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Building on experience

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There are many factors that can influence a building's energy performance that a simulation cannot take into account. This is why one EU-funded project has gathered experience-based input from other building and energy stakeholders on what worked - and what didn't. The result is enbuibench, a platform where users can compare a building's energy use against other buildings with similar characteristics.

Europe is known for its valuable built environment, which includes many historic homes and beautiful buildings. But peel back this façade and you’ll find that many are grossly inefficient. In fact, Europe’s buildings consume 40% of all the energy used across the continent and, in doing so, are responsible for 36% of all CO2 emissions.


“These buildings are low hanging fruit for improving our carbon footprint and meeting the EU’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050,” says Roberto Lollini, group leader in energy efficient buildings at Eurac Research and ExcEED project coordinator. “But this requires us to not only have a better understanding of the existing building stock, but to use this knowledge to improve its quality and performance via dedicated, tailored actions.”


By seamlessly integrating data on a building’s features and related energy performance into the enbuibench platform, the EU-funded ExcEED project is raising awareness on how different types of buildings perform in practice. “With the enbuibench platform, we’re transforming data into information and knowledge that can be used to enhance energy efficiency while ensuring a healthy and comfortable environment,” adds Lollini.


Experience-based input


When an architect, engineer, or contractor wants to improve a building’s efficiency, they typically base their design on simulations. Although these simulations can provide a good idea of how a building will perform, it’s still only an indication. “There are so many factors that can influence actual performance that a simulation simply cannot take into account,” explains Lollini. “This is when the experience-based input from other building and energy stakeholders on what worked – and what didn’t – would prove invaluable.”


With the enbuibench platform, Europe now has a framework to store and process measured quantitative and qualitative data. This unique platform allows users, including energy service companies (ESCOs), energy managers, and designers, to analyse and benchmark their buildings’ energy use against other buildings with similar characteristics.


“Collecting exploitable design and operational data for a representative stock of new and renovated buildings across Europe gives the building sector valuable insights into assumed and actualised energy performance,” says Lollini. “It also allows one to easily identify what needs to be changed, leading not only to improved design practices, but also to better environmental practices.”


Read the full news here.