The REQUEST project (from 2010 to 2012) was a collaboration between organisations in 11 Member States and its aim was to increase the uptake of low carbon renovation measures in residential properties, throughout Europe.
Although Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are still often seen as an unavoidable burden when selling a building or putting a building available for rent, REQUEST was carried out with the view that EPCs can drive a new market for high quality low carbon refurbishment by building householder demand and particularly addressing quality and trust in the supply chain. The project developed and disseminated frameworks and approaches to promoting action on EPCs with practical demonstration through pilot projects.
Furthermore, it claims that linking EPCs to wider policy programs, financial support programs and training and information campaigns can significantly increase the number and the quality of energy saving renovations. Strategic guidance and practical support tools are now available to assist policy makers and practitioners to design and deliver programmes that enable and drive action on EPCs.
The project also delivered quality assurance instruments for on-site energy saving renovation activities that better guarantee energy and carbon reductions achieved. This quality framework was produced through collaboration with trade federations and their members and was tested in the field in actual housing renovation projects.
In total, 11 pilot projects took place, either with focus on EPCs or with focus on quality of the delivered on-site renovation works. These pilot projects have reached over 1000 trades people, energy advisors and suppliers, over 500 individual householders and have instigated cooperation with over 50 federations and governmental bodies in the respective EU partner countries involved.
Looking at the lessons learnt from these pilot projects, the project concluded that:
- A set of key components need to be in place to establish the ideal conditions for the development of a successful energy saving retrofit market. These key components are displayed in the figure below:
Blueprint for a fully functioning energy saving renovation market based on the Danish Project Zero in Sonderborg.
- The REQUEST project also demonstrated that by focusing on initiatives to link supply and demand for energy saving refurbishment, and particularly by promoting quality and building trust, EPCs can successfully drive low carbon retrofit action.
- Householder engagement in energy renovation activities has proven particularly difficult in many of the involved partner countries in the Request project. Tailored advice for each home and homeowner was identified as a key.
- The different pilot projects were widely considered to be the most successful element of REQUEST. They explored a diversity of approaches to promoting action on EPCs in different national contexts.
But in what way does the old REQUEST, link to the new REQUEST2ACTION? Here’s how:
- REQUEST2ACTION builds on the approach of exploring a diversity actions promoting EPCs in different national contexts, creating different pilot projects and Hubs with different target audiences in different countries.
- Rather than imposing a top-down model of activities, REQUEST2ACTION will build a more bottom-up picture of “what works” in actually driving retrofit action with co-ordination to ensure replicability and learning. We think this best ensures the sustainability and impact of the project;
- In developing REQUEST2ACTION, the REQUEST project gave us an existing base of stakeholders who we can engage;
- The main ambition of the Request2action project is to provide sustainable and accessible Retrofit Action Hubs that can act as on-going national centres bringing supply-side and demand-side and policy actors together around EPCs;
- A focus of the REQUEST2ACTION project is to inform householders with tailored advice – for example by enhancing self-assessment tools and by making it easier for them to find trustworthy installers and products through new Hubs.