Smart technologies in buildings can be a cost-effective means to assist in creating healthier and more comfortable buildings with a lower energy use and carbon impact and can also facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources in future energy systems. One of the focal points of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is to better tap this potential of smart technologies in the building sector.
As part of this focus, the EPBD sets out provisions to establish a “Smart Readiness Indicator” (SRI) as an instrument for rating the smart readiness of buildings. This optional common EU scheme will assess the technological readiness of buildings to interact with their occupants, to interact with connected energy grids and to operate more efficiently.
The aim of the SRI is to raise awareness of the benefits of smarter building technologies and functionalities and make their added value more tangible for building users, owners, tenants, and smart service providers. It seeks to support technology innovation in the building sector and create an incentive for the integration of cutting-edge smart technologies in buildings.
The European Commission services (DG ENERGY) commissioned and supervised two studies with the aim of providing technical support to feed into the discussions on a common methodology and potential implementation pathways of this indicator.
The outcomes are structured to help guide the establishment of the SRI by the European Commission and Member States and inform the development of related delegated and implementing acts, in accordance with the provisions of the EPBD.
A first technical study proposed a definition and draft methodology for the SRI. The second technical support study has built further on the available knowledge to deliver the technical inputs needed to refine and finalise the definition of the SRI and the associated calculation methodology.
Both technical studies have been carried out in close collaboration with the stakeholder community, e.g. through open consultations, five plenary stakeholder meetings, surveys, and collection of written feedback on draft reports, and via input received from three topical stakeholder working groups. The technical study team has observed a broad consensus among stakeholders on the key principles and methodological choices of the SRI.
A beta version of the methodology was tested on a voluntary basis during an open public testing phase, which resulted in 112 assessments being conducted by interested actors across the EU.
This provided confirmation of the viability of the approach and led to further improvements of the consolidated methodology.
Furthermore, the studies explored various options for the implementation of the SRI in order for the Commission Services and Member States to be informed of the possible arrangements for an effective implementation of the SRI scheme and the associated potential impacts. The EU impact analysis indicates that significant net beneficial benefits can result from implementing the SRI instrument across the European Union.
In conclusion, the technical support studies have developed and tested a viable definition and assessment methodology for the SRI. The proposed approach is aligned with the objectives set out in the EPBD, produces acceptably consistent results, can be readily implemented and has been shown to provide useful information to building users.
It has been extensively reviewed and appears to enjoy broadly-based support across a wide range of stakeholders, suggesting that it could be an adequate basis to support an effective implementation of the SRI including, where relevant, further testing at Member State level.