SPE is the expert in sustainable building that determines and compares the degree of sustainability of buildings by means of a simple questionnaire that you can fill out from any country in the world.
Price: free (in-app purchases)
Languages: English / Spanish / Catalan
Runs offline: no
Last update: Android 13/02/2017 (v. 1.2) – iOS 30/11/2016 (v. 1.0)
Website of the developer: Green Building Management
This application makes it possible to know if you live in a sustainable house. The procedure used is based on the answer to a series of questions related to aspects such as accessibility, energy efficiency or water consumption.
In order for it to work correctly, you must open a user account (remember to verify it through the link that will arrive at your email). Once registered, you can include the properties you want and compare them each other. For each of them, in addition to an identifying name, you must provide the address, location, postal code, country and province (in the app is referred to region).
In the next step, you will answer the questions included in the app. They are grouped around 9 thematic areas:
- General, where you must respond to data related to the surface of the house, how many floors it has, etc. The questions that can generate doubt have a question mark through which you can clarify concepts.
- Health and well-being, which addresses issues related to ventilation, lighting, acoustic comfort or regulation of heating.
- Accesibility, which includes questions about the availability of elevator in the building or if the house itself has stairs.
- Energy, section in which you must indicate the energy efficiency rating of the different appliances.
- Economics, section that takes into account what type of fuel your heating uses or what is the annual fee of the owners’ community.
- Transport/mobility, on access to means of public transport and other equipment located in the immediate vicinity of your home (pharmacies, schools, health centers, etc.).
- Water, where you have to answer questions related to water consumption, whether you have a bathtub or not, or use some system to control leaks.
- Maintenance, about how the façade is, the type of floor of your home, what material the windows are, etc.
- Environment, Which includes topics related to the previous use of the land where your home is built or the type of community garden, if any, that has the building.
As a result, a graphic valuation is obtained, showing whether it is a sustainable home or not. Additionally, and after payment of €5, you can receive a more detailed report that includes, among other topics, specific improvement proposals and tips and good practices to make your residence more sustainable.
Images: screenshots 17/04/2017. ©Green Building Management
According to Eurostat, approximately 18 % of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the households. Some of these emissions are due a poor insulation of the house and the use of energy inefficient appliances, for example, two aspects that can be improved in an easy way.
But first and to take the best decisions to reduce GHG emissions individually, it’s necessary to know what the starting point is. In this task, applications such as SPE can be useful, since they collect many of the aspects on which we can act, although there are some of them about which little can be done (some of the questions are conditioned by the size of the town of residence, for example). Nevertheless and although the idea that has inspired the app is attractive, several actions are needed in order to improve the user experience. For example, during tests with an Android 6.0 device, some errors have been detected such as blocking or error messages. Similarly, options like the comparison between different buildings have been impossible to execute. Some design flaws (icons overlap) have also been observed. In the same way and although the FAQ section refers to the possibility of access without registration, no such option has been found, hence the section Description includes the obligation to open a user account. Likewise and although the methodology on which this application is based has been published in the magazine Energy & Buildings, it would be interesting to incorporate a small explanation about it.