New EU energy policies highlight the need for better building data

The European Union has recently announced an ambitious strategy to transition to nearly zero-energy buildings across member states (Policies to Enforce the Transition to Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings in Europe). This new strategy is the latest EU policy targeting the environmental impact of buildings (see also recent amendments to the directive on the energy performance of buildings) and will require further action by building operators to save energy and comply with CO² emission standards. While these ambitions are admirable, they have also left building owners and operators scrambling for an implementation solution ahead of the looming deadlines.

Complying with EU energy policies could be particularly challenging for older buildings, which tend to have poor insulation and outdated heating and cooling systems. In the EU, around 65% of buildings are more than 50 years old, and most of these older buildings will require extensive refurbishments to meet the new energy requirements.


As an initial step, EU member states have come up with different categories for determining the energy footprint of older buildings depending on the age. This system does not, however, take into account minor renovations that will have improved energy conservation, such as installing new windows or heating systems. To accurately assess the energy consumption of a building, documentation of the physical boundaries (such as walls, windows and ceilings) is needed to calculate the heat coefficient from the material of those building elements. The best way to determine the extent of renovations needed to meet energy standards is therefore with an "as-built" scan that captures the current state of the building.

The EU’s zero-energy ambitions highlight the need for better building data. In many cases, building documentation is out of date or inadequate because capturing building data usually requires a professional survey, which tends to be a time-consuming and costly process. In the past, this would have been a serious problem for the EU’s energy ambitions, which mean that millions of square meters need to be surveyed in a short period of time. However, recent advances in technology have radically transformed how building data is captured.

NavVis has developed an innovative technology that solves the time and cost difficulties associated with capturing building data. With the NavVis M3 Indoor Mapping Trolley, scanning is fast and efficient – no matter how large the indoor space is. The NavVis M3 Trolley scans indoor spaces up to 50 times faster than static high definition surveying. Most importantly, the M3 Trolley automatically captures the data as it is pushed through buildings, and therefore can be used by anyone.

NavVis technology has also transformed how building data is viewed and used. After the M3 Trolley captures an indoor space, the NavVis IndoorViewer provides browser-based access to 3D building scenes and point clouds. The photorealistic, centimeter accurate 3D models can be used to make virtually every building process digital. It enables significant efficiency gains as both a means of assessing the current state of a building on a regular basis and as the basis for digital facility management. The information can be viewed in any browser, on any device - meaning "as built/as is" building information is available whenever and wherever it is needed to make a decision.

If you would like to find out more, get in touch!