The Woningpas (Housing Pass) was introduced in Flanders at the end of 2018 as the first building pass in Belgium. It allows Flemish owners to find out which data is available for their dwelling in one central location. An extension towards non-residential buildings is in development. Wallonie and Brussels are also working on the introduction of a building passport. Below is a brief explanation of the policy instrument.

What's a building renovation passport?

The building renovation passport is a digital collection point for all (administrative) building data. This includes the energy performance certificate and information on flood sensitivity or possible soil contaminants among others. The aim of the passport is to simplify administrative overhead in the construction or renovation of a building. In addition, the pass should provide insight into the energy efficiency of a building and the opportunities for renovation through a step-by-step plan or ‘renovation recommendations’. This contributes to the goal of the regional and European authorities to make the building stock nearly energy neutral (NZEB) by 2050. Building passports are developed for both residential and non-residential buildings.

Impact of the Clean Energy Package

The Buildings Passport was introduced in the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPDB) as an optional tool to support the increase of the renovation rate. The European Commission has worked on a feasibility study based on EPBD article 19a. The aim of this study is to investigate the possibilities and a step-by-step plan for introducing a building passport in Europe.  The implementation of the study was led by the Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE). The study resulted in six possible approaches, varying in the extent to which implementation is left to the Member States. To be effective, the passport must always be implemented with additional financial, fiscal or awareness-raising measures.

Implementation in Belgium

The implementation of a building renovation passport is a regional responsiblity in Belgium. There is currently one building passport in operation, namely the Woningpas (Housing Pass) in the Flemish Region. This passport was launched at the end of 2018 and is currently being further developed. In addition, the Flemish Region is working on the development of a building passport within the BE REEL! project. In the same project the Walloon Region is working on the elaboration of a residential building pass and, in time, an elaboration towards non-residential buildings. The Brussels-Capital Region has indicated in the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKP) that it also intends to develop a Housing Pass.

Design of the passport

There are several variations for design of the building passport. At European level, the pass is very strongly linked to the realization of climate objective for buildings. As a result, there seems to be a strong emphasis on the elaboration of a renovation advice within the passport within the European projects. The Woningpas (Housing Pass) focuses more on the provision of all available information about the building and what can be of interest to the user. This leads to a somewhat broader housing pass, in which information on, for example, land use can also be consulted. The information about the renovation possibilities is only one of several themes that will be taken into account.

Woningpas (Housing pass)

The Woningpas (Housing Pass) is one of the actions developed by the Flemish ‘Renovation Pact’ to draw up a step-by-step plan for energetic renovation works. A first 'light' version was launched online at the end of 2018. It included general building information and information on energy, soil, sunlight and environment. Several expansions have been made since the launch, such as the possibility to share the pass with third parties that became available at the end of April 2020. The intention is to further evolve towards a 'Housing pass 2.0' around 2021 and 'Housing pass further' around 2022. In addition, an extension towards enterprises is being considered; the ‘Gebouwenpas’ (Buildings Pass). The Woningpas (Housing Pass) has already won a number of design prizes, such as the prestigious Henry van de Velde Award for 'Digital Product' and the eGov award from Agoria.

Current developments

Currently, the focus lies on the development and expansion of the building and housing passes in the three regions.  These activities are partly carried out as part of the European LIFE project BE REEL! In addition, the Flemish Energy Agency was active as a partner in the European Horizon project iBroad.

European grant project BE REEL!

Life BE REEL! is a European project aimed at increasing the degree of renovation of housing, which is led by the Walloon and Flemish regions. The project is part of the European LIFE programme and includes several sub-projects. A number of these sub-projects are aimed at the development, testing and further elaboration of the Flemish Woningpas (Housing Pass) and the Walloon 'passport bâtiment’ (Building Passport). The project started in January 2018 and will be completed by the end of 2024.

European grant project iBroad

In addition to the (mandatory) feasibility study EPBD art. 19a, there was also a European subsidy project 'iBroad' within the Horizon programme aimed at developing step-by-step renovation plans for buildings. The Flemish Energy Agency (VEA) is a partner in this project based on their experiences with the Woningpas (Housing Pass) and the renovation recommendations in the energy performance certificate EPC+. The result was a two-pronged approach consisting of a logbook for buildings (the iBRoad-Log) and a model for a tailor-made step-by-step plan for the building and its use (the iBRoad-Plan).

Role of Agoria

Agoria participates as a stakeholder in the workshop in which the proposals for the further development of the Flemish Woningpas (Housing Pass) are discussed. This is done through a co-creation process of different government services, stakeholders and citizens. Within Agoria, the developments on the other building and housing passes are followed as part of the regional long-term renovation strategies in the Renovation Working Group. These strategies need to be developed as an annex to the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKP) by each Member State. For more information about participation in the Renovation Working Group, click here (FR) or here (NL).