After finishing the first phase of reviewing and analysing previous experiences and literature, on 15 and 16 March 2018 the AZEB partners got together for a partner meeting in Darmstadt, hosted by the Passive House Institute. The time had come for the first serious test of the partners’ skills and capabilities: would the AZEB partners be able to come up with a coherent framework to give a first good structure to the diverse and huge package of information assembled? After all, AZEB is to deliver an integrated process for cost reduction, an NZEB methodology and not just a set of solutions! Also, we still had some issues concerning the indicators we would use in the methodology.
By some of us these two days were anticipated as an exciting and creative challenge, others found it rather daunting and worrisome. But the great thing is that differences in personality and background proved to be key to creativity once again. On the first day we first summarized the results from the review and analysis and discussed the possible implications for the NZEB methodology to be developed. Then we went in-depth in researching two major viewpoints that we saw as possible “backbones” of the methodology.
The first viewpoint discussed was the so-called “client-journey”. What if we look at the whole building process from the viewpoint of the client-user of the building? How does this influence the steps we take, the decisions we make? Which instruments are available to make this client journey tangible? And how can it help reduce costs?
The second viewpoint we discussed was the costing process. Which costs are related to which part of the project and where are possibilities to reduce costs? How can we use this information to cost-optimize our project? How can techniques like value engineering be built in? And how can we use this in structuring our NZEB methodology?
During this first day we had some plenary sessions, but mainly worked in small groups and the energy was high. We were very productive and inspired. However, at the end of the day we somehow stranded in the mud… our minds were boggled and we had no clear view of a method yet. A stressful moment. We got confronted: it is truly a complicated task we have picked up with AZEB…
A clear framework
On the second day it all came together in just 1,5 hours and two subgroups. Was it a good night’s sleep? Was it the unconscious working through the night and putting the pieces of the puzzle together? What a relief! And how great to see that this is what tolerance of (sometimes almost clashing) differences and faith in each others specific competencies can bring. We are very happy with our results of this meeting: a clear framework. We will be working to optimize it the coming month. The publication of the first draft of our AZEB method is expected in May/June 2018!