High Quality Data
Key Enabler to Retrofitting at Scale
Having high quality data when planning a home energy upgrade is an essential part of a successful retrofitting project."
– Xavier Dubuisson
21st June 2023 by Xavier Dubuisson of RetroKit
Having high quality data when planning a home energy upgrade is an essential part of a successful retrofitting project – perhaps the most important part of your retrofitting toolbox. However, it can be easier said than done. With so much data, and so many variables, identifying the starting point can be a challenge and done manually, is hugely resource intensive.
Yet having the right information and processes in place, can transform a daunting task to a manageable project. In this blog post, we examine how powerful data analytics can support housing providers, local authorities, building contractors, engineers and One Stop Shops with integrated planning, decision making and project prioritisation.
With an ambitious target of converting 500,000 homes to a B2 rating by 2030, the Government’s Climate Action Plan is tackling the consumption profile of Ireland’s housing stock. The potential reduction in gas house green emissions is considerable, with a quarter of Ireland’s total energy consumed in homes, through heating, lighting and use of appliances. Whilst housing built since 2015 is far more efficient than those built prior to this, Ireland still has a sizeable task ahead, in consolidating, assessing and deploying the best, most energy efficient and cost effective solutions, at scale.
To remain on target, 50,000 homes a year need to undergo significant energy upgrades, which is a sizeable target for an industry already under pressure from shortages in labour availability and retrofitting skills. Long term investment in skills development and training from the state will be key, as will the deployment of decision support systems that support project planning and align with the large scale energy efficiency improvements needed.
The collection and interpretation of high quality data is crucial to the development of such systems, with layered datasets, enabling detailed analysis of multiple factors such as emission reductions, energy saving goals, resources required and of course budgetary considerations. Through digitising and consolidating data, a project team can test a number of scenarios and thus improve the quality and ease of decision making.
This was a key factor in the team at RetroKit in designing a cloud based database solution to work with and support decision making. With over 50 years of retrofitting experience between them, the founders used their knowledge of the industry and the challenges involved to create a software solution that uses BER data and GIS. It then applies advanced analytics to this data to develop a highly detailed analysis of retrofitting measures, that are evidence based, have the highest potential for success, and can underpin the development of a retrofitting strategy at scale, while taking account of project specific considerations.
The advanced data analytics software can identify the dwellings that will most benefit from home energy upgrading, prioritising based on a project’s specific parameters and KPIs such as BER rating, heat loss indications, CO2 emissions, energy costs, etc. The software can also prioritise based on location (taking an area based approach) and by dwelling archetype (eg, main heating fuel, age of construction, wall type, etc). Without the software, this would be a hugely labour intensive manual task, which few project teams would have the available resources to undertake.
Through warmer homes and reduced energy bills, the benefits range from climate action, to health and wellbeing, to the eradication of fuel poverty and employment creation. To meet its emission reduction targets and for Ireland to play its part in limiting global warming to within 1.5C, energy use in homes must be addressed and scaled rapidly. Retrofitting is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of achieving a sizeable reduction in our national emissions footprint, improving living standards and lifestyles at the same time. Powerful data analytics are a key component in expediating the move from project planning, to prioritisation, to ultimately action.
At RetroKit our mission is to empower our clients. RetroKit’s cloud-based digital platform is dedicated to upscaling energy retrofit in housing and we estimate the database can reduce the cost of planning a large scale energy retrofit project by between 70 and 80%, whilst also delivering better investment decisions. Step one of this is building the customisable database. Get in touch with us to learn more.