Because buildings are responsible for 40% of energy use and 36% of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the EU, energy efficiency in buildings has become a priority to drastically reduce the energy use in buildings. Consequently, a number of policy measures have been implemented in European Member States to drive the market towards Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings, including the Energy Performance of Buildings Certificates (EPCs), which are the most visible instrument of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). Nevertheless, the boundary conditions that are necessary for these measures to be effective have rarely been carefully addressed. In this respect, two specific concerns lie in the compliance of Energy Performance of Buildings Certificates (EPCs) and in the quality of building works.
The IEE QUALICHeCK project's goal was to raise awareness and trigger initiatives to improve the compliance of Energy Performance Certificates and the quality of buildings works in order to decrease the actual energy use of buildings. In other words, QUALICHeCK urges building professionals to "do what they declare" since otherwise, it discredits the overall approach already engaged since a number of years in European countries with energy conservation regulations and incentives in the building sector.
This goal entailed 3 specific objectives:
- To confirm the concern for non-compliant EPCs and quality of buildings works. Although there were some unstructured market feedback and studies pointing out this problem, further understanding of the status on the ground and the extent to which non-compliance could jeopardize the effectiveness of policies was necessary.
- To show the benefits of existing approaches. There exist several voluntary or regulatory schemes that have been developed in many European countries to contain non-compliance of EPCs and of the quality of building works . QUALICHeCK's objective was to disseminate information on these schemes to inspire other bodies facing similar challenges.
- To give the key steps to set up compliance frameworks. Because the development of a compliance framework can appear somewhat chaotic for an external observer—for instance because of feedback loops with stakeholders—the consortium came up with a summary of key issues that should be addressed for a sound foundation of the framework.
Based on a literature review and 10 specific field studies in 9 countries, each on samples of 25+ buildings, the EU QUALICHeCK project has confirmed this concern for non-compliant EPCs and quality of buildings works by showing that insufficient quality assurance measures increase the risk of discrepancies between claimed or expected and actual performance. Speaking about ventilation and airtightness, this could consist in the absence of controls of the building or ductwork airtightness values reported in the EPCs; this could also be the ambiguity left for the EPC expert to choose the appropriate input data for a specific ventilation system.
The good news is that there are also interesting approaches that have been developed to contain some of the issues reported in the field campaigns. In the area of ventilation and airtightness, these approaches include competent tester schemes for building airtightness or ventilation system performance checks, or databases developed to ease unambiguous EPC input data selection and control.
QUALICHeCK ended in February 2017. The consortium has archived its key findings in several reports and 59 factsheets which are short 2- to 10-page documents highlighting specific results. All public deliverables are available on the QUALICHeCK website.
To ease the dissemination of these results in the ventilation and infiltration community, this report collates 23 factsheets specifically related to ventilation and airtightness issues, field data, and solutions.