Towards a new generation of user-centred Energy Performance Assessment and Certification; facilitated and empowered by the EPB Center (U-CERT)

U-CERT project is an international project co-funded by the by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme (LC-SC3-EE-5-2018-2019-2020 – Next-generation of Energy Performance Assessment and Certification).

Challenge

Assessment and energy certification procedures must become more reliable, user-friendly, cost-effective, high-quality, comparable and in line with EU regulations, in order to achieve the purpose of building confidence in and promoting investment in energy-efficient buildings. They must contain the “smart” aspect of buildings (Smart Readiness Indicator – SRI).

Aim

The main aim of U-CERT is to introduce a next generation of user-centred Energy Performance Assessment and Certification Scheme to evaluate buildings in a holistic and cost-effective manner by:

  • Facilitating convergence of quality and reliability, using the EPB standards developed under the M/480 mandate, enabling a technology neutral approach that is transparently presenting the national and regional choices on a comparable basis.
  • Encouraging the development and application of holistic user-centred innovative solutions, including the smart readiness of buildings (SRI).
  • Encouraging and supporting end-users in decision making (e.g. on deep renovation), nudging for better purchasing and instilling trust by making visible added (building) value, using EPCs.

U-CERT has a focus on strengthening the actual implementation of EPBD by providing and applying insights from the user perspective and creating a level-playing field for sharing implementation experience to all involved stakeholders, facilitated and empowered by the EPB Center.

In accordance with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, all EU countries have established independent energy certification systems for buildings, including independent control mechanisms. Energy performance certificates (EPCs) are one of the most important sources of information on the energy performance of the European building stock, but there are still obstacles to overcome for the successful introduction of EPCs as effective tools to support the revised Building Energy Performance Directive (EPBD2).

One of the main obstacles is the user’s understanding and acceptance of EPCs, which are limited by user friendliness, reliability – and thus lack of credibility – and cost-effectiveness. The role of IRI UL in the project is to support the understanding of how EPCs are used in practice, which will be done through ethnographic research.

Another obstacle is that some of the certification and evaluation systems are not fully in line with EU regulations, which is necessary to build market confidence and encourage investment and support decision-making, both on new energy efficient buildings and on holistic renovations. In addition, EPCs often fail to credibly evaluate the impact of innovative technical solutions on the energy performance of buildings, thereby discouraging and limiting bolder solutions that could have a significant impact on the market.

Objectives

  • Promoting and facilitating co-creation and introduction of a new generation of energy certification systems for buildings with broad support.
  • Improving new certification systems through a holistic and user-centred approach to make EPCs more practical, reliable and understandable.
  • Make new certification schemes easily accessible to a wide range of users and stakeholders through the services of the EPB Center.
  • Providing evidence of the usefulness of the developed schemes by testing the U-CERT approach in selected demo cases.
  • Promote EU-wide efforts by motivating and activating EU stakeholders and national certification and standardization bodies.

Project partners:

Project duration

  • 1.9. 2019 – 31. 8. 2022 (36 months)

Total eligible costs

  • 1 999 423,75 €

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