Defining the Nearly Zero Energy Building – Passive House and renewables

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires all new buildings to be nearly-zero by the end of 2020. There are already numerous examples of buildings throughout Europe that, through a combination of Passive House Standard with renewable energy sources, can be regarded as Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). Hence, there is a considerable amount of knowledge and experience already available in different European regions that have successfully implemented NZEB approaches. Their experience and best practices were made accessible online.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires all new buildings to be nearly-zero by the end of 2020. All new public buildings already must be nearly zero-energy by 2018.

defining-the-nearly-zero-energy-building

Nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) have a very high energy performance so that the low amount of energy that these buildings require can come from renewable sources (Source: ec.europa.eu).

There is a considerable amount of knowledge and experience already available in different European regions such as Tyrol, Hannover and Brussels that have successfully implemented Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) approaches. With the Passive House Standard as a basis complemented by renewables, some regions have delivered a blueprint. At the same time, many regions newer to NZEB approaches are quickly developing inspiring solutions and valuable strategies. Some of their buildings were built between 2012 and 2015 in the Beacon Regions of the PassREg project; others were awarded with the 2014 Passive House Award.

Within the EU-funded project PassReg, these successful approaches, methods and tools were already gathered and made accessible for regions and stakeholders throughout the EU and beyond in an open source wiki, known as the Solutions Open Source (SOS). Furthermore, there is an informational online-brochure (Flipbook) available showing best NZEB practices based on the Passive House standard in combination with renewable energies. Most importantly, the brochure provides strong examples of how municipalities can implement NZEBs through the use of Passive House and renewables. It is ideal to be shared with local politicians and relevant municipal representatives in assisting in defining the Nearly Zero Energy Building and providing compelling measures that municipalities can implement for the building sector in achieving policy goals and regulations. Benefit from the already existing knowledge and have a look!

When starting an EU-funded project such as Sinfonia, it is always important to link to already existing projects and build on already existing tools.

Lessons learnt:

The main lessons learned from the PassREg project were:

  • Empowerment of local and regional authorities and involvement of local politicians is key for the introduction of Passive House in construction practices. The involvement of decision makers at the highest political level and at all possible occasions should be targeted since existing political will is a leading factor in sustainable energy development (whether at the regional/municipal level or national/federal level)
  • Availability of financial incentives to build to Passive House Standard helps encourage more Passive House buildings. The level of subsidy/incentive may not necessarily need to be very high (dependent upon the region). Incentives aid the development of beacon/example projects, which in turn help gain support across industry and stakeholders by demonstrating their success.
  • Training and awareness raising activities across all stakeholders (including the municipal staff and politicians) are important to build capacity in regions in order to design, specify and construct Passive House buildings correctly. This includes the availability of guidance/support bodies through which information and training can be provided and informational campaigns for end-users as well.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/intelligent/projects/en/projects/passreg

More information: https://passreg.eu/

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