Redesigning the ‘Check my Home’ platform
Ghent is improving the Check-je-huis tool, profiting from the knowledge and instruments already developed by other Stronghouse partners. Together with IGEMO, the City of Ghent will pilot this latest version and adapt it for more widespread use.
What is Check-je-huis?
It’s an easy access, open-source tool/digital platform for citizens planning energy renovations. Check-je-huis offers free advice and support with a simple walk-through menu that assesses a customer’s current energy consumption and collects information on the user’s behaviour, home ventilation and living environment. The results are then presented in an automatically generated report with estimated EPC label, suggestions for retrofit and anticipated savings on bills and energy use. This report can also be related to an individual home improvement plan, with step-by-step advice and estimated environmental impact. The final plan gives a total overview, including various financial options and, if needed, extra customer support.
Fine-tuning, expanding connectivity
Currently the app designers are trying to balance the amount of questions, making it more user-friendly and not too lengthy. Although the platform is very actively used (5,000 since last June) - some fine-tuning is still required.
The Stronghouse partners recognize the great potential of Check-je-huis. The developers now aim to expand connectivity by linking homeowners to local contractors. The possibility of a contact platform is also being explored - creating a ‘booking.com’ concept - whereby contractors are screened (maybe through manufacturers) and local skilled professionals are recommended to implement the work.
Joint design & feedback
Following their presentation of development updates, Ghent and IGEMO were open to creative feedback from the consortium, underlining the project's joint design approach. Some noteworthy points and suggestions included:
- Coordination. Incorporating a ‘Retrofit Coordinator’ to coordinate certified contactors, secure grants and subsidies and inspect completed retrofit work.
- Pricing and quotes. Contractors will want to do home visits (a valid option, not included in tool).
- Working digitally. Another obstacle is that contractors prefer not to work exclusively with digital systems.
- Data sources. A possible option is to use original building plans as a source of basic information.
The Check-je-huis (Check my Home) tool is already being used by many other municipalities in Belgium and they are keen to use the new and improved Stronghouse version. Watch this space for further progress updates.