Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) need better data and harmonisation to catalyse ‘renovation wave’ of EU building stock. Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs) are one of the best available sources of information on Europe’s building stock, however major improvements are still needed in order to increase trust in and uptake of energy saving measures, according to a study published by the H2020 project X-tendo. To catalyse energy renovation, the tool must provide a more reliable, standardised service, tailored for end-users.
Introduced by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) in 2002, EPCs are a rating scheme that summarise the energy efficiency of buildings in the European Union.
The building is given a rating between A (Very efficient), and G (Inefficient), and includes tips on the most cost-effective ways to improve a building’s energy rating. (see more)
According to the X-tendo report, different implementation approaches across European countries have hampered the potential of EPCs to increase trust in energy saving measures and accelerate market growth across the EU. The result has been a diverse set of instruments, varying in terms of scope and available information which leads to limited reliability, lack of compliance, and low market penetration and end-user acceptance. A collection of different survey results shows that end-users tend not to trust EPCs in countries where the system is not well-developed, such as Bulgaria and Poland. However, the story is different for countries like Portugal where the system is better designed: the large majority of Portuguese respondents admitted to trusting EPCs for advice on energy renovation.
Jonathan Volt, author of the report and Project Manager at BPIE, the Buildings Performance Institute Europe, says, “Good practices from all over Europe have shown that an EPC can become more than just an informative tool – it is already accelerating uptake of building renovations in countries such as the UK, Denmark, Portugal and Belgium, thanks to increased consumer and investor trust in energy saving measures. However, to trigger a ‘renovation wave’ in Europe and truly scale up building renovations, we need better quality data, better implementation processes, a harmonised understanding of EPC, and comparability across countries.”
The report suggests a number of innovative approaches to handling EPC data, and to maximising their value for building owners and other end-users. Information on financial support alongside EPC recommendations, for example, can help persuade building users to undertake energy saving measures. In Scotland, homeowners can access an interest-free loan for energy improvements if they apply for improvements recommended in an EPC. In Portugal, the EPC is used to check conformity with programme requirements, investments needed and potential energy savings, and inform financial institutions.
Volt continues, “With better data on EU building stock, Energy Performance Certificates can also empower policy makers, enabling them to monitor the impact of policies and financial support schemes. Now more than ever, with the European Commission’s goal of climate-neutrality and the need to provide sustainable and measurable economic recovery strategies, optimising tools like EPC should be at the front of their minds.”
X-tendo aims to support public authorities in the transition towards improved compliance, reliability, usability and convergence of next-generation energy performance assessment and certification by developing and testing 10 innovative features for the next-generation of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). The main tool to support public officers is the modular X-tendo toolbox, that covers different features of innovative indicators as well as innovative data handling approaches.
X-tendo brings together a highly experienced consortium of four specialist institutions in technical and communication activities (forming the technical board and communication board) and organisations involved in implementing EPC schemes in nine countries (thus called implementing partners).
Consortium: 13 Project Partners from 9 countries: TU Wien (AT), the Energy Saving Trust (UK), Enea (IT), EASt (AT), Danish Energy Agency (DK), TREA (EE), VITO (BE), AAECR (RO), e-think (AT), BPIE (BE), ADENE (PT), NAPE (PL), CRES (GR).
The implementing countries represent 43% of the EU population and 40% of the EU building stock. With the additional public bodies from Germany, France and Belgium, participating at the advisory board and contributing to the project, respectively 75% and 74% of the EU population and building stock is being represented under the X-tendo project.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847056.
(In Figure: share of registered EPC ratings across the EU. Belgium and the UK have regional EPC regimes and statistics. Norway, while not being a Member State, is following EU EPC regulations. Data has been gathered from national databases when attainable, CA EPBD and the Building Stock Observatory.)
– BYinnovation is Media Partner of BPIE