Darmstadt TU and Pirelli RE introduce prototype for evaluation of sustainable quality of living

Work on the Housing Quality Barometer (WWB), a comprehensive evaluation system for residential buildings, has been completed under the leadership of Professor Manfred Hegger at the Darmstadt Technical University (TU).

The research project was commissioned by the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning which, in this project, has received a holistic and transparent representation of property portfolios. The Housing Quality Barometer was developed in cooperation with Pirelli RE, among others, on whose property portfolio the evaluation system prototype was tested during the project.

A holistic measurement and evaluation system for sustainable living quality includes, besides quantitative aspects, qualitative aspects in particular such as the feel-good factor, identity and social advantages and enables a differentiated weighting of criteria as well as a multi-dimensional and clearly laid out presentation of the results. This makes the Housing Quality Barometer the first comprehensive evaluation system for sustainable quality of living, and this is a first step towards a future seal of approval for residential buildings.

"With the Housing Quality Barometer, we have succeeded in developing a transparent and comprehensible evaluation instrument for the housing industry – transparency in relation to the criteria, but also with regard to the existing qualities of the residential property under examination," explains Katrin Spitzner who initiated the Housing Quality Barometer.

"With the Housing Quality Barometer we have for the first time the possibility to comprehensively measure and evaluate the existing housing market from the point of view of sustainable development," adds Sebastian El–khouli, who headed the project together with her.

The research for the Housing Quality Barometer was carried out from early 2008 to July 2009. With Pirelli RE as industrial partner, the tests could be made in two phases in the company's properties, in order to optimise the choice of criteria and the methods of obtaining data. It was all about finding a balance between the desire for an evaluation that was as comprehensive as possible on the one hand, and a data base that was often incomplete on the other. "This means that the Housing Quality Barometer is not only a transparent system of certification, but also meets the particular requirements of the housing industry," says Lutz Dammaschk, Head of Property Management Residential at Pirelli RE. "With the Housing Quality Barometer we are going a completely different route in the housing industry in relation to positioning in the competition as well as the satisfaction of our tenants."

In its present form the Housing Quality Barometer enables an evaluation with the aid of the documentation that is already available in most cases, such as for instance the floor plan and building's energy certificate. This is supplemented by Internet-supported research regarding the location, the current supply and an on-the-spot inspection of the property that can be carried out quickly.

Parallel to this the FG ee, together with the Informatics Department of TU Darmstadt (Technical Group Data Banks and Distributed Systems, Professor Alejandro Buchmann) are developing an online platform in which residential properties belonging to owners and planners can be evaluated according to the criteria of the Housing Quality Barometer. On the basis of this evaluation those interested in renting and planners could conduct a targeted property search. In an interactive process, the individual housing values can be calculated for potential tenants. As a consequence the Housing Quality Barometer is smoothing the path towards a sustainable quality of living.

A further development of the Housing Quality Barometer is planned. For owners and users, a version 2.0 could be used to evaluate the qualities of their own housing portfolio, to make this information visible to interested parties and to use as a basis for decision-making for pending renovations as well as for portfolio development strategy

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