Open Conference Systems, Protection and Restoration of the Environment XIII

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Assessment tools for energy efficiency in the tertiary sector buildings
S. Tournaki, T. Tsoutsos, M. Frangou, Z. Urosevic

Last modified: 2016-06-05


The services (tertiary) sector includes activities related to trade, finance, real estate, hospitality, health, education and commerce. Energy consumption in the sector increased significantly in the early 2000s and showed a trend for decrease after 2008 as a result of the European policies and the Members States regulatory measures to increase energy efficiency, also due to the economic recession. Nevertheless, a different trend is observed in several southern, eastern and Mediterranean countries that show an increase in energy intensity. The data suggest that there is a significant potential for energy efficiency improvement, especially in these countries. However, several financial and other non-technical barriers stand in the way of such investments. One of the main barriers is the difficulty to access financing due to limited investors' confidence. The lack of proper certification, validation and assessment tools are key factors causing that. Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is a way to boost private energy efficiency investments, but still lighthouse projects are rare in the tertiary sector of southern European countries.

To counter this, Trust EPC South, a project co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, is developing an investment standardization and benchmarking framework, which is able to technically appraise existing tertiary sector buildings and evaluate the environmental impact and energy efficiency actions that can be undertaken. It built upon an established real estate assessment tool (Green Rating™) and offers a pragmatic and cost-effective approach: an assessment, benchmarking and decision-making tool based on six environmental criteria and four levels of performance. Weighting the 3 quantitative indicators (energy, carbon, water) and the 3 qualitative ones (transport, wellbeing, waste) the tool delivers a benchmarkable rating to compare the sustainability performance of buildings and decide the most cost-effective measures to undertake. During the project`s lifespan, the existing methodology will be adapted and upgraded, by covering tertiary sector buildings and energy efficiency solutions that can be applied to them and including a financial assessment model. The resulting framework will be tested on at least 40 pilot projects in 6 countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia and Greece) aiming to become a reference tool for such investments assessment and decision-making processes.

For the hospitality sector in specific, an online solution, the neZEH e-tool, intended to be used by hoteliers themselves, aspires to motivate them and support their decision making towards becoming more energy efficient and transforming their hotels into nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB). Based on the previously developed Hotels Energy Solutions (HES) e-toolkit, it has been upgraded by the nearly Zero Energy Hotels (neZEH) initiative, a project co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme of the European Commission, that aimed at accelerating the rate of the refurbishment of existing hotels into nZEB. The neZEH e-tool benchmarks the hotel’s current energy performance and provides suggestions for energy efficiency measures, taking into account local parameters, such as prices and climate.

This paper presents the tools developed in the framework of the European initiatives Nearly Zero Energy Hotels and Trust EPC South and the experience gained in Greece and other EU countries.


energy efficiency assessment tools; nearly zero energy buildings; nZEB; high energy efficient hotels; Energy Performance Contract

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