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Resource: Quality assurance system for improvement of indoor environment and energy use when retrofitting multi family housing

Name of organisation: IEE project "Square" reviewed by SABO (SW)

Type of ressource: methodology

Addressed barriers:

  • behavior resulting in energy wastage
  • managerial

Addressed users:

  • building user (social housing organization)
  • building owner
  • O&M staff
  • design team
  • project manager
  • contractor


  • English
  • Bulgarian
  • Finnish
  • German
  • Swedish
  • Spanish
  • Dutch

Process stage:

  • pre- design phase (appraisal and strategic briefing)
  • design phase (project briefing)
  • call for tender phase
  • construction phase (construction briefing)
  • commissioning phase
  • use phase (occupancy briefing)
  • maintenance and repair phase


Project Management Thermal Insulation Windows and Shading Air Tightness Solar Thermal Solar Photovoltaic


Within the European project, SQUARE, a Swedish quality assurance (QA) system has been adjusted to suit the process of retrofitting and operation of social housing in European countries. The QA sys¬tem aims to assure energy efficient retrofitting of social housing with good indoor environment, in a systematic and controlled way. Working according to the QA system ensures that the most efficient measures are chosen and that a high level of integrated energy and indoor environmental performance is maintained throughout operation of the buildings. The QA system provides visible and marketable data on savings and indoor air quality performance of the retrofitted pilot projects, which will be disseminated all over Europe and in international forums. This supports decision-making and ensures that suitable energy efficient retrofitting measures are chosen for each case.

The QA system is a tool to enable the housing organisation to retrofit and manage a large number of dwellings in a systematic and controlled way, thus harvesting the great potential for improvements. The overall objective of the SQUARE QA system is to ascertain that all predefined requirements on indoor environment and energy use performance are reached, i.e. that none of them is reached on too high expense of another. It is based on a policy for retrofit actions, indoor environment and energy use defined by the organization, and includes all the steps in the renovation process, i.e. the planning, design, construction and management phases. Continual improvement on energy performance and maintain or improve the indoor environment conditions are part of the management of the retrofitted building. Two main parts can be distin¬guished in the process. The part associated with the management / supervision of the process of retrofit¬ting the building and the part associated with the management of the retrofitted building.


The report of the QA system is available to download from the web site which describes a logical structure for and the essential parts of the QA system but is mainly restricted to the formal parts of the system. A guideline for the implementation of the system, checklists, procedural descriptions and templates, together with guidance on appropriate methods of measurement and instrumentation is available on the website.


The QA system has been introduced in the retrofitting of social housing blocks in Austria, Finland, Spain and Sweden that will be retrofitted to a higher standard of energy and indoor environmental performance.  Experience from the pilot projects applying the QA system is collected. The pilot projects also act as good examples to inspire social housing owners to carry through energy efficient retrofitting projects. Find more information on the pilot projects on: 

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