC entities with SRI functionality levels was conducted. Towards a successful assessment of the human comfort and wellbeing, the corresponding performance indicators were formed on well-defined and measurable environmental metrics originating from the building’s raw data stepping on three separate Indoor Environmental Quality domains. Furthermore, the Level(s) approach was used to develop the D^2EPC environmental indicators while the financial indicators are based on the well-established concept of whole life cycle costing (LCC). In other technical aspects, a dedicated tool i.e. the Asset Rating Module, for the asset energy performance rating of buildings based on ISO 52000 series of Standards was developed and delivered in Python programming language. In the same context, the methodology for the operational energy performance rating of buildings was developed, including a complete list of 25 data results from 4 categories. In addition, the first version of the D^2EPC Manual was delivered to provide to the EPC assessor an overview of the different aspects of the D^2EPC scheme. It is worth mentioning that the D^2EPC WebGIS tool has been designed while for its implementation, only free and open source libraries/tools have been utilized.
On other horizontal activities, identification of pilot status and thorough description of existing infrastructure have been realised. Initial interfaces have been designed for the asset and operational rating module as well as for the WebGIS application. In terms of dissemination and communication, a detailed plan has been delivered as well as relevant dissemination material (brochure, flyer, website, brand etc.) while D^2EPC participated in various workshops and events, including common activities with the sister projects.
The project goes beyond the state of the art in multiple fields. Starting with the EPC methodology, the project develops and delivers a dedicated tool for the asset energy performance rating of buildings according to existing European standards (EN ISO 52000 series) while it also aims to introduce and establish the concept of the dynamic EPC (dEPC), an operational certificate to be calculated and issued regularly. D^2EPC examines energy performance calculations based on the actual energy consumption of the building and develops and delivers a methodology for the operational energy performance ratings of buildings. More information can be found in D5.3 D^2EPC Manual. Further to the above, D^2EPC aims to introduce additional set of indicators and provide a more comprehensive and meaningful document. In particular, these indicators include SRI, LCA, LCC and human comfort/ wellbeing indicators (available under the respective WP2 deliverables).
Concerning the EPC calculation procedure, D^2EPC applies the concept of digital twin to connect and fuse data. This process is expected to provide a more realistic representation of the building and its energy characteristics as well as reduce the required efforts for producing an EPC. Further to that, the project emphasizes on the vision of next generation EPCs being an extensive data source of building’s energy performance. This is highlighted by the additional D^2EPC services and tools, currently being developed within WP4 for performance monitoring, upgrade and benchmarking. In particular, the Added Value Services Suite and the Extended Applications Toolkit will maximize the potential impact of EPCs in terms of building assessment and increase user acceptance. Initial steps towards these advancements are described in the D^2EPC architecture (D1.4). Finally, the WebGIS Tool provides a single easy-to-use online 3D GIS tool with all the necessary ‘energy-wise’ information available at a building scale.
On top of the described R&D results, the project’s impact is highlighted by the two available publications so far and the participation in numerous dissemination activities and events as invited project. It should be noted that during this period, at least three additional publications were submitted (paper conference or journal).
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