Data-driven tools to assess Energy Efficiency: First EERAdata Workshop

In this blog, we discuss EERAdata’s first stakeholder workshop, which focused on the outputs of the EERAdata Decision-Support Tool at the administrative, strategical and technical level. 

The EERAdata project is developing a Decision-Support tool (DST) enabling regional and municipal policymakers to plan and prioritise energy efficiency (EE) investments in buildings based on a holistic assessment of their building data.

EERAdata aims to create a hands-on, user-friendly solution responding to the needs of its future users. Thus, the daily routine, internal processes, existing frameworks and needs of the municipal stakeholders have a high priority in the development process.

As part of a series of workshops focused on stakeholder needs, the project conducted its first online stakeholder workshop on January 20, 2021. The consortium presented insights into the methodologies, development and progress of the EERAdata DST.

Public decision-makers, municipal representatives, scientists and technical experts from the implementing countries, Slovenia, Denmark, and Spain, as well as interested stakeholders from the UK and Germany were invited to discuss our initial results on the multiple benefits of building renovation and to provide input on what they expect from the outcomes of the EERAdata project.

This workshop focused on answering the following questions:

  • What features would the stakeholders like to have integrated?
  • Which processes would they use the tool for?
  • What would they do with the related datasets and scenario parameters?
  • Whom would they present the results to?

The workshop started with an impulse lecture about the 5 assessment modules of the EERAdata DST. The methodology expands the common building energy efficiency assessment, which is mostly based on energy consumption calculation, with 5 impact quantification modules that address socio-economic and environmental impacts. The participants were introduced to the first insights on the outcomes, the numbers, and categories within the following modules:

  1. Energy consumption: energy and emission savings
  2. Indoor climate: indoor air quality, productivity of occupants, health effects
  3. Life-cycle assessment: resource use, embedded energy, life-cycle environmental effects
  4. Socio-economic assessment: economic impacts (job creation, tax revenues, etc), health impacts, environmental impacts (outdoor air pollution, cost of CO2 emissions), asset values, fuel poverty, energy import dependency, etc.
  5. Supply-side investments (renewable energies): assesses the benefits of the same investment in sustainable supply side solutions and compares it with the results from the energy efficiency side.

Attendees were then invited into three workshop groups, in which they focused on the reporting functionalities and output data of the EERAdata DST. The participants also investigated the results of the tool from various angles and perspectives, discussing their experiences, needs and challenges with the developers.

Before getting into the technical details of the tool itself, we attempted to identify the most valuable functions of the EERAdata DST. The most desired outcome was the depiction of socio-economic and environmental values in payback periods, as well as an in-depth life-cycle cost/benefit analysis. Most users, however, felt that a sensitivity analysis function could help them understand how high-quality data improves the output of calculations and what data must be collected from municipalities to generate worthy results.

A key result, which was identified in this workshop, was the value of the underlying databases that are created within the EERAdata project. They contain a mix of default scientific data, statistical data and real user data in a comprehensive assessment matrix. Having these values integrated into the mentioned methodologies proved to be very interesting for future applications.

Another key suggestion from the end-users was to improve the visual representation of the project results: a Geographic Information System (GIS) would serve as the basis for building selection and results representation. By clicking on the building, the user would be able to access all necessary information and the socio-economic assessment results which are calculated after energy efficiency measures have been virtually conducted. Thereon, bar-charts, time-based scenarios and printable reports will be available.

The next workshops are already in preparation and we will get in touch with our stakeholder network as soon as the dates have been determined.

If you are interested to know more, watch the EERAdata webinar and a clip of this stakeholder workshop.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847101.