The Good Homes Alliance is seeking to create a new digital tool called NetZeTT (Net Zero Tools & Training) for assessing and verifying the energy, carbon and environmental performance of new homes. Funding is now being sought to develop the quality assurance tool further, proof a prototype, and bring it to market.
The tool will consist of a digital app/browser-based platform that allows stakeholders (i.e. clients, designers, contractors, consultants) involved with the design and delivery of net zero/low energy homes to accurately and efficiently record environmental performance information for a range of tests/criteria including energy use, ventilation rates, acoustics, daylighting, airtightness and indoor air quality.
The app will act as a quality assurance tool, storing information in an online repository/ logbook and allowing easy comparison of both design and as-built data, thus providing confidence to clients and housebuilders, and helping to eliminate the ‘performance gap’. The app will integrate with existing methodologies and tools (including BIM) where possible, and will also include on-demand bitesize training for users. Although initially focussing on new build it is aimed that the tool could be adapted for retrofit projects.
It is aimed that the tool will incorporate with a digitised version of the building performance evaluation system known as the Assured Performance Process (APP), originally developed by the National Energy Foundation and piloted successfully on Radian Housing Association’s (GHA Pathfinder Network member, now named Abri) 400-unit Quebec Park development in Whitehill & Bordon, Hampshire’s green town.
Other partners interested in the development of the tool include the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE Services); Loughborough University; GHA member and award-winning architectural practice Pollard Thomas Edwards; software developer Underscore; the National Energy Foundation, Building Performance Network, and the Active Building Centre.
The tool would also enable any changes in specification to be challenged to ensure the desired and/or required energy performance targets are met. Alongside the tool will be an on-demand digital guide and training programme for users.
“On Quebec Park, the process helped to reduce the performance gap between predicted and actual energy use to within 5%.
“The GHA is focused on eradicating the performance gap. We’re all about quality, and net zero. We have two member networks of 21 local authorities and six housing associations that are due to deliver 12,000 new homes a year for the next 10 years that are asking for this sort of assistance.”
“We want to help our members and the industry to deliver real, verified net-zero housing – and you can only do so by using building performance evaluation processes and methodologies. And that means a rigorous, robust process from concept design, through to procurement, construction, compliance, testing, commissioning, and post-occupancy evaluation. We believe the NetZeTT and digitised APP tool can help to do that.”
“Although this hasn’t been developed specifically to address the Grenfell issue, the tool will help us to tighten up the quality assurance and reduce risk during the construction, procurement, compliance and checking processes, so that a team can deliver a built asset that performs as designed.”
Julian Brooks, Programmes Director, GHA
For more information about the tool and funding, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.