There are many ways to make a house more energy efficient: insulate better, install a heat pump ... The EBECS algorithms of VITO/EnergyVille provide specific advice based on the size of the house and the energy consumption of the residents. Bank-insurer KBC, Cozie’s installation contractors and the energy auditors of Zero emission solutions (ZES) and Janssen Field Services (JFS) are among those already using this service.

EBECS stands for EnergyVille Building Energy Calculation Service. The tool bundles various calculation algorithms and offers tailor-made advice for renovating homes. Pieter Van den Steen, researcher at VITO/EnergyVille: “EBECS is not the first energy renovation tool on the market, but it is the most accurate. This is due to its basis in building physics and its built-in calibration module. The traditional calculations that take place for EPB or EPC certification only assess the home. They do not take into account actual energy consumption, family composition and resident behaviour. With the EBECS tool, people can enter specific data about their home and their usage habits. Based on this, the algorithms calculate the best options for saving energy, including the associated costs and anticipated decrease in the energy bill.”

Lowering the threshold

In addition to its accuracy, the EBECS tool is distinguished by its ease of use. For example, people do not need to measure their homes themselves: entering the address is sufficient to determine the dimensions. “For this data, we use the Digital Flanders II High Altitude Model of Information Flanders,” says Wouter Dierckx of VITO. “We calculate the volume of the dwelling, the roof surface area, the ground surface area and the facades. In this way our advice can also estimate the costs of a renovation. Pieter Van den Steen continues: “Over time, we also want to give users the opportunity to automatically forward their energy consumption data. This can be done, for example, with a smart thermostat. In doing so they can regularly obtain new advice, taking into account their specific family situation, their actual use and the most up-to-date investment costs and subsidies. We will continue to adapt the system to evolutions in the market.”

Commercial partners

VITO developed the EBECS tool and is now allowing partners to market the service. KBC, among others, offers advice in its digital application Touch. “EBECS consists of a set of algorithms on which providers themselves can build an application,” says Pieter Van den Steen. “KBC customers, for example, can choose from four packages. Do they especially want lower CO2 emissions or a short payback period? Do they opt for a minimal ecological footprint or maximum energy renovation? Based on these preferences, the tool offers the best options. KBC also simulates possible financing tailored to the customer. We hope to reach a lot of candidate renovators with EBECS, because there is still work to be done to meet the 2030 climate targets.”

Eight out of ten families contemplating an energy renovation complain about a lack of independent advice. We want to address this problem with VITO’s EBECS tool.

Karin Van Hoecke
Director of services to private individuals, KBC