European Retrofit Advisor

Building on the Empa-developed "Retrofit Advisor", E2ReBuild will produce an easy to use decision tool for renovation strategies - the European Retrofit Advisor.

The European Retrofit Advisor is available free of charge as an internet based tool.

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The Retrofit Advisor, developed by Empa, is an Excel-based tool that allows a simple but detailed evaluation of retrofit options for apartment buildings. It was originally developed in Switzerland as an electronic guide for the renovation or reconstruction of residential buildings.

The tool is further developed within the E2ReBuild project as the on-line, European Retrofit Advisor. The E2ReBuild participating countries will integrate their own key figures and building types to adapt the tool to a widre range of European building types.


Why is a decision tool needed?

  • Decisions to renovate a building are often done emotionally and not based on a profound analysis.
  • Clear criteria for choosing a renovation strategy or even demolition and reconstruction are often missing.
  • Renovation works are therefore often not optimal. They may even hinder later renewal measures.
  • Many European apartment buildings have an age of 40 – 60 years and have an urgent need an extensive modernisation

How does it work?

Based on few input-data, the actual value of the property, its value after renovation and the estimated cost for refurbishment may be evaluated. It is an ideal tool to evaluate retrofit scenarios financially. Environmental and the social impacts of the retrofit measures are also included in the final evaluation. Thus, the advantage of the Retrofit Advisor is that it allows a detailed multi-criteria analysis of renovation options.

The Retrofit Advisor is designed for easy access by non-professionals as well as for detailed analysis by professional users. The easy access is achieved by an input-generator that uses pre-defined building types and renovation scenarios. Adjustments are easily made, to allow for adaptation to the selected building type and renovation scenario to the real situation. The image below describes five different renovation scenarios generated for a suburban multi-storey building in Switzerland.


 Five different retrofit scenarios
Renovation scenarios for a detached suburban apartment building (central image), constructed around 1930:

1. As is, standard renovation

2. Low energy renovation

3. Advanced renovation with elevator and new roof apartment

4. Advanced renovation with flat roof extension

5. Advanced renovation with flat roof and space extension


Goals for the European Retrofit Advisor:

  • Quick but profound analysis of renovation potentials of apartment buildings
  • Evaluation of economical, environmental and energy related aspects as well as social indications of a building renewal
  • Support of impartial decision process concerning repair, renovation or reconstruction of apartment buildings
  • Focus on overall renovation concepts with a future energy consumption of 30-50 kWh/(m²∙year)


Mark Zimmermann, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa), Switzerland

E2ReBuild – Industrialised energy efficient retrofitting of residential buildings in cold climates. Contact