ENERBUILD tool

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The ENERBUILD Tool is an interregional assessment tool to evaluate the environmental, social and economic performance of public buildings in the Alpine regions. It is an output of the ENERBUILD project.

The base of the ENERBUILD tool has been developed in the INTERREG IIIB project NENA and the region of Vorarlberg. The preliminary tool has been applied in the region.

The ENERBUILD tool is a forerunner of the CESBA tool developed and applied in the CEC5 project. It has many similarities with the Municipal Building Pass of Vorarlberg.

Introduction: Origin of the ENERBUILD tool

Since 20 years the Government of Vorarlberg applies and develops continuously a system of building assessments for nearly all housing buildings (new and refurbishment). This system is linked to the building law as well as to the governmental subsidy system. The objectives are highest building standards applied by building owners, SMEs and administration. Therefore the system should have low entry barriers, easy to adapte and low cost in the execution.

During the project the ENERBUILD Tool has been regionally adapted in Vorarlberg towards the KGA – Komunaler Gebäude Ausweis. Since January 2011 the Government of Vorarlberg has linked its subsidy system for community based public buildings (municipal office building, compulsory schools inclusive general-purpose and gymnasia, cultural halls, nursing homes) with the KGA.

Along with the tool a set of services, computation tools and data bases were developed. They can be used for public procurement and decision making processes. For the municipality that offers a transparent and comprehensible basis for the evaluation of the application of sustainability goals. Further it offers an understandable basis for communication and switching of the qualities of a public building.

General information on the tool

The ENERBUILD Tool and its catalog of criteria serves for to the documentation and evaluation of the energetic and ecological quality of newly built public buildings. The tool takes over on the one hand international standards (e.g. passive house standard) and/or on the other hand regional adaptable standards. The tool can be easily adapted towards other building types or regional demands.


The evaluation of buildings takes place two steps:

  • At the time of the submission
  • At the time of the completion of building


The assessment of buildings is based on a point system of a maximum of 1.000 points. Those points are divided into five assessment categories:

Five assessment categories of the ENERBUILD tool

In general these points exceed the maximum score per category and in total. Sometimes quality investments exclude each other while both are wise for fulfilling the general target. Therefore the investor shall have the possibility to choose without losing the opportunity to achieve maximum score. Too the strength in one category shall be limited and in harmony with the other categories.

In each evaluation column there are differently weighted criteria. The criteria are differentiated between must critera and auxiliary criteria. The sum of the scores of all single criteria of a column can lie more highly, than the maximum score specified above.

The tool illustrates the number area 0 to 1.000, whereby it is valid that higher sustainability standard is linked to higher points.

For the determination of the points of evaluation in the individual categories a manual with a detailed description is provided. The declaration of the building quality is based the criteria and its explanations in the manual. In the manual too the list of nessessary documents is specified. The documents are needed to counterproof the assessment by a certification body.

Individual categories are determined on basis by computation tools. For individual categories computation programs (Excel based tools e.g. Ecosoft 4.0.) are necessary for the calculation of the points.

The ENERBUILD tool in comparison to other environmental labels

Andrea Moro, PP Piemonte discussed in the study „Transnational comparison of instruments according to ecological evaluation of public buildings”, the position of the ENERBUILD Tool and existing labelsamong other important assessment tools in the Alpine area.

The framework of the Enerbuild Tool is the following:

Criteria of ENERBUILD tool May 2010

Users

Users


As for all the other compared labels (excluding Protocollo ITACA Regione Piemonte), the potential users of Enerbuild Tool are all the main stakeholders of the building sector.

Time and physical extends

Physical boundaries

As the majority of the compared labels, the physical boundaries Enerbuild Tool are the building and its relative site. The tool is not applicable at the neighborhood scale.

Time boundaries

Time boundaries

As the majority of labels, Enerbuild Tool is applicable to all life cycle stages of a building, excluding operation.

The building assessment takes place in two main stages:

  • presentation of the design technical documentation for validation;
  • construction completion.

The Pre-design phase is considered of particular importance in the tool and this aspect reflects the intended use of the tool mainly for public buildings.

Building uses

Building uses

Also in this case, Enerbuild Tool as the majority of labels is applicable to the uses that generally are considered the most important: offices, schools and residential buildings.

Structure of the assessment system

Number of hierarchic levels 2
Number of issues at top level 5
Number of issues at middle level 0
Number of criteria (low level) 16
Number of environmental criteria 11
Number of social criteria 4
Number of economic criteria 1
Percentage of quantitative criteria 69%
Number of mandatory criteria 5

The mean number of issues for the compared labels is 3. Enerbuild Tool presents only two levels: assessment areas and criteria. This aspect reflects the simple structure of the tool that includes only 16 criteria. The compact size of Enerbuild Tool should favour the time efficiency in its application.

The majority of criteria are related to the environmental issues. But, nevertheless the small total number of criteria in the tool, all the sustainability issues are taken in account.

The percentage of quantitative criteria is very high, in comparison with the labels analyzed in the study. This means that Enerbuild Tool allows performing god objective assessments, requiring the calculation of many quantitative indicators. Most of the qualitative criteria are in the „Process and planning” assessment area that, in a coherent way, has more an educational scope.

The mandatory criteria indicate that the focus of the tool is on energy, that is considered the most important issue in the tool. At contrary, because Enerbuild Tool is contextualized to Alps, there aren’t criteria dealing with water consumptions. Water has not been considered a relevant sustainability aspect for buildings in the Alpine regions.

On the base of criteria weights in the tool, the most important criterion results to be the E1 „OI3TGH-lc ecological index of the thermal building envelope (respectively OI3 of the total mass of the building)”. The indicator associated to the criterion is quite complex and significant for the whole performance of the building with regard to construction materials. This is the reason of the high weight of the criterion. The energy issues are assessed by several criteria and their combined weight makes energy the most important aspect.

Criteria by issues (Environmental, Social, Economic)

Criteria by issues

Criteria by weight

Criteria by weight


Pilot testing of ENERBUILD tool on 46 Buildings and experiences on advisory services

Read about the Pilot evaluations of the ENERBUILD tool

The ENERBUILD tool criteria compared with the LEED credits

Within the transnationel pilot testing of the ENERBUILD tool on 46 buildings within the Alpine space, also a comparison between the LEED criteria was conducted. Read the article on the Comparison between ENERBUILD criteria and Leed credits by Trento.

Conclusion:The ENERBUILD tool

The Enerbuild Tool results well structured with regard to its scope: assessment of public buildings.

In particular:

  • the compact number of criteria facilitate its application on public buildings (time effective);
  • the tool reflects all the sustainability issues: environmental, economic and social;
  • the tool results well contextualized for the Alpine regions (well balanced weight distribution among the criteria);
  • most of the criteria are quantitative (more objective assessment);
  • the time and physical boundaries are aligned with the majority of the existing labels.

Reports about testing and assessing the ENERBUILD tool

References

ENERBUILD Tool: Transnational Pilot Testing on 46 Buildings and Experiences on Advisory Services (2012)