Certification bodies:Pilot testing ENERBUILD
Within the ENERBUILD project, not only an evaluation of 46 buildings within the Alpine Region to test the ENERBUILD Tool has taken place, but also a testing of 5 Certification bodies and Advisory services.
- 1 Alessandria: Testing of certification body
- 2 Vorarlberg: testing of certification body
- 3 Source
Alessandria: Testing of certification body
In recent years the Region of Piemonte, like other Italian regions, has started performing energy saving assessments on buildings based on the ITACA Protocol. The awarding of financial grants from the Region is subject to the attainment of a determined score fixed by the ITACA Protocol.
The Province of Alessandria does not have juridical power to enforce a new certification system based on the ENERBUILD Tool or to propose its enforcement at a Regional level, except in special cases as is the one reported above, in which the buildings are owned by the Province. For these buildings, the Province of Alessandria has chosen to apply the ENERBUILD Tool in addition to the ITACA Protocol.
Future reflections will facilitate decision on whether or not the criteria introduced by the ENERBUILD Tool can be suitable for the Region of Piedmont and the Province of Alessandria.
The experience gained in evaluating sample buildings through the use of the ENERBUILD Tool within the activity of the ENERBUILD project has resulted in a close cooperation with a number of professionals and firms (1 to 5 staff members each) who have developed the capacity to provide assistance in the use of the ENERBUILD Tool as a certification tool for buildings.
A series of meetings will be held, which will promote the ENERBUILD Tool as a working instrument for the professionals involved in the energy reclamation projects that the Province of Alessandria is planning to submit. The evaluation of the project results will be carried out by the consultants. Technical developments and changes in the legal groundwork impose that the content of the ENERBUILD Tool be regularly updated. Constant adjustments and coordination of regional and national activities are necessary. To this end, synergies are recommended to prevent the tools from „drifting apart” in a long-term transnational exchange. The goal should be to create an international platform, displaying all the evaluations tools used at regional levels. Pilot applications of the ENERBUILD Tools should be further promoted and supported.
The Province of Alessandria will take action to disseminate the ENERBUILD Tool among the communes comprised in its jurisdiction.
Vorarlberg: testing of certification body
Establishment of advisory services and certification bodies in Vorarlberg
Since the end of the 1990 years private builders in Vorarlberg receive housing subsidies, in case a high energetic and ecological standard is converted. Due to this long experience of the consideration of energetic and ecological building criteria the planners and craftsmen are familiar with it. In the past years the call became loud for an adjustment of the guidelines for the payment of state promotions for municipalities for buildings above ground level. Municipalities, which generate a higher energetic and ecological building standard than others should receive higher subsidies.
Since 2006 an „advisory service” exists as support for public buildings on community-level. Therefore a „certification service” was established in the ENERBUILD project. Object and task of the certification service is to issue an independent building certification „Kommunalgebäudeausweis - KGA”. The state subsidies for community buildings depend on the results (points) of the KGA certification.
In December 2010 the Vorarlberg federal state government decided the adjustment of the guidelines for the grant of federal state subsidies concordantly. The basis promotion according to different building types was reduced by 2%. In reverse extra amounts up to 4% can be generated in dependence of the energetic and ecological performance of the buildings (calculated points in the KGA). Additionally the height of the upper limit of the accepted building costs has been increased in dependence of the points in the KGA. Under the leadership of the „Environmental Federation of Vorarlberg” (Umweltverband Vorarlberg - an association of all 96 municipalities in Vorarlberg) 6 private technical offices were trained to offer this certification service. These small offices are not involved in the planning and execution process of the respective building.
Process of certification
Step 1: The municipality/city defines in advance an appropriate number of points to achieve in the KGA as an „ecological goal„.
Step 2: During the planning and execution process of the building-project the appropriate measures are converted. If desired the environmental federation of Vorarlberg supports the municipality/city.
Step 3: Within 3 months after deployment of the building the KGA certification document has to be submitted. While facilitating all relevant documents the costs for the KGA certification are limited to 1.600 Euros.
Requirements for certification tool and certification body
For a broad application of a certification tool for buildings it is important that the criterion set is not too complex. The process should be highly cost effective. The criteria should be generally understandable and be clearly described in the application explanations. If possible common building calculation methods should be used. A special challenge was to guarantee the greatest possible simplification with as less losses of the content as possible.
During the establishment of the certification service it appears very important, that the persons, which should be trained, are familiar with the contents „energy efficiency" and „building ecology". Appropriate practice tests (application of the tools) during the training appeared to be as essentially important.
An annual exchange between the KGA issuer and the public authorities secure the quality of the certifications. Due to experience data there is an annually (slight) adjustment of the criteria and their weighting within a multi stakeholder process scheduled. The guidelines for the grant of subsidies will be decided also annually by the Vorarlberg Federal State Government.
Due to technical developments and changes of the legal basic conditions it appears necessary to hold contents of the ENERBUILD Tools updated. Constant adjustments and coordination of regional and national activities are necessary. For this synergies can be used and a drifting apart of the used tools can be avoided at a long-term transnational exchange. The ENERBUILD Tool was developed together with transnational project partners within the ENERBUILD project. It was adjusted to the basic conditions of Vorarlberg in coordination with the local and federal state authorities. The goal should be an international platform, on which all regionally used building rating tools are shown. Pilot applications of the ENERBUILD Tools - special for outstanding projects - should be further supported and marketed. Regionally (in Vorarlberg) the tool should be used also for non-municipality public buildings (e.g. national- and federal schools). This should be promoted accordingly. The public work inclusive marketing of the results should be forced.
Resumee and Conclusion
The testing of the ENERBUILD Tool documents the operable structure of the tool. In particular the comprehension, usability, cost effectiveness, regional adaptability of the tool. This is supported by the positive feedback of the established advisory services and certification bodies. Additional the project partners made some suggestions for improvements on criteria level.
The regional adaptation and implementation of the ENERBUILD Tool into the public subsidiary system of public buildings in Vorarlberg in 2011 and the scheduled implementation of the ENERBUILD Tool in the province Alessandria in 2012 shows the applicability within the existing building market.
Andrea Moro integrates the ENERBUILD Tool into the international debate on the assessments of buildings. In his study „Comparison of Assessment Labels” he prescripts the position of the ENERBUILD Tool as following „The transnational comparison of main the existing labels shows the absence of a common approach. […] Common public policies and common market actions would need a common reference certification. […] It would be necessary to identify at European level a common set of key criteria (and relative indicators) that should be adopted by the national/regional labels in the way to allow the comparison of buildings performance. In this sense an interregional tool like ENERBUILD Tool can play a key role. ENERBUILD Tool is already a synthesis of the most important building assessment criteria in the Alpine region, having been recognized by all the project partners. From ENERBUILD Tool it would be possible to extract the most significant indicators that could be part of the European common set.”
The next steps are:
- the improvement of the tool (water – consumption, spatial planning, energy efficiency and energy production (photovoltaic)
- the exchange of the ENERBUILD Tool and its evaluation results on the European level
- capitalizations of the positive experiences and knowledge in the different Alpine regions as well as in other European areas