In the current discussion on High Performance Buildings, the focus is usually on the direct effects achievable by means of implemented design, technologies, and operation strategies, namely a decrease in the energy consumptions and costs, and a reduction of GHG emissions. However, with a more holistic perspective that considers all the building-related factors, it is pivotal to identify and subsequently consider also the indirect effects resulting from the implementation of solution sets, technologies and systems, besides or as a consequence of the achieved direct effects.
At the moment, neither a clear definition is available for such co-benefits, nor a list of important effects to be considered, and thus it is nowadays impossible to include these aspects in a comprehensive and effective economical evaluation.
In this direction, the Cultural-E project, is working towards addressing the estimation of the co-benefits of PEBs so as to be properly integrated into business models.
The concept of co-benefits is a very embracing one, including numerous effects at different levels of economy and society. Co-benefits can be divided into:
- Household level, i.e. for the building owner or user like increased user comfort, fewer problems with building physics, improved maintenance, etc…
- Society or community level, i.e. health benefits, decreased mortality or morbidity, job creation, energy security, impact on climate change, etc…
These two branches foresee different target groups, thus accounting for different economic perspectives. On the one side, for the building owners and promoters, the economic value of a building and the value added by energy related renovation measures are the most relevant indicators and, therefore, the indirect effects that can potentially increase the willingness to pay for the building a private perspective. On the other side, for policy makers a societal or macroeconomic perspective is required in order to show how policies that are implemented for the reduction of energy and emissions in the building sector may be used to reach other objectives such as economic and social development, sustainability and equity.
In the state of the art on this topic, investors lack guidelines on how to monetize the positive co impacts and when an attempt exists, these aspects are evaluated merely in a qualitative way. The final goal of our project is to provide a useful tool to allow stakeholders to consider the related value/impact of indirect effects, supporting the estimation of different measures and investments and the promotion of PEBs.