iBRoad Project - Tools methods and positive experience to catalyse stepwise deep renovation


By Alexander Deliyannis, Sympraxis Team, iBRoad project coordinator, (pictured)

Spring 2021

We would never build a house without a plan, so why renovate it without one? The iBRoad project (2017-2020) developed and tested a set of tools and methods to guide and support building owners on their unique renovation paths towards energy efficient homes.

Renovating a building can be complex, expensive and time consuming. For building owners, the lack of knowledge about what to do, in which order to implement renovation measures, and how to finance them, are just some of the main obstacles to improving the energy performance and overall status of their building.

The iBRoad project (2017-2020) worked on lifting these barriers for building owners, increasing the rate and depth of renovation, and thus contributing to the Renovation Wave1, by developing a Building Renovation Passport for single-family houses, testing it, and proposing measures to support its uptake by the European markets. This article briefly summarises iBRoad's results and experience.

iBRoad's Key Exploitable Results
A concept for the building renovation passport
(individual building renovation roadmap plus logbook) based on existing initiatives. The iBRoad project developed – and tested in several countries – a concept for the building renovation passport as a modular framework comprising the renovation roadmap and logbook, both centred around an individual building: (a) A plan – the individual Building Renovation Roadmap – to gradually renovate a building over a long-term horizon (5-30 years). The plan is tailor-made for the building and its building owner. (b) A repository of information – the Building Logbook – able to include building photos and plans, energy consumption and production of the building, executed maintenance works, etc. The logbook includes the time dimension, so one is able to store successive 'snapshots' of the building state.

A flexible hybrid data structure for building information (common and country-specific).
The iBRoad project recognised that building information includes parameters that are common across the EU, and others which are substantially differentiated between countries. To deal with this challenge, iBRoad developed a hybrid data structure – both at the conceptual and at the software tools level – covering both EU-shared and country-specific parameters. This allows the iBRoad approach to be adapted and implemented in all EU countries and possibly beyond.

An energy audit methodology and training, leading to the development of the roadmap.
iBRoad's energy audit methodology is a step-by-step process to assess the state of a building, converse with the owner and comprehend their perspective, and develop a customised renovation roadmap.

Two functional software tools, iBRoad-Log and iBRoad-Plan.
iBRoad-Log, the digital building logbook, and iBRoad-Plan, the programme used to generate the renovation roadmap, are powerful and fl exible software tools that can be adapted and deployed by countries, regions, local administration, and other organisations to support implementation of their building policies.

Cost calculation methodology.
Considering that cost concerns represent a critical factor that can determine the decision to renovate (or not), iBRoad developed a cost calculation methodology to help energy consultants in enabling building owners to base their decisions on reliable cost and return estimates.

Public opinion and stakeholder analysis.
The iBRoad project included extensive end-user research and stakeholder feedback on its background, concepts and tools. Such analysis helped in choosing paths and taking decisions during the development of the iBRoad tools and methods, and remains valuable for future undertakings.

Policy suggestions.
The iBRoad concept unfolds its maximum impact when embedded into concomitant and supportive policies, ranging from informational and economic to regulatory; the project's outputs include such policy proposals for relevant topics.

All iBRoad tools and methods are characterised by modularity; an authority or other organisation can choose and adapt the ones most suitable for their specific situation without depending on the rest. For example, iBRoad tested both the roadmap and the logbook in Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and Ireland, while only the logbook in Germany, a country that has already implemented building roadmaps known as iSFP (Individueller Sanierungsfahrplan für Wohngebäude) – the iSFP was in fact one of the frontrunner initiatives analysed when the iBRoad concept was under development. Similarly, an authority can choose to adopt the iBRoad audit methodology, while developing or adapting its own tools for collecting information and generating the renovation roadmaps.


Positive experience
As per feedback received through surveys and meetings with stakeholders, the results of iBRoad's pilot testing have been very positive – for both building professionals and owners – and supportive of largerscale adaptation and deployment. Of particular interest is the case of Ireland which was not one of the iBRoad project's original pilot countries, and where iBRoad was tested thanks to collaboration with IGBC, the Irish Green Building Council; the relevant report2 therefore represents an external view at iBRoad and its perspectives in the context of a specific country.

The future has a plan
iBRoad has contributed its share to the rising interest on Building Renovation Passports, logbooks and roadmaps, with its reports being downloaded more than 27,000 times from the project website alone.

At iBRoad's final conference, such tools have been called potential "game changers"3 for the deep renovation of buildings in Europe. They already represent much more than proofs of concept or isolated initiatives. In the years since the iBRoad project's implementation began, a multitude of such efforts has sprung up around Europe. Equally importantly, such tools are being integrated in the greater policy context. In Germany, the new funding scheme BEG supporting building effi ciency, now rewards building owners with an individual building roadmap (iSFP) by providing 5% more funding. And with Building Renovation Passports becoming increasingly relevant for national Long Term Renovation Strategies (LTRS), Portugal's recently unveiled LTRS includes direct reference to the paradigm developed by the iBRoad project.

While much of economic life has been slowed down due to COVID-19, even dealing with the effects of the pandemic can benefit from planning building renovations right4. The Renovation Wave should not wait.

1. While iBRoad was conceived and largely implemented before the announcement of the Renovation Wave, it is fully fit for the latter's purpose.
2. Introducing Building Renovation Passports in Ireland: Feasibility Study https://www.igbc.ie/resources/introducing-building-renovation-passports-in-ireland-feasibility-study/
3. iBRoad final conference summary https://ibroad-project.eu/downloads/conference_summary
4. The iBRoad concept for Building Renovation Passports after COVID-19, European Energy Innovation, Summer 2020

The iBRoad project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 754045.

The sole responsibility for the content of this article lies with the author. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.