The meeting was opened by Mr. Robert, policy officer at DG ENER, assigned on behalf of the European Commission with the supervision of the feasibility study.
2nd stakeholders meeting minutes
Brussels, 28 November 2019
Centre Albert Borschette, room 1.D (first floor)
Rue Froissart 36
Part II. Building renovation passport
The 2nd stakeholders' meeting on an optional building renovation passport was physically attended by 49 stakeholders representing national policy instruments, certification companies and standardisation bodies, building and property owners associations, associations of technical building suppliers, associations of architects, developers, engineers and contractors, real estate market, research & academia and think tanks & NGOs from several EU Member States.
Ms. Fabbri opened her presentation by giving a brief overview of previous steps of the study, upon which the impact analysis is based. The first step consisted of a review of existing cases that included certain elements of the broader definition of a building renovation passport, of which 16 where further detailed and analysed. Another step included the results and lessons learned from previous stakeholders’ consultations and survey. All previous evidence indicates that, when supported by other measures, building renovation passports can be effective in alleviating low awareness about renovation.
Ms. Fabbri then introduced a definition of the building renovation passport, which is refined based on the collected feedback and experience. She explains that the term ‘energy’ is purposely left out of the definition and that the ‘period of time’ is left open for different interpretations.
While opening the topic on the analysis of the feasibility, she explained there is so far little on the ground experience in Europe with building renovation passports, consisting of mainly 3 examples effective in Belgium (Flanders), Germany and France (several regional examples). She also explained that residential buildings have the largest share of the stock and potential. As the information deficit (knowledge about which renovation measures to implement, related energy savings, etc.) is larger in this sector, it makes sense to, as a first step, focus a potential launch of a building renovation passport on this sector, and in particular on single-family houses. An important note Ms. Fabbri made is that, while the building renovation passport by definition supports staged renovations, they may as well be carried out in one single occasion.
Ms. Fabbri then continued by laying out some of the most important enabling conditions for increased effectiveness of the passport, and namely:
- increased competence (skills), both for carrying out deep renovations and for issuing the building renovation passport
- technical complementarity with national calculation methodologies
- integration with existing or upcoming schemes and initiatives, e.g. energy performance certification (EPC), smart readiness indicator, long-term renovation strategies, and logbooks
- financial measures to lower the entry costs for end-users
Mr. Volt introduced the 3 main paths identified, namely
- a policy option which leaves the decision fully up to MSs
- a policy option which provides a common EU reference framework for informing MSs’ decisions and actions
- a policy option which includes a direct requirement under the EPBD
He explained that for each of these paths two scenarios have been proposed and investigated, a soft one and a more stringent one, leading to a total of 6 analysed policy packages. Each of these 6 packages includes a number of supportive measures (enabling policies, financial and legislative support). The feasibility analysis was initiated with the definition of the status quo (no formal action at EU level, Germany and Flanders/Belgium already having a building renovation passport in place). The assumptions for each of the policy packages are summarised in the table below.
Mr. Zuhaib first introduced the scope and limitations of the modelling exercise. Key facts in this included:
- that figures are estimations based on a limited availability of data, as few BRP evaluations exist
- that the status quo scenario is a trajectory based on historical trends (no integration of potential future trends)
- that the effect of climate change has not been reflected in calculations.
Impact has been estimated for the following 9 impact categories
- number of BRPs
- EPC ratings
- energy demand
- residential energy expenditure
- health benefits
- on-site renewables
- triggered private investments
- required public investments
The number of building renovation passports reaches a total of 160 million by 2050 in policy package 6 and 50 million in policy package 2, compared to 5-25 million in the remaining policy packages. Policy package 2 and 6 both assume that building renovation passports become mandatory for some building types at certain occasions, which is assumed to cause a rapid increase of issued passports.
All the policy packages are expected to trigger considerable energy and CO2 emission savings. The range of final energy demand reductions in buildings is estimated to be 3-8% per year by 2050 compared to a scenario with no BRP policies in place. Depending on the policy package, the CO2 emissions are estimated to be between 11 and 33 million tonnes lower per year in 2050 for the residential buildings and 5-10 million tonnes for non-residential buildings. The impact of policy packages 5 and 6 indicate that for residential buildings, energy expenditure in the EU will be 23-27 billion € lower per year in 2050, due to the number of BRP renovations conducted by then.
Health benefits are quantified on the basis of avoided sick days due to healthier indoor environments. The related cost savings range up to more than 2 billion € per year. The policy packages that target the most inefficient buildings, which are assumed to be the unhealthiest, reaches the highest reduction in sick days and related costs.
At this point, several stakeholders requested clarifications on the definition and specification of absenteeism and related impacts on quality of life and productivity at school or work. One stakeholder noted that the impact on indoor air quality is an important factor which must be included in the calculations as such. The French example shows that, due to its complex nature, indoor air quality is difficult, though not impossible, to be considered in the definition and calculations.
The impact on on-site renewables is estimated through the expected increase in residential heat pumps and solar PV. The impact on the number of heat pumps are estimated to range between 3 and 12% by 2050, compared to a no-policy scenario. The impact on the total capacity of solar PV installations is estimated to range between 2% and 8% by 2050, compared to a no-policy scenario.
In relation to renewables, stakeholders informed about the current share of the building stock considered to have on-site production.
Triggered private investment is the additional investment assumed to be caused by building renovation passports. Policy packages 2, 4, 5 and 6 indicate the highest triggered private investments, ranging from 1.2 to 2 billion € of additional private investment per year.
The comments that followed focused on the following points:
- Ageing of the building stock throughout the years is not considered in the calculations
- Clarifications were requested on the part of the investment that is covered by public funding
- The assumed height of the total renovation cost was questioned
- The trigger of investments by green mortgages is not considered
Public investments are calculated for different actions connected to the various policy packages and concern in summary (conservative estimations):
- 250,000 - 600,000 € for expanding the EPC to include the building renovation passport for each implementing MS
- 90,000 € for communication and training actions for each implementing MS
- 300 € average subsidy for the preparation of an individual building renovation passport for residential buildings (100 € for the building owner)
There was quite extensive discussion around the cost/quality ratio, as well as how to relate the cost for the building renovation passport to energy savings. Smart ways for reducing the cost burden without jeopardising the quality were discussed as, e.g., in the case of connecting the building renovation passport with the existing EPC schemes.
Wrapping up the previous presentations, Ms. Fabbri noted that, though building renovation passports show great potential in alleviating two major barriers to renovation, namely the lack of awareness on potential benefits and a lack of a clear pathway of actions, actual implementation of the renovation measures is not guaranteed. She highlighted once again the purpose of the study being to quantify and show potential impacts of combinations of policies under specific conditions and based on a series of assumptions, in order to identify aspects that will have greatest impact and others which will need further investigation. Among the main outcomes of the preceding discussion is noted the need to better quantify and monetise indoor environmental quality.
In general, the impact shown is threefold and includes: triggered investments in energy efficiency, increase in the quality and depth of renovations, and earlier implementation of renovation measures. All 6 analysed policy packages are shown to be triggering energy and CO2 savings, the height of which depends on the overall conditions and context. However, impact will be limited unless coupled with financial, communication and training measures. When indoor environmental quality becomes an integral part of the building renovation passport, the potential to also improve comfort and well-being (health benefits) will also increase considerably.
A point made by a stakeholder was to consider the owners at the centre of the building renovation passport, as they are the ones who demand the building renovation. Indeed, as is also shown by the feedback received from the experience in Germany, the starting point for the building renovation passport should be that the renovation measures are adapted to the homeowners needs. The auditor has a very critical role to play in this, defining how to best meet the specific owners needs and create demand for the building renovation passport. The auditor should design an instrument that is good enough to alleviate barriers without compromising the homeowners needs.
The framework itself does not need to be rigid, but needs to include guidance on how to use the building renovation passport, what are the starting points/objectives, etc. There seems to be an interesting opportunity for enlarging the scope of EPCs by illustrating reasons for renovation to increase the conversion rate with triggers that go beyond energy savings. The French experience reiterates that a EU framework is an instrument well understood, which re-enforces the confidence of owners into the building renovation passport.
As shown by the discussion, indoor environmental quality remains in the top list of triggers for renovation and needs to be integrated into the scheme. There is already a lot of research ongoing in that direction and in particular in H2020 projects. Then, the next step will be in making the scheme future proof by considering and integrating also climate change aspects.
In the meantime, a fundamental condition for the success of the building renovation passport is to ensure the perceived and actual quality of both EPCs and the building renovation passport. The level of trust in the EPC schemes currently varies from country to country. Additional training will be necessary to cater for changing requirements and to improve quality but is not the only measure required. At EU level, the Commission has been working in improving the quality of EPC schemes through several ongoing initiatives, among which the Committee of the Directive and the Concerted Action EPBD. Evidence shows that the quality and trust in the EPCs is improving. Among others, there seems to be a clear, data supported, link between energy efficiency and property price, showing improved trust in the EPCs.
Still, the inspectors’ qualifications for the building renovation passport will be more demanding that those for the EPC. This is considered by some stakeholders an opportunity for improvement. The building renovation passport should be seen by building owners as a tool complementary to the EPC, that aims to guide them in their decision making, rather than being another mandatory instrument.
Some other points raised by stakeholders concerned the potential of linking the building renovation passport to one-stop-shops for building renovation and its potential for multi-apartment buildings.
The 2nd stakeholders meeting was concluded by Mr. Robert on behalf of the European Commission. Mr. Robert thanked all contributors for highlighting trends and intrinsic limits of the study and giving the magnitude of potential policy options. He also thanked participants for the challenging but useful questions which help to consolidate the work, and noted that certain assumptions may need to be further finetuned. He invited stakeholders to send any further comments in writing through email@example.com and informed that presentations, meeting minutes and reports will soon be available at epbd19a.eu.