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Guidance for the Elaboration of a National Building Typology according to the TABULA Scheme

In the following you will find a short overview of the tasks necessary to elaborate a national building typology, consisting of a set of example buildings for showcase analyses and building stock modelling. These tasks constitute the main work programme of the IEE project TABULA.


1.    Define building types for your country.

The first task is the definition of construction periods for your country. You should select the border years of these periods by considering changes in construction materials, construction principles and architecture (geometrical shape, groundplan design, appearance of the building) but also changes in the legal requirements for the thermal properties of the envelope. It can also be useful to take into account the building age criteria which are used in the available national buildings’ statistics.

The TABULA building size classes and the construction periods of your country define a raster with different building types to which the individual residential buildings from your national stock can be assigned to.

2.    Find example buildings representing the different building types.

The next step is the search for example buildings, which are – as regards appearance and structure – very common in your country. You should acquire the data and photographs of at least one example building for each existing building type. Possible sources are the databases of energy advice activities and energy certificate issuing, but also model projects, research projects etc.. It is of course not easy to find “ideal example buildings”: Many buildings which appear to be very common at first glance have minor individual details which are not typical. Therefore small modifications or simplifications of datasets can be applied, if reasonable.

3.    Differentiate between regions and other parameters, if necessary.

It may be the case that there are important regional differences between the existing buildings of your country due to climatic or cultural differences. Then the national typology can be subdivided in two or more regions and different building types can be defined for each. Also a special group of buildings with energy-related properties that considerably differ from the most common structure can be considered in the typology (e.g. panel buildings). In this case an additional parameter is introduced as indicator (see table at TABULA Typology Structure - Concept).

4.    Define typical supply systems.

Identify the supply systems for heating and domestic hot water which are most common for your country. Calculate the energy performance for these typical systems assuming an installation in a most common single-family house and in a most common multi-family house. Create specific performance indicators according to the TABULA scheme which can be applied to supply systems in different building types (see table at TABULA Typology Structure - Concept).

5.    Enter your data into the common database.

The energy-related data of the building and system types will usually be defined by use of the national definitions for energy performance calculation procedures. You should now transform these datasets to the common TABULA data definitions and enter them into the TABULA database (Excel workbook, for more information please contact us). On this basis the typology data of your country can later be incorporated in the planned TABULA Webtool.

6.    Publish your national “Typology Brochure”.

The national typology data can be used in your country for different purposes by applying the national energy performance certificate procedures. One basic publication would be a “Typology Brochure” that describes the typology approach and presents each building type on a double page showing on the left side the photograph and typical energy-related properties and on the right side the possible energy savings which can be achieved by refurbishment measures.

7.    Supplement the typology with statistical data.

Examine the available statistics of residential buildings and assemble the data by use of the common statistics structure (see last table on page TABULA Typology Structure - Concept). On the basis of the building types, the assigned frequencies and the knowledge about already implemented thermal protection measures and installed supply systems a model can be created that is able to image the national building stock. In case that empirical information is missing today try to find ways to collect them in the future, e.g. by convincing the responsible institutions to collect the missing data in planned surveys, in the frame of energy certificate implementation (EPC database) etc..

8.    Try to image the buildings’ energy consumption of your country by use of the building stock model.

In order to assess the imaging quality of the model you should be able to compare the calculation results with information about the actual consumption of buildings. The basis should be the empirical analysis of the measured annual consumption and its correlation with asset rating results or – as an alternative – with typological criterion of the buildings (building size class, construction period, supply system type, already implemented refurbishments).

Extension to other European Countries

It is intended to extend the TABULA approach to other European countries not yet involved and to develop it in the direction of a continuously working information system. In consequence experts not participating at the IEE project are invited to apply the steps of the guidance to their own country in the same manner and to supplement the common database and the planned Typology Webtool by a further national set of typical buildings. Please, contact the project partners for further information.