SB Alliance workshop at CLIMA2016

Posted on lundi 13 juin 2016


The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is the main legislative instrument at EU level to achieve energy performance in buildings. The EPBD (article 11-9) requires the Commission to adopt, in consultation with the relevant sectors, a voluntary common European Union certification scheme (VCS) for the energy performance of non-residential buildings.

Multinational property owners and developers, financial institutions (including UNEP-FI) and building professionals are demanding international standardisation and uniform conditions in energy performance certification in order to enhance the comparability, transparency, coherence, reliability and accuracy in the Union. The VCS under preparation will be the first common scheme based on CEN and ISO standards issuing European wide a common energy certificate for non-residential buildings. This workshop described the development of this common tool (VCS), able to be used Europe wide, and how it can be integrated in existing environmental certification schemes.


Frank Hovorka                    REHVA Vice president, Sustainable Building Alliance (chairman)

Carolina Mateo Cecilia    Valencia Institute of Buildings

Johann Zirngibl                  CSTB French Scientific and Technical Center for Building

Jana Bendžalová               ENBEE, Environment & Building Energy Efficiency Consultancy

Click here to access the presentations.

Summary of the Presentations

Frank Hovorka  

« The interest for investors »

The work of EEFIG was presented including a report from 2014/5 about institutional investors and market participants. Another topic was climate friendly finance.

There is a clear demand from all stakeholders to have the right information at the right time from all stakeholders. The demand of standardisation means a demand in a reliable and transparent information that can be trusted and use for financial and risk analysis purposes.

The VCS could be a tool that would help to translate the energy efficiency of a building into a financial performance. This process could then unlock the access to finance for energy efficiency retrofit.

Carolina Mateo Cecilia

“The integration of a common energy indicator in Climate KIC Smart and Sustainable Offices certification scheme“

Dr. Carolina Mateo explained the role of EPBD in the Spanish market and the difference between EPDB and the voluntary schemes in development. In Spain, energy performance certification (EPC) is mandatory for:

Existing buildings if they are for sale or rent

All new buildings

A presentation was given on a potential VCS use in the “Smart and Sustainable Offices” certification.

Johann Zirngibl

“European voluntary certification scheme: a tool linking environment and energy to market value”

Project leader of the VCS, Johann Zirngibl, presented the context and the aim of the project. Building investors, industrials, and building professionals need uniform conditions in a voluntary scheme to enhance:

  • Comparability
    Today, different national and voluntary schemes have different definitions, scales, and methodologies
  • Coherence and accuracy
    New and innovative products are very often not considered in the existing different methods. How can we ensure coherence between EU directives, such as Ecolabeling, EBPD, which require costly testing
  • Common training and qualification
    How can energy assessors be able to work in different countries.

EPPD requires the Commission to adopt a voluntary common European Union certification scheme.

Jana Bendžalová

“Possible paths to the performance scale and reference for the VCS”

A numerical indicator does not in itself reveal the quality of the building. Therefore, a numeric EPB indicator needs reference values in order to rate the performance. When constructing a scale, several properties must be considered:

  • Scale shape: linear or non-linear
  • Position of the reference: e.g. in the middle of the scale which makes room for more classes for both new (high performing) buildings and existing (poor performing) buildings
  • Definition of the reference point: should it be fixed or variable. Both of these two approaches were presented and discussed.

The suggested scale is calculated as the ratio of EP of assessed building compared to reference value. Examples: A < 0.35, D = 1, G > 2. Stakeholders have asked for a testing of the scale to make sure the energy classes can be achieved by “reasonable efforts”.

Finally, results from the scale testing with the variable reference were presented. In the testing, the scale was presented for the same building in 3 different climates with the same measures implemented for improvement of building envelope and technical systems.

Discussion and main results

Q: What happens if we have different measures/outcomes of mandatory and voluntary schemes? Why is it necessary with this voluntary scheme?

A: They will be different, this is already the case for the energy module in the environmental schemes.
Mandatory schemes can uptake the voluntary scheme. It is aimed for non-residential buildings. Especially for international investors.

Q: How comparability for different climates will be possible?

A : This is not problem in mirror building approach.

Comment: “If this scheme is going to be cheap, compared to current schemes, then there is definitely a market for it. The client wants a certification and cares little about which scheme has been used”. This comment is not shared by the project leader. The VCS project has as target a high quality scheme, where investors can have confidence in.

But the question of the VCS cost/benefits is important and that’s why this process should be adopted by valuers in order to be asked by investors. There is a clear need of development that must be undertaken at the European level for tool development, proof of concept into valuation translation and adoption by the market.

To know more, about the project running from October 2015 to October 2016, join the community of over 40 people on the Construction21 platform:










Linn Johnsen, European Commission, presenting the project










Frank Hovorka, chairman of SB Alliance, presenting the interest for investors