VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a free electronic tool for the construction industry, housing associations and home-owners, which makes it easier to evaluate the impact of different kinds of energy improvements.
VTT's E-PASS tool identifies ways to improve a building's energy efficiency and calculates their cost-effectiveness. The tool is primarily designed for energy audits in older residential buildings, but there are also options for renovating office buildings. E-PASS is especially well suited for SMEs, such as building contractors, architects and energy consultants, but it can also be useful for housing associations and private home-owners.
E-PASS incorporates Finland's entire residential building stock.
To localize the tool in other European countries, corresponding default values must be collected. This takes place with data collection templates that are available.
The tool can be used to calculate the investment cost of different kinds of renovations and a building's energy efficiency and carbon footprint before and after improvements. The goal is to maximise user-friendliness so as to make it as easy as possible to evaluate the current energy efficiency of buildings. All the user needs to do is enter some basic information about the building, such as the type of building, its floor area and age, and the tool will calculate the building's current energy efficiency. The tool will then list potential improvements. These can be, for example, changes to the building's heating system, insulation or windows. The tool also shows a breakdown of the effects of the suggested improvements (kWh/m2, kgCO2/m2, energy costs).
VTT carried out a survey among 1 500 small and medium-sized energy consultancies, renovation businesses, architects' firms and building contractors in September, and 60% of the respondents said that they would be interested in using the tool.
E-PASS energy performance assessment tool: http://cic.vtt.fi/epass/vtt/step_1.php?lang=en
VTT developed the E-PASS tool in the course of a pan-European NewBEE project http://www.newbee.eu/, which is funded by the European Commission. The aim is to make it easier for SMEs to penetrate the renovation market and to provide information about renovation services to housing associations and home-owners.