SQUARE - A System for Quality Assurance when Retrofitting Existing Buildings to Energy Efficient Buildings

The project aims to promote a flexible quality assurance management for the retrofitting process. It leads to high quality renovations of residential multifamily buildings regarding energy improvement and improvement of indoor environment.

Short Description




In relation to the resource input for building and retrofitting of a building the energy consumption has the most important environmental impact during the existing building stock's lifetime and is therefore the most important to reduce. It depends both on the building shell and on the building services system, which, in their turn, affect the indoor environment.

Lasting energy savings in existing buildings can only be achieved by high energy efficient retrofitting actions combined with skilled and experienced operation of the building (systems) after renovation. The flexible quality assurance (QA) system elaborated by SQUARE covers both retrofitting and maintenance, since experience shows that a successful energy and indoor environment improvement retrofit will be permanent only if use of the building is guided by effective routines and increase of competence of all included parties.

A quality assurance system for the indoor environment was developed in Sweden and successfully applied in a number of buildings over the last ten years. SQUARE extended this QA system to include energy efficiency, referring to EN 16001 (energy management systems), and adapted it to the requirements of different European countries. A guide to quality assurance for the target group of housing associations, building developers and managers was developed by SQUARE to forward the practical implementation.

The SQUARE project identified barriers of high quality retrofit and QA-system implementation and methods to overcome them. Energy improvement measures were investigated to point out the ten most important ones, effecting both energy efficiency and indoor environment quality of retrofitted buildings.

The quality assurance system of SQUARE and the energy and indoor environment improvement measures were introduced in pilot projects. The project delivered information about practical experience and results from 4 pilot projects (such as “Dieselweg” in Graz) of the participating countries. At international workshops with TRECO-group, at conferences and meetings SQUARE promoted and discussed the QA system and its application, so did Austria.

The satisfaction of residents and the property value significantly increase by the introduction of a quality assurance system like SQUARE. The noticeable decrease of the energy consumption after retrofit gives an additional value to that. New high quality retrofit projects using QA-systems were pushed by the SQUARE activities (e.g. UK). Quality assurance could and will be one of the smartest ways to reach sustainable retrofit of buildings.

Project Partners

Project management

DI Armin Knotzer
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien

Project or cooperation partner

  • SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP), S/Borås, Koordination
  • Trama Technoambiental S.L (TTA), ES/Barcelona
  • Helsinki University of Technology (TKK), F/Espoo
  • Trecodome (Trecodome), N/Roosendaal
  • Energy Agency of Plovdiv (EAP), BG/Plovdiv
  • AB Alingshåshem (Alingshåshem), S/Alingsås
  • Poma Arquitectura S.L. (POMAA), ES/Barcelona

Contact Address

AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
DI Armin Knotzer
Feldgasse 19, A-8200 Gleisdorf
Tel.: +43 (3112) 5886
Fax: +43 (3112) 5886-18
E-Mail: a.knotzer@aee.at
Homepage: www.aee-intec.at