2012 saw the launch of an impressive number of online portals sharing data and analysis on energy efficiency in buildings. These online portals should be profitable not only to research, consultancy and academia but also to policy makers keen to base decision making on robust data.
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Open data portals, the gateway to strong policy making
Better data is required to develop strong policies towards more energy efficient buildings. As strategies for the energy performance of buildings evolve and become more complex, policy-makers need more and better data to design and evaluate policies and programmes, make comparisons and to put in place monitoring systems that permit measurement of the progress of the various policy instruments.
Recent initiatives include IEA’s BEEP. BEEP (Building Energy Efficiency Policies) of the International Energy Agency was the first data base to be launched in 2012 and was directly awarded an industry prize (Energy Efficiency Innovator Award for the best international energy efficiency project 2012). It positions itself as a ‘global one stop shop’ for building energy codes, labelling and incentive schemes implemented in the 28 IEA member countries, BRICS countries and Tunisia and provides information on more than 400 building energy codes, 200 labelling schemes and 200 incentive schemes. The IEA presents the BEEP database as part of its Sustainable Building Centre (SBC), IEA’s hub for buildings energy efficiency policies.
Another data portal launched last year is the BPIE’s data hub for the energy performance of buildings and related policies in Europe. The comprehensive open data portal presents facts and figures collected for Europe’s Buildings under the Microscope study (2011). The data hub provides the possibility to access country profiles, search specific parameters, generate overviews and graphs as well as screen the underlying data. The tool allows for cross-country comparisons and cost free downloads. The data hub will be enriched with additional topics and information generated through data exchange projects and research partnerships. BPIE is inviting other organisations to contribute their data and to join BPIE in increasing transparency about the energy performance of the European building stock.
Launched late in 2011, the UK CIBSE Knowledge Portal gives its members access to search and download the vast essentially technical library of CIBSE, the CIBSE Guides, CIBSE Commissioning Codes, Applications Manuals, Technical Memoranda, Lighting Guides and more. This UK focused building services reference tool – that is not cost free- also provides links to other building services publications and abstracts of British Standards carefully selected to be relevant to building services engineers. The objective is to help members design projects, specify equipment and help deliver high-performance buildings.
Wuppertal’s bigEE, a new international knowledge platform on energy efficiency in buildings was launched in Doha. This platform intends to offer a single source for information on energy efficiency in buildings but of a very different type in comparison to BEEP and BPIE. bigEE claims to offer a comprehensive and user-friendly overview of worldwide know-how on energy-efficient design and technological solutions as well as policy options, amended with good practice examples. The information (not yet complete) is structured in three guides: buildings, policy and appliances. bigEE is aimed at facilitating the daily work of policy-makers and decision-makers in the private sector, as well as actors involved in construction and refurbishment or implementation of policies and energy services. The project is co-ordinated by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
The MURE database provides information on energy efficiency policies and measures that have been carried out in the EU. Energy efficiency in several sectors is addressed: households, tertiary, industry and transport. It enables simulation and comparison at a national level of the potential impact of energy efficiency measures. MURE was developed by a team of European experts, led by ISIS (Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems, Rome) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI (Germany). A network of correspondents within energy efficiency agencies guarantees the continuous updating of the database.
The other IEA database on energy efficiency, available only for member countries, is called the Energy Efficiency Indicators Database. Similar to ODYSSEE, it is a database of energy efficiency policies including the buildings sector. ODYSSEE is a database on energy efficiency indicators in Europe. It presents a large set of publications such as country profiles, sectorial profiles, national reports and free indicators through a data mapper.
More specialised data on building typology and building standards
More specialised data can be found, such as the TABULA web tool. This is focused exclusively on national building typologies and is targeted to building experts from all European countries.
There are also databases providing energy consumption data and buildings characteristics based on specific concepts/standards/labels. Here just a few examples:
- International Passive House Database: Here you will find detailed documentation of completed Passive Houses from all over the world.
- MINERGIE® Database: Here you can find documentation on the list of building.
Networking and stakeholder platforms
Launched in 2009, BUILD UP is a European Commission initiative aiming to reduce the energy consumption of buildings across Europe. www.buildup.eu promotes the effective implementation of energy saving measures in buildings and offers free access to a wide range of information on best practices, technologies and legislation for energy reduction. Via the interactive BUILD UP web portal, building professionals, public authorities and building occupants across Europe can easily share experiences, knowledge and best practices. Upon invitation by the European Commission, 51 BUILD UP Partners commit themselves to share, on the interactive BUILD UP web portal, their experience on how to cut energy consumption in buildings. Register now!
Construction21 is a multi-stakeholder collaborative platform dedicated to all professionals active in the sustainable building sector. Active users can exchange information and feedback, develop their network and engage in the thematic communities. Access to the website is free and content is created by users and moderated by recognized experts. In 2012 Construction21 is launching six national platforms in France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Spain. These are linked together via a central platform in English connected to BUILD UP.
More to come…
The Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) launches an open data global collaborative Knowledge Platform (www.gbpn.org) in February aiming to support better decision-making to help the building sector reduce its impact on climate change. It enables researchers, building professionals, members of governmental institutions and multilateral organisations, and experts involved in building performance policy development to gather around a common participatory tool and a common goal: stimulating collective research and analysis on best policies to deliver the global abatement potential from buildings. Among the innovative features to be available, a Policy Comparative Tool enabling comparisons of the world’s best practice policies for new buildings.