GPR softwareGPR software, English information

GPR software, English information

GPR software assesses and rates environmental impact, energy performance and design quality of buildings and urban developments. The software is used by professionals and public authorities for design, benchmarking and green procurement.

Management and communication tool

GPR software is a management tool for sustainability decision making. It helps to find the optimum between reduction of environmental impact, energy performance and design quality of a building. And it’s used for asset management and policy making. It’s a communication tool clients, designers and construction companies to set targets and monitor performances. Users experience GPR software as simple, accurate and user-friendly.

GPR: perfect software for policy making

  • Facilitates communication about sustainability among stakeholders
  • Performance based targets, for procurement of green projects
  • Insight in sustainability for real estate asset management
  • Monitoring and reporting performances for corporate responsibility

Designer friendly assessment software

  • Benchmarking and comparing sustainability of different designs
  • Easy and quick use, a new building can be assessed in 2 to 4 hours
  • Accurate results, based on energy performance directive and life cycle analysis
  • Attractive for designers due to user-friendly lay-out

Multi-criteria analysis

GPR software assesses a broad range of sustainability and quality criteria. These criteria are grouped into 5 key performance indicators: Energy, Environmental impact, Health, Quality of use and Future Value. Each indicator is divided into sub-indicators. For every performance indicator, there is a rating on a scale from 1 (very poor) to 10 (very good). The higher the rating, the higher its sustainability. Indicators and sub-indicators are calculated based on a multi-criteria analysis. Sub-indicators consist of several criteria, giving users different design options. Each option is awarded a number of points. Points are aggregated to the sub-indicator and then to an indicator score. Scores change visibly and immediately. That stimulates chosing a better alternative.

Environmental impact of energy and material use

Environmental impact of a building or region is determined by its energy and environmental performance. GPR software uses the Energy indicator and the Environment indicator to measure this impact. The Energy indicator is based on dutch national standards for buildings, which comply with the European Building Directive, but uses only a restricted number of parameters. This gives users a choice to make an estimated energy calculation in early design stages.

The Energy indicator is determined by the primary energy use per square meter of usable building area. A 6 for the energy performance indicator represents the requirement in the Building Act. A 10 is only obtained when the building has no CO2 emissions.

The Environment indicator is based on the LCA method (life cycle assessment). 11 impact categories are aggregated into one impact indicator, the so called shadow price, expressed in euro’s per square meter of usable floor area. A LCA database is used to determine the environmental impact of building material and products. Combined with the dimensions of the building and other selected building products, it results in the environmental impact of the entire building. An indication of CO2 emissions caused by material is also available.

With the LCA approach, energy and material related CO2 emissions of a building are calculated in kilograms per square meter of usable area per year. A building with perfect scores (10) on the Energy and Environment indicators has a very low environmental impact but is not yet a true zero emission building. This is because any use of material will inevitably result in emissions within the system boundary. Only by compensating the remaining impact of material with for example CO2 mitigation, a building could be considered as zero-impact or zero-emission. For example a building generating more renewable energy than it consumes. Such a scheme works if all environmental impacts are converted into a single indicator, such as shadow costs.

Complementary to building regulations

GPR software is complementary to national building regulations. The Dutch National Building Act is used as a benchmark. When a building is rated a 6 on every indicator, it meets the requirements in the Building Act. When available, GPR software uses national standards, guidelines or definitions to determine an indicator. Architects use the software to prove compliance with building regulations.


GPR Urban Planning

GPR Urban Planning is suitable for municipalities, developers and planners who want to investigate sustainability of urban development. Several universities in the Netherlands use it in their curriculum.

 

When assessed, performance of the urban plan is rated per indicator. Policy makers and urban planners determine ambitions for each of the five indicators and focus on topics which are relevant to a specific situation. In rural areas, spatial planning might be more relevant, where in densely populated areas health aspects may need more attention.

GPR Urban Planning has been developed by W/E consultants in close cooperation with the municipalities of Tilburg and Groningen. It is being used in over 20 municipalities across the Netherlands. It was used in the European Sustainable Regions project SUSREG.


GPR Building

Our clients face the question how to incorporate sustainability targets into their projects or strategies. GPR Building is the perfect software to do so. The software measures sustainability performance for residential and commercial buildings in an easy, accurate and user-friendly way. Buildings are rated on five indicators, thus the user can see its performance at a glance. It is suitable for new constructions and refurbishments. Therefore, the software is a management tool at each stage in the process: policy making and asset management, design and build.

GPR Building is designed for municipalities, property owners, architects, housing associations, project developers and consultants. Moreover, a large number of universities in the Netherlands use GPR Building in their curriculum. It is licensed to over 400 organisations across the Netherlands, accounting for over 5000 users. English and German translations are available for a selection of the software.

How does it work?

GPR Building assesses environmental impact, energy performance and design quality of new and existing buildings. GPR Building differs from other assessment and rating tools in its simple and quick way to use. Assessments are made in in less than half a day of work. The influence of design choices is immediately visible in the indicator score.

To what buildings does GPR apply?

GPR Building is suitable for residential and non-residential buildings, including dwellings, offices, schools, hotels, day-care centers and shopping malls and health care. Separate software is available for specific buildings like swimming pools, sports centers, railway stations and zoological gardens. When assessed, the building performance is rated per indicator, but the main indicators are not aggregated into one overall score. This makes it easy for policy makers or designers to focus on topics which are relevant to specific situations. In school buildings, the focus often lies on energy, environment and health. Whereas in residential buildings all indicators will be equally important.

GPR Building has been recognized as a national standard by the Dutch public authorities for sustainable procurement and for tax relief schemes (the so called Vamil and MIA scheme for businesses).

Asset management

GPR Building can be used for decision making of refurbishment scenarios. An example of this is the renovation of the Keizer Karel office building in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The building had to be renovated to improve its earning capacity. Three different scenarios for renovation were drawn up:

10% sublime: preserve the building, remaining lifespan of 10 years

extra coat: new design for the façade, preserving the existing façade, remaining lifespan of 25 years

new skin: completely new façade, remaining lifespan of 50 years

Sustainability scores of all three scenarios were determined. Together with a financial analysis, these sustainability scenarios are used to decide which option is the most feasible investment.

Refurbishment

The Apollo House office building is located in Amsterdam. It is an official national monument dating from 1936, designed by the renowned Dutch architect Dirk Roosenburg as headquarters for the national insurance bank. It is rented by Allen & Overy, a lawyer firm who agreed with the owner on a sustainable refurbishment, including substantial cuts in energy use. The building is situated in Amsterdam in the neighbourhood ‘Oud-Zuid’ and consists of two main volumes: a ring at ground level and a vertical block that intersects the ring through a diameter line. The building consists of 18.900 m2 of total usable floor area, mainly offices and some meeting areas (restaurant). The structure of the building is composed of steel with concrete flooring in between and walls with stone facing on the outside.

The case study of the Apollo House shows how an integral evaluation of energy performance and life cycle impact of material can be performed for a renovation project of an existing building. Comparison of life cycle impacts between the current and renovated situation provides highly useful information regarding the design decisions. It illustrates how a sustainable building tool like GPR Building can be used not only to determine the environmental performance of a building after construction or renovation, but also within the decision making process.

Renovation goals and means

Goals formulated during the design phase of the renovation consist amongst others of a strong reduction in energy use, drink water savings, garbage disposal management, healthy indoor air quality and modernising aged building components. The strong reduction in energy use is accomplished by using thermal storage (heat and cold) in the ground for heating and cooling the building. The façade (apart from glazing), ground floor and roof are insulated, a heat exchanger will recover heat in the ventilation system and lighting will be energy efficient (10 W/m2) and daylight dependent.

Glazing wasn’t changed as the building had already HR+ glass (U = 2,2 W/m2K) and the monumental status prohibited too much alteration of the outside appearance of the building. Complaints about drafts due to large glass planes were investigated and dealt with by adding a one meter high single-glazed pane on the inside of the large glass surfaces in the façade. Other measures to increase the comfort of the indoor climate were taken as well. Heating and cooling is now being done by a climatic ceiling (a lowered ceiling where water or other fluid runs through to conduct heat or cold), over which fresh air is being blown by the ventilation system to preheat it.

Results before and after refurbishment

GPR Building allows for a comparison of the situation before and after renovation on 5 indicators. A few results stand out that are relevant for this case.

1. Large energy and health performance increase

2. The performance on Environment is already high in the current situation and decreases slightly, due to newly added materials

3. Most greenhouse gas emissions are caused by energy consumption (construction greenhouse gas emissions are low)

4. Operational greenhouse gas emissions are more than halved after renovation compared to the current situation.

5. After renovation the expected lifespan of the Apollo House is lengthened due to the renovation from 73 to 113 years.

New built

GPR Building is a tool to assess sustainability in the design process of a building. It helps the design team with decision making at different design stages. All members of the design team share the same files and fill out the assessment section that corresponds to their expertise. They can communicate about their choices via annotation fields below each measure. When all indicators are filled out, the result is in an overall impression of the sustainability of the project which can be compared with the initial ambition for the assignment. Has the ambition been met? If not, is the design of ambition to be changed? When these questions are answered, the design process can go it’s the next phase.

Kalliste development Uitgeest

The Kalliste development in Uitgeest is an assignment where GPR Building is used in the design process. In this project of 30 sustainable dwellings, the sustainability ambition was formulated using GPR Building. The target was an 8,0 per indicator. GPR Building was used to assess the sketch design, the preliminary design and the final drawings. The scores differ a little in the different phases. The design team chose to adjust the plans to the ambitions and not vice versa. The average score as judged from the final drawings is higher than 8,0. The initial targets were realised in the design process.


GPR Maintenance

The GPR Maintenance facilitates the understanding of environmental impact in building maintenance. The software measures the sustainability of maintenance scenario’s. This allows clients and contractors to work on sustainable maintenance in a performance-oriented way. GPR Maintenance is a planning tool which enables comparative analysis of sustainability implications and supports long-term economic and environmental responsible decision-making.

How does GPR Maintenance work?

GPR Maintenance uses maintenance scenarios to determine the environmental impact of building maintenance. Per maintenance activity, users quantifie materials, costs and maintenance cycles. The software then shows the environmental impact of the building maintenancevia environmental indicators. These indicators make monitoring, reporting and continuous improvement of sustainable building maintenance possible.

Environmental indicators and shadow-price

The results of the environmental performance are displayed by the so-called shadow price. The shadow price is calculated as the (marginal) cost of measures which are required to meet government targets for the specific environmental theme. An example: for greenhouse gas emissions, the shadow price equals the cost of installing new wind turbines that can mitigate the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by the considered activity. In order to access the data of the different environmental impacts per material, GPR Maintenance is linked to a national environmental database, managed by the Dutch foundation for building quality (SBK).

GPR Maintenance is suitable for housing associations, project developers and consultancy agencies. GPR Maintenance has been developed by W/E consultants in close cooperation with Delft University of Technology and market players. It is now used by more than 20 maintenance companies throughout the Netherlands.

More information?

If you are interested in learning more about GPR software, please contact us via +31 30 677 8777 of info@gprsoftware.nl.

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