The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) welcomed eleven auditors for training in the iBRoad Building Renovation Passport software in January. After an extensive renew of available Building Renovation Passports, the IGBC found that the iBRoad tool, which is was developed as part of an Horizon 2020 project, was most suited to pilot in Ireland because it contained key necessary features, including a renovation roadmap, a logbook, and specific training for potential auditors. The training was delivered by Peter Mellwig of ifeu, one of the European partners in the iBRoad project. During the training the auditors were introduced to the iBRoad software and were given practical experience of inputting building information into the tool to generate exemplar roadmaps. They were also introduced to the logbook and worked with inputting into the logbook fields. After the training the auditors will pilot the iBRoad Building Renovation Passport on a total of 20 dwellings in Ireland. The auditors are Noel Brady Kore, Aongus ODowd Aongus O’Dowd Energy Consultants, Xavier Dubuisson XD Sustainable Energy Consulting, John Kirby TLI Group, Brian Byrne Net Zero, Brendan Sidney Retrofit Ireland, Eoin McGann 2 eva, Darren Duffy IHER Energy Services Limited, John Morehead, Morehead Architects, Colm Murrary Heritage Council, Sean Byrne 2 eva and Eddie Power.
A Building Renovation Passport (BRP) enables people to make informed choices when planning a deep energy renovation of their home and as such this tool has been recommended as a means of assisting in the roll out of domestic energy retrofits. In 2017, in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE), the IGBC conducted a consultation of close to 200 key stakeholders on how to facilitate a large-scale deep energy retrofit programme in Ireland. One of the barriers identified was a “lack of information for building owners on how to properly plan, finance and implement renovation strategies” and one of the key recommendations for tacking this challenge was the introduction of BRPs. In the meantime, the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) recast was adopted in 2018 and included the stipulation that member states facilitate “staged deep renovation, and to support targeted cost-effective measures and renovation for example by introducing an optional scheme for building renovation passports.” In consequence, the IGBC applied to the SEAI for funding to pilot a BRP for Ireland.
Renovating a building can be a very complex task and building owners can be confused as to what to do, where to start and in what order to implement certain measures. This barrier can lead people to undertake a shallow retrofit of one or two measures and then to postpone any further work. Also, the cost of the various interventions can be off putting and the manifold benefits to health and comfort are not always clear. By having a BRP this confusion can be dispelled, and the benefits can be highlighted. The BRP can convert the planning process for deep renovations from being a process fraught with difficulties into a positive experience that outlines the opportunity to transform a home into a comfortable, healthy and efficient space.
A Building Renovation Passport is a masterplan for a dwelling. Important information relating to the building fabric and performance is collated together in a logbook, including the BER, the building typology, heating system and information about when upgrades have been undertaken. An added benefit of the logbook is that it ensures that if the dwelling is sold the new owner has access to all the relevant information in one place. The auditor uses the information compiled in the logbook to plan a roadmap of possible steps and measures that can be taken to improve the buildings energy rating. A key benefit of the roadmap is that it can demonstrate to the building owner which measures should be taken first and how to keep in mind the needs of future measures. In this way the building owner can enact a staged renovation with various measures being taken at different times.
The auditor training stressed that the BRP should be understood as being a useful format that collates the information and advice that energy auditors already provide to their clients. The iBRoad software provides a standard format in which all the information and suggested measures can be brought together and presented to the building owner in a clear digestible format. For this reason there is a version of the roadmap the “detailed roadmap” which gives multiple technical details and there is another more visually appealing and simple version (without the technical details) the “roadmap overview” which is designed specifically for the building owner. The feedback from the auditors who took the iBRoad auditor training was very positive. Auditors found the software easy to use for inputting data. They also agreed that the presentation for the building owner was clear, concise and communicated a manageable step by step plan.