Terminal evaluation of energy efficiency in commercial building project (00084022)

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Viet Nam
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
06/2021
Completion Date:
08/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Terminal evaluation of energy efficiency in commercial building project (00084022)
Atlas Project Number: 84022
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Viet Nam
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2021
Planned End Date: 06/2021
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.1.1 Low emission and climate resilient objectives addressed in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic diversification and green growth
SDG Target
  • 12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 18,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dinesh Aggarwal International Evaluator dinesh.a@rediffmail.com INDIA
Dang Ngoc Dung National Evaluator dungdhn@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Energy Efficiency Improvement in Commercial and High-Rise Residential Buildings in Vietnam
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5365
PIMS Number: 5245
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Construction (MOC)
Countries: VIET NAM
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Evaluation recommendation 1: Design of project indicator on Direct Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for future projects

Considering that the process of building approval, detailed design, and actual construction involves time consuming sequential activities, any new building complying with the energy efficiency (EE) building code will at best get occupied towards the end of the implementation timelines of the GEF project. Thus, the benefits of the project in terms of reduced energy consumptions (and reduced GHG emissions) would get realized only after the project implementation timelines.

 

In this regard it is important to note that as per the Revised Methodology for Calculating GHG mitigation benefits for the GEF Energy Efficiency Projects, for projects where building codes lead to building EE improvements prior to the project closure, the resulting emission reductions (over the lifetime of those improvements) are considered as direct project impacts. Building improvements that occur after project closure are considered to result in direct post-project impacts. 

2

Evaluation recommendation 2: Strengthen the mechanism for enforcement of EE building code

Sustainability of the results of the project (in terms of improvement in the energy performance of the buildings due to EE building code) would depend upon the enforcement of the EE building code. The mechanism (Comprising of the overall process of application for approval of the building plans, monitoring of construction, approval of building etc.) for enforcement of the EE building code needs to be strengthened to ensure sustainability.

3

Evaluation recommendation 3: Transfer of a modeling software to a knowledge institution and establishment of a center of excellence

The ‘Project Management Unit’ (PMU) procured a building energy simulation software to support implementation of some of the activities (pertaining to determination of the baseline energy consumption for the pilot new buildings, where EE measures were implemented) of the project. The building energy simulation software and other such material available with the project, may be transferred to one of the universities/ institutions, so that such material gets used, after implementation of the GEF project. A centre of excellence may also be created at the university/ institution which can also host the knowledge products and data/information compiled under the project.

4

Evaluation recommendation 4: Creation of the test lab for testing the building materials

The present version of the EE building code uses the prescriptive approach, wherein the EE performance of the materials and equipment to be used for construction is prescribed (specified). For successful enforcement of the code it is very important to have a lab for testing the building materials. It is recommended that a laboratory be created for testing the performance of the building materials. Along with creation of the test lab, possibilities may be explored for using the concept of EE labelling for the building materials. It is gathered that technical standards have already been created in this regard. The test lab will become handy for implementation of the concept of EE labelling of building materials.

5

Evaluation recommendation 5: Revision of Energy efficiency building code to include passive measures as part of EE requirements

Future revision of the energy efficiency in buildings may consider revision of the EE building code to include the passive measures like orientation of the building, shading etc to reduce the cooling/heating load for the building. Such provisions may be made which are specific to different climate zones of Viet Nam. Further, the revision may include the provision of the energy performance method for compliance with the building code, wherein, provision may be made to use a specified building energy simulation model to establish the compliance with the EE building code.

6

Evaluation recommendation 6.: Introduce ‘EE Building Code’ and ‘EE measures’ in the Universities’ curriculum

Introduce a curriculum in the one of the Universities regarding the ‘EE Building Code’ and ‘EE measures’ in the buildings. Apart from this a short module on Energy Efficiency in buildings, for skill upgradation and training of the practising professionals and government officials be introduced. This curriculum may later on be introduced in other institutions and universities.

7

Evaluation recommendation 7: Promotion of Energy Service Company (ESCO) model and financing of EE in Viet Nam

Opportunities may be identified for promotion of ESCO models and financing of EE in Viet Nam. Apart from the building sector the ESCO model may take care of other large energy consuming sectors and Renewable Energy (RE) promotion through the ESCO route. In order to implement the ESCO models, there is a need to address the issues relating to the requirement of legal documents for paying for the energy savings in case of implementation of the EE measures through ESCO route for the government buildings and government owned enterprises. At the same time need to have guidelines on M&V system to verifying the ESCO energy savings achieved. Possibilities may be explored for creation of a super ESCO for EE in Viet Nam.

8

Evaluation recommendation 8: Financial incentives for promotion of EE in building sector

The project design has the provision of working out a scheme of financial incentives for promotion of EE in the building sector. However, considering the funds required for implementing such a scheme, this part of the project could not be implemented. The project has got a detailed assessment regarding the possibilities to provide incentives for promotion of EE in the building sector in Viet Nam. The suggestions in this regard include both fiscal and non-fiscal measures (e.g. allowing higher ratio to land to floor area, Tax rebates etc.). It is recommended that the possibilities of providing incentives for EE in the buildings may be examined afresh (particularly the non-fiscal incentives, as they will not have any financial implications for the government).

9

Evaluation recommendation 9: Calculation of the energy savings based on EE measures in new buildings

To compute energy savings due to EE measures in new buildings, the project team has used building energy simulation software to determine the energy consumption in the baseline (normal building with no enhanced EE measures). In this regard it is important to note that the use of building energy simulation models is good for comparing different design options of a given building in terms of the energy performance. However, the use of software is not appropriate to accurately forecast the energy performance of the building.  This is given the limited accuracy level of the building energy simulation models to forecast the energy consumption of the buildings due to a number of reasons (including the occupants behaviour). There is extensive evidence to suggest that buildings usually do not perform as predicted by energy simulation. Sufficient evidence exists which show that ‘Building Energy Models’ predictions do not match up with actual energy use, with an average of 30% discrepancy being observed between the actual usage and predicted performance and in certain cases also have variations as high as 100% consumption of energy to compute the savings achieved.

It is recommended that in case of new buildings, the energy saving achieved should be computed based on the extent of projected energy savings in percent terms by running the baseline design and the design after the intervention in the ‘Building Energy Simulation Model’.  This percent savings should be applied to the actual monitored consumption of energy to compute the savings achieved.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 1: Design of project indicator on Direct Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for future projects

Considering that the process of building approval, detailed design, and actual construction involves time consuming sequential activities, any new building complying with the energy efficiency (EE) building code will at best get occupied towards the end of the implementation timelines of the GEF project. Thus, the benefits of the project in terms of reduced energy consumptions (and reduced GHG emissions) would get realized only after the project implementation timelines.

 

In this regard it is important to note that as per the Revised Methodology for Calculating GHG mitigation benefits for the GEF Energy Efficiency Projects, for projects where building codes lead to building EE improvements prior to the project closure, the resulting emission reductions (over the lifetime of those improvements) are considered as direct project impacts. Building improvements that occur after project closure are considered to result in direct post-project impacts. 

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Agreed

The project management unit and UNDP agree with this recommendation since the building construction process from design to completion takes a long time and direct impacts can hardly be recognized during project implementation. It can be defined after a building properly put into operation. As such the project duration should be longer than the expected construction duration of a standard building (04 years). This recommendation is however more applicable to future project designers than this project itself, and the project cannot do anything to improve this situation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This recommendation is integrated into the project final report which will be circulated to Ministry of construction (MOC) and UNDP: For future mitigation/energy efficiency projects, the indicator of “Direct Reduction of the GHG emissions) should be designed as “Direct Reduction in the GHG emissions over the lifetime of the investments made during the project implementation”
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Manager and Programme Officer 2021/10 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 2: Strengthen the mechanism for enforcement of EE building code

Sustainability of the results of the project (in terms of improvement in the energy performance of the buildings due to EE building code) would depend upon the enforcement of the EE building code. The mechanism (Comprising of the overall process of application for approval of the building plans, monitoring of construction, approval of building etc.) for enforcement of the EE building code needs to be strengthened to ensure sustainability.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Agreed

The above-said mechanism is important to ensure the enforcement of the EE building code; however, it can be verified through (i) approved design; (ii) approved as-built documents and (iii) energy audit. Factually, the EECB project has significantly and sustainably contributed to all of these means of verification by (i) having delivered technical training courses for project managers, building designers, building appraisal officers, energy auditors, etc. in order to improve the related quality of all design, construction and operation steps; and (ii) having established a comprehensive system of building energy surveys, specific energy consumption profiles, energy benchmarking & certification and information disclosure program. As for the former, the training materials will be documented and disseminated to relevant stakeholders (MOC, DOCs, building designers, related training entities, etc.) for reference. The later will serve as a tool for energy control of high-rise buildings in future once it is approved. At end of the project, a long-termed strategic plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Construction (MOC) for sustainability of the tools afterwards.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Training materials will be documented and disseminated to MOC, DOCs for broad and sustainable reference.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
2.2. A long-termed strategic plan will be delivered to Ministry of Construction of Viet Nam for sustainability of the tool.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 3: Transfer of a modeling software to a knowledge institution and establishment of a center of excellence

The ‘Project Management Unit’ (PMU) procured a building energy simulation software to support implementation of some of the activities (pertaining to determination of the baseline energy consumption for the pilot new buildings, where EE measures were implemented) of the project. The building energy simulation software and other such material available with the project, may be transferred to one of the universities/ institutions, so that such material gets used, after implementation of the GEF project. A centre of excellence may also be created at the university/ institution which can also host the knowledge products and data/information compiled under the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Noted the recommendation  

Up to date, there is no signal that the government will establish a centre of excellence for this purpose since it will be potentially combined in a more multi-functional entity than a solely functioned one. Yet, it is sure that the software (and other related deliverables such as training materials) will be transferred either to an institution or to a university for wide application through the MOC/Department of Science, Technology and Environment.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. The software and the training materials will be handed over to MOC/Department of Science, Technology and Environment and/or related institutions for use. This hand-over will be covered in the project final report
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit UNDP 2021/10 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 4: Creation of the test lab for testing the building materials

The present version of the EE building code uses the prescriptive approach, wherein the EE performance of the materials and equipment to be used for construction is prescribed (specified). For successful enforcement of the code it is very important to have a lab for testing the building materials. It is recommended that a laboratory be created for testing the performance of the building materials. Along with creation of the test lab, possibilities may be explored for using the concept of EE labelling for the building materials. It is gathered that technical standards have already been created in this regard. The test lab will become handy for implementation of the concept of EE labelling of building materials.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Noted the recommendation.

The project approach for assessment of energy consumption is based on actual energy performance of a building. It therefore does not serve the prescriptive approach mentioned in the building code. It is agreed that such a lab should be established to improve the code compliance check capacity, and at present MOC is doing this work with the support of CAMARSEC, a German funded project. The recommendation is therefore meaningful for MOC to consider than the project at this stage. This will be noted in the project final report shared with MOC for appropriate actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. Indicate in the project’s final report the recommendation to MOC on the establishment of a laboratory for testing energy performance of building materials.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 5: Revision of Energy efficiency building code to include passive measures as part of EE requirements

Future revision of the energy efficiency in buildings may consider revision of the EE building code to include the passive measures like orientation of the building, shading etc to reduce the cooling/heating load for the building. Such provisions may be made which are specific to different climate zones of Viet Nam. Further, the revision may include the provision of the energy performance method for compliance with the building code, wherein, provision may be made to use a specified building energy simulation model to establish the compliance with the EE building code.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Disagreed

 

While it is strongly agreed that passive design aspects (with orientations and shading devices included) are essential to be considered in EE designs, it is disagreed that these features have not been mentioned in the energy efficiency building code. All recommended elements including orientation, shading or even natural ventilation, etc. have been well included in the current version of the building code (QCVN 09:2017/BXD). For example, the envelop-related requirements (orientation included) are presented in Section 2.1, air ventilation in 2.2 and natural lighting in 2.3. Alternatively, regarding such envelope parameters, the EE code also allows the calculation of OTTV (Overall thermal transfer Value) as an alternative pathway in case single related energy elements cannot meeting the requirements. Notably, the EECB project even developed a specific software for designers to calculate these parameters by themselves. This will be widely disseminated in the MOC website before EOP.

As regards the provision of energy of a performance-based compliance pathway, it has been mentioned in the exit strategy report and the component 3 lessons learnt report. It should be run in parallel with the current prescriptive method as an alternative pathway. It would require the definition of baseline case (strictly compliant) and proposed design parameters to allow a comparison.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Develop project lessons learnt report and exit strategy report to emphasize the need to develop a performance-based approach for EE code compliance.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
5.2. Complete the web-based OTTV software and upload it to the government website (website of Ministry of Construction)
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 6.: Introduce ‘EE Building Code’ and ‘EE measures’ in the Universities’ curriculum

Introduce a curriculum in the one of the Universities regarding the ‘EE Building Code’ and ‘EE measures’ in the buildings. Apart from this a short module on Energy Efficiency in buildings, for skill upgradation and training of the practising professionals and government officials be introduced. This curriculum may later on be introduced in other institutions and universities.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Agreed

As mentioned above, the curriculum on design, construction and operation of EE buildings is under development of the project and will be published and disseminated to relevant stakeholders including related technical universities. Besides, the project is supporting the National University of Civil Engineering to upgrade their own curriculums in relation to energy efficiency in buildings.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. Finalization and Dissemination of the training curriculums to MOC, DOCs and other related institutions such as related technical universities.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
6.2. Finalization of the upgraded curriculums of National University of Civil Engineering with EE building considerations.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 7: Promotion of Energy Service Company (ESCO) model and financing of EE in Viet Nam

Opportunities may be identified for promotion of ESCO models and financing of EE in Viet Nam. Apart from the building sector the ESCO model may take care of other large energy consuming sectors and Renewable Energy (RE) promotion through the ESCO route. In order to implement the ESCO models, there is a need to address the issues relating to the requirement of legal documents for paying for the energy savings in case of implementation of the EE measures through ESCO route for the government buildings and government owned enterprises. At the same time need to have guidelines on M&V system to verifying the ESCO energy savings achieved. Possibilities may be explored for creation of a super ESCO for EE in Viet Nam.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Noted the recommendation

It is agreed that the ESCO models should be taken into consideration in Viet Nam. However, it cannot be addressed within this project framework due to policy constraints regarding verification of energy savings, contracting procedures and etc. However, the project will make specific recommendation in the project final report, of which appropriate and timely interventions of the government, financing entities and the verification party are suggested in order to make feasible for application of ESCO models in Viet Nam in future. At this stage, EECB project technically supported the Ministry of Construction by provision of necessary technical training programs (i.e. Energy audit, communication of the results with clients, etc.) with a guidebook associated that serves as the backbone of the future ESCO infrastructure.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. The recommendation of promotion of ESCO model and financing of EE will be imbedded in the project final report.
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 8: Financial incentives for promotion of EE in building sector

The project design has the provision of working out a scheme of financial incentives for promotion of EE in the building sector. However, considering the funds required for implementing such a scheme, this part of the project could not be implemented. The project has got a detailed assessment regarding the possibilities to provide incentives for promotion of EE in the building sector in Viet Nam. The suggestions in this regard include both fiscal and non-fiscal measures (e.g. allowing higher ratio to land to floor area, Tax rebates etc.). It is recommended that the possibilities of providing incentives for EE in the buildings may be examined afresh (particularly the non-fiscal incentives, as they will not have any financial implications for the government).

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Noted the recommendation

It has been agreed at the mid-term phase and then indicated in the MTR report that non-financial mechanisms can be acceptable at this stage given the fact that financial ones cannot be supported by the Government at this stage. During the project implementation, non-financial incentives have been proposed by the project through a technical report submitted to MOC. Up to date, the project continues supporting MOC to develop the related circular for official promulgation of these non-financial incentives; however, it can hardly be promulgated by MOC before EOP.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1. Continued support of the project to help MOC finalize the draft circular for promotion of EE buildings
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit 2021/10 Initiated
9. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 9: Calculation of the energy savings based on EE measures in new buildings

To compute energy savings due to EE measures in new buildings, the project team has used building energy simulation software to determine the energy consumption in the baseline (normal building with no enhanced EE measures). In this regard it is important to note that the use of building energy simulation models is good for comparing different design options of a given building in terms of the energy performance. However, the use of software is not appropriate to accurately forecast the energy performance of the building.  This is given the limited accuracy level of the building energy simulation models to forecast the energy consumption of the buildings due to a number of reasons (including the occupants behaviour). There is extensive evidence to suggest that buildings usually do not perform as predicted by energy simulation. Sufficient evidence exists which show that ‘Building Energy Models’ predictions do not match up with actual energy use, with an average of 30% discrepancy being observed between the actual usage and predicted performance and in certain cases also have variations as high as 100% consumption of energy to compute the savings achieved.

It is recommended that in case of new buildings, the energy saving achieved should be computed based on the extent of projected energy savings in percent terms by running the baseline design and the design after the intervention in the ‘Building Energy Simulation Model’.  This percent savings should be applied to the actual monitored consumption of energy to compute the savings achieved.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/08/26]

Management response: Noted the recommendation

It is understood that building energy simulation accuracy to predict actual consumption is rather erratic and agreed that energy simulation is better suited to compare different design configurations than to calculate the project impacts regarding actual energy consumption volume. Ideally, such simulations should be re-calibrated with data extracted from the first year and even second of buildings’ operations. The solution proposed is indeed considerable.

However, this recommendation does not work for the current situation of the EECB project when most of new buildings have not fully put into operation after the project support. As a fact, the project impact therefore has been computed only for the existing ones which energy consumption could be immediately verified after the renovation.

It should be noted also that in future when the national energy consumption benchmarking system technically supported by EECB project is put in place in Viet Nam (of which how many Kwh/m2/y per typology and climate zone can be defined), it could also be considered to assess energy savings during operations against the median energy consumption value of buildings of the same typology and climate zone applicable to all buildings of at least one full year under operation. At that stage, whether it is at local and international levels, there is no strict consensus on how to estimate such savings, it should be worked out and estimated according to locally available data.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 Finalize the executive report of the establishment of SEC and energy benchmarking system in Viet Nam and recommend MOC to put the SEC and benchmark systems in place in the project final report
[Added: 2021/08/26]
Project Management Unit UNDP Programme Officer 2021/10 Initiated

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