Last week in Vienna we engaged in SRI INFO DAYS - the main Smart Readiness Index - SRI Workshop in Austria organized by the National Steering Committee, which includes also Blueprint Energy Solutions as partner in SRI ENACT Project.
Our team members Christine and Boris at the SRI key stakeholder event in Vienna
Researchers from the universities and Institutes, professionals dealing with energy efficiency in buildings and flexibility services, building operators and owners, together with the national and local government's representatives came together to discuss about future of the SRI implementation in Austria.
Five years already passed after the amendment EU Directive about Energy performance of the buildings (DIRECTIVE (EU) 2018/844 of 30 May 2018) included SRI in order to speed up the renovation of the buildings, cut the CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency, but the obligation to implement SRI in all member states still stays unclear. The main question is whether the SRI could result in wanted improvements or not and if not, what could be the possible next steps. In order to facilitate the implementation of the SRI, EU Commission proposed the assessment methodology and plan for all member states to voluntary start the pilot/test phase on the national level and produce the feedback and recommendations for the next steps.
Austria was one of the first countries in EU that started to test the SRI methodology, organized important stakeholders together and very soon in the pilot discovered that the general EU methodology requires adaptation to objectives expected by stakeholder in the country. It brings more of a qualitative approach to measuring SRI and lacks focus on the flexibility of the building in the correlation with the energy grids. Based on the numerous interviews, polls and workshops, it was clear that for Austrian stakeholders SRI should provide more quantitative approach focusing on the ability of the building to support the grid flexibility and to provide improved energy efficiency for the residents and local community.
Work activities resulted in the several studies and papers (i.e. https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/12/10/1955) where different assessment methodology was proposed for Austria and that should be confirmed in the future.
During the above-mentioned recent Workshop, the whole day was dedicated to experiences of the project partners and members during test phase and work on the three current SRI projects (SRI2MARKET, easySRI and SRI ENACT) and workshops how do we all see chances, benefits, risks and challenges in the SRI implementation.
About 50 participants lively discussed the topic and even with recognition of strong challenges, it was agreed that:
- SRI is needed in Austria and EU as a push towards more energy efficient buildings and reduction of CO2 because current measures do not bring enough potential.
- The importance of the SRI is confirmed by the interest of the participating stakeholders in this Workshop.
- The recast of the EPB Directive plans to have final verdict about SRI by the end of the 2026 with option to make it obligatory.
- SRI should be based on the quantification of the building’s equipment and possibilities to control the energy flows but also interact with the grids. Currently proposed EU method for the assessment of the SRI is not fully adequate to address industry and stakeholder needs in Austria.
- All stakeholders should work towards the new definition for the SRI in Austria – SRI Austria 2.0 – and prepare recommendations for the adoption at the national level.