Brussels has realised that the current measures to reduce the CO2 emissions and to reduce the energy use are not adequate to reach the goals set for 2020 and 2030. One step towards to goal is to further improve the energy efficiency of buildings. The most important tool for the improvements in EU is Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD).
Now when the majority of EU member countries have implemented the EPBD from the year 2010 it is time to consider the next steps. The major requirement in the EPBD 2010 was the demand for nearly zero-energy buildings. The question now is how to improve further the energy efficiency. One of the major ideas in the draft proposal for the improvement in EPBD requirements is to make building better to match to the user behaviour and demands and on the same time integrate better with the energy systems. This kind of smartness of buildings is in the major focus of the proposed revision of EPBD 2010, however, the draft proposes also many other changes. The main points of the proposed revision of EPBD are shortly summarised in this article.
Justification of the revision – energy targets are not met
The EU energy system projections indicate that the current national and European energy efficiency framework would not lead to projected energy efficiency improvements (30% in 2020 and the new 40% target established in 2015). One of the ways to improve energy efficiency is to tap the huge potential for efficiency gains in the building sector. One tool for the improvement of energy efficiency is the EPBD from 2010. The EPBD review is based on a broad public consultation, studies, and meetings with stakeholders and is supported by an evaluation and an impact assessment.
The proposed amendments address the problem that if no changes are made large amounts of cost-effective investments in energy efficiency in buildings would not take place. This is damaging in its own right, given the benefits for security of supply, the environment, reduced energy costs for households and businesses and potential for increased jobs, economy-wide economic activity and mitigation of energy poverty
A draft proposal was made unofficially available in August 2016. The proposal is focusing on a few articles in the current Energy Performance Buildings Directive from 2010.
The objective of the proposal is to make current directive stronger and simpler with some changes. The commission has deleted some requirements which have proven to be difficult to implement, and have been also evaluated not to be cost effective. The scope of directive has been expanded by redefining the technical building system to include also building automation, on site generation of energy and the renewable sources.
The scope of directive is expanded
Technical building system is defined now as “technical equipment for space heating, space cooling, ventilation, domestic hot water, built-in lighting, building automation and control, on-site electricity generation, on-site infrastructure for electro-mobility, or a combination of such systems, including those using energy from renewable sources, of a building or building unit”.
More focus on indoor environment
A significant change is also that the directive has now more emphasis also on indoor environment. The draft now states “The energy needs shall be calculated in order to ensure minimum indoor environmental levels that shall be defined at national or regional level”. The indoor environmental levels are currently defined in many countries including the Scandinavian countries, but not in all Member States.
Long term targets required
The commission also requests the Member States to set a roadmap with clear milestones and measures to decarbonise the national building stock by 2050 with specific milestones in 2030. The long term strategy shall also contribute to alleviate of energy poverty which is coming common in many countries due to high cost of energy for everyday life. The draft also includes several point with objective to increase the investments in energy projects.
Buildings to be integrated with energy networks
Innovation and new technology also make it possible for buildings to support the global decarbonisation of the economy. For example, buildings can leverage the development of the infrastructure necessary for the smart charging of electric vehicles and also provide a basis for Member States, if they choose to, to use car batteries as a source of power.
Member States shall ensure that all new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovations include infrastructure for recharging points for electric vehicles for every parking space without re-intervention on the building structure.
10% of parking spaces shall be equipped with recharging points of vehicles which can be controlled from distance to make maximum benefit of capacity of the electrical network (and changes in prices) by 2013.
Building automation and smart buildings
The digitalisation of the energy system is an area where developments are quickly changing the energy landscape, from the integration of renewables to smart grids up to smart ready buildings. In order to digitize the building sector, smart ready systems and digital solutions within the built environment need to be promoted by providing targeted incentives.
Building automation and smart buildings have an important role in the draft directive. Thinking behind this may be “what to do more to improve the energy efficiency when all building are already nearly zero-energy buildings”. The answer is: let´s make them smart to be able to respond better the user needs in the building and the national or regional energy systems. These “smart building” issues include:
All buildings with total primary energy use over 250 MWh/a have to be equipped with building automation and control system by 2023.
Residential buildings with centralised technical building systems of a cumulated effective rated output of more than 100 kW are equipped with electronic monitoring and effective control functionalities by 2023.
Smart buildings in focus
The commission is also empowered to develop and adopt a Smartness Indicator and provisions on use and ways to convey this information to prospective new tenants and buyers. This indicator shall cover flexibility features, enhanced functionalities and capabilities of a building resulting from more interconnected and built-in intelligent devices being integrated into the conventional technical building systems. The smartness indicator should be used to measure a building's capacity to use ICT and electronic systems to optimise operation and interact with the grid. The Smartness Indicator is not yet defined but the background document outlines that “It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level”.
Extensive databases required
Member States shall make compulsory the inclusion in the national database information on the actual energy consumption of public buildings where the total useful floor area is over 250 m².
Member States have to also develop financial incentives so that they respond to the actual energy savings (energy certificates before and after the renovation).
No more technical inspections
The Commission has also evaluated the cost effectiveness of various measures stipulated in the EPBD 2010 particular focus on inspections. The conclusion was that the inspections are not cost effective and as a consequence Articles 14 “Inspection of heating systems” Article 15 “Inspection of air-conditioning systems” and Article 16 “Reports on the inspection of heating and air-conditioning systems” are deleted in the proposal.
Annex I of the directive dealing with the calculation methods is also amended with the following:
The energy performance of a building shall be expressed by a numeric indicator of primary energy use in kWh/(m²a) in a transparent manner and harmonised for the purpose of both energy performance certification and compliance with minimum energy performance requirements.
The calculation of primary energy shall be based on primary energy factors per energy carrier, which may be based on national or regional annual weighted averages. Primary energy factors shall discount the share of renewable energy in the energy carrier while preventing double counting, e.g. through certified share with a guarantee of origin.
Member States shall transparently describe their national calculation methodology following the national annex framework of related European standards.
Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, August 2016
ANNEX to the Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings
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Olli is the former Secretary General of REHVA and editor-in-chief of the REHVA Journal. He was REHVA president from 2005 to 2008. He has served as the professor of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning at Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and supervised over 250 Master´s Theses and 20 PhD-level theses.