Innovative EPCs features in Romania: testing results and replication potential

The focus of the Horizon 2020 project X-tendo is the further development of energy performance certificate (EPCs) schemes in EU Member States. After analysing the theoretical background, the project focused on testing its innovative features in concrete implementation projects. This series of blog post will help summarise the testing in each of the X-tendo 9 countries to understand the practical viability and the challenges in the implementation of the developed ideas and materials.

Depending on the feature, the X-tendo partners performed different types of tests: In-building tests apply the feature materials on concrete buildings, user tests consist of understanding the user perception related to the developed materials and ideas, system tests intend to understand the application of feature ideas and materials in related systems like EPC database systems.

Features and buildings tested in Romania

In Romania, the X-tendo’s partner AAECR (Building Energy Auditors Association of Romania) tested six features to enhance current energy performance certificates: smart readiness, comfort, real energy consumption, district heating, financing options and one-stop shops.

The features were tested on various buildings including an office, a school, a single-family house and a multifamily house.

Summary of results from the testing

Smart Readiness

This feature was tested on one single-family house, one multi-family house, one office and one kindergarten. All data collected with walk through technical rooms and technical documents was then input to the tool that provided impact and domain scores, as well as the overall SRI score.

AAECR found the feature “very practical” to be implemented in national EPC assessments in Romania: data was easily collected; the tool was easy to use and the indicator has sufficient relevance to the users of the EPC. Data collection, assessor evaluation and calculation took between 1 hour for an old existing building and 3 hours for a modern office building, with  an estimated extra cost of 20-50 Euros to include the feature into EPC issuing.


AAECR tested the comfort indicator in 4 different types of buildings: one single-family house, one multi-family house, one office and a school. AAECR performed measurements for one week in early spring and one week in summer for outdoor temperature and relative humidity, and indoor temperature, CO2 concentration and relative humidity. During in-situ visits, architectural plans, checklists and surveys were filled with building characteristics and users’ perception. Then the CARP and CORP tools were used with collected data and additional calculations to quantify thermal comfort, indoor air quality, visual comfort and acoustic comfort, leading to the overall comfort rating.

While implementing the feature was “neither easy nor difficult” (AAECR), some challenges related to the measurement of performance data and lack of equipment in the buildings arose. When evaluating buildings as used with CORP tool, it is also necessary to cover at least several days of performance measurement in periods that are representative for the year around overall comfort related situation. This can be challenging mainly due to the limited time usually invested or expected for on-site visits and re-visits in course of EPC assessments. Noteworthy, significant differences occurred in the assessed feature when using CARP and CORP tools on same buildings caused by subjective or careless user behaviour, or  improper heating/cooling supply at the building level in relation with real time outdoor conditions.

Real energy consumption

AAECR performed the test on a multi-family- and a single family building. In case of the multi-family building, the test was performed on the entire building. Assessors recorded the consumptions of district heating or gas and electricity with their corresponding energy bills. These were provided by the building users/owners based on already installed meters. Where technologies using renewable energy sources were installed, its specific data was provided by the residents. The submetering of energy data per utility was not always available and therefore the separation of the uses was based on information from users and best assessor skills and experience.

The challenges in implementing the test cases concern the gathering of the necessary detailed data and the complex data reduction recommended in European standards. Some assessors, with less strong technical background, may even need additional training to evaluate this feature.

District heating

In Romania, this feature was tested on two buildings connected to the local district heating (DH) system: a MFH and a kindergarten/school. In this case, the partner tested both the building-related indicators and the calculation of the DH indicators for the local DH system.

Implementing the feature turned out to be somewhat difficult, with the main challenge being the provided spreadsheet tool. In fact, in nearly all tested buildings the installed radiators differed to the ones for which data was provided in the spreadsheet tool. Therefore, the IPs had to search for data and perform own calculation on thermal transfer characteristics for the radiators in the tested buildings. Such skills require usually additional training.  

  • Financing options

Three types of tools have been used in the testing approach: surveys to selected stakeholder groups (consumers, public authorities, energy auditors and EPC assessors and banks); the analysis of current EPC methodology, based on the assessor’s experience; recommendations on the use of EPCs and data in financing schemes identified from the surveys. All stakeholder questions had five possible answers: 0 (do not agree) through 1 (somewhat disagree) to 5 (fully agree).

Financing options in the EPCs were found helpful by 76% of consumers and almost all of them want to know about eligibility criteria to access funds. 80% of local authorities find that renovation of buildings is most suitable for financing mechanisms. 79% of energy auditors consider necessary to amend the current legislation on energy renovation financing so as to motivate a significantly higher number of building owners.

Results from 29 homeowners indicated that consumers have a high interest in being informed about:

  • updated financing options, available eventually through a web-portal or a one-stop-shop.
  • eligibility criteria to access funds
  • contact information from financing institutions to learn about more details

One-stop shops

Romania does not have an operating one-stop-shop for building energy performance. The one-stop-shop methodology was tested considering the first steps needed to setup a one-stop-shop, in three different contexts: (i) using a blog/forum approach within a professional site, for a small fee at registration; (ii) using the energy efficiency departments at local authorities, for free, or (iii) using an existing platform that intermediates between customers and services offered by different companies, for a fee per request, if the platform host agrees.

The survey results showed that the users found very attractive the idea of approaching a single source of information for everything they need in home renovation. Homeowners answered that OSS services would help them in the energy renovation of their house. As for public authorities they believe OSS would boost renovation rate and reduce energy poverty thanks to simplified bureaucracy, standardized procedures and joint project groups.

More than 80% of EPC assessors think that the OSS should develop a reliable database of works facilitating also a direct contact between clients and service providers. Bank employees are ready to provide real-time financing information to encourage loans for major renovation. However, almost half of the surveyed homeowners are not willing to pay for an OSS service and prefer an integrate reliable web-portal to find information for their house renovation.       

Replication potential and conclusions

The testing of the Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) developed within X-tendo by the implementing partners in Romania showed that the assessment procedure is straightforward and that it can be easily implemented into an energy audit or the standard EPC assessment in most cases.

Te comfort feature tools were much appreciated by different stakeholders, with more interest for CARP in EPC evaluations, due to limited time and effort required, and for CORP in monitoring activities, due to the measurements of real indoor conditions in cold and warm days during the year.

As for real energy consumption, the main challenge in implementing this feature into a building assessment was related to data gathering and allocation. Since metering of energy consumption for different use purposes was not available, consumption data had to be estimated based on energy bills, which was perceived complex, time consuming and uncertain. The extra time and cost for the evaluation, as well as the non-transparent big differences between the energy metered values and those corrected according to standards, may diminish the attractiveness of building owner for this feature. As meters for consumption of space heating and hot water preparation are very likely not present in most buildings in the three stated countries, it is relevant for the implementation of the feature to have a simple method for allocating consumption values from energy bills.

Partners highlighted that it is crucial to provide default data for all potentially installed radiator types when it comes to implementing the district heating feature into EPC schemes. In fact, assessors will not have the knowledge nor the time to adapt the tool to the local circumstances. However, the feature was found useful in promoting advantages for building owners to use district heating, and in motivating DH companies to improve quality and costs of their services.

Partners drew some conclusions as regard to the use of EPCs and data in financing schemes:

  • Present public financing schemes (e.g., national programs) first and then private financing schemes.
  • Detail eligibility criteria for each financing mechanism.
  • Clarify the connection between the level of energy performance improvement, including emission reduction, and the promised financing amount.
  • State what work costs may be reimbursed and what work cost should be covered from own funds.

Recommendations generated by this user testing of OSS implementation instead are:

  • The local authorities should initiate the administration of local web-portals to play as OSS for home renovation.
  • The web-portals should be connected with local/national databases as they are developed.
  • Pricing strategy should be set to ensure an optimal marketing, operational and sustainability plans.
  • Relevant stakeholders should be invited to register and create accounts.
  • A blog service is mandatory.
  • Feedback from beneficiaries should make quality level transparent.
  • Successful case studies should be reworded and promoted as examples.
  • Improvement results should be summarized and reported as a key action in the national strategy of residential sector renovation.

The success of this feature depends greatly on the trust in the system built among all stakeholders, such as they are attracted and motivated to be part of the OSS.

For more information on testing and recommendations, read the full report Implementation guidelines and replicability potential of the innovative features for the next generation EPCs here


Subscribe to Our Newsletter:


Your subscription to our list has been confirmed.

Thank you for subscribing!