European Commission publishes guidelines on Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings.(NZEB)

The European commission has issued guidelines on how member states should define Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). The guidelines published :COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION (EU) 2016/1318 of 29 July 2016 on guidelines for the promotion of nearly zero-energy buildings and best practices to ensure that, by 2020, all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings specifically set out recommendations for each climatic region.

For Ireland which falls under the Oceanic region this recommends the following definition.

— Offices: 40-55 kWh/(m2.y) of net primary energy with, typically, 85-100 kWh/(m2.y) of primary energy use covered by 45 kWh/(m2.y) of on-site renewable sources;

— New single family house: 15-30 kWh/(m2.y) of net primary energy with, typically, 50-65 kWh/(m2.y) of primary energy use covered by 35 kWh/(m2.y) of on-site renewable sources; and

In order to move towards the NZEB standards from the current regulations, Government is expected to issue a revised Building Regulations Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Energy (and the accompanying Technical Guidance) this year , coming into force in early 2017. This is likely to be defined as using 40% to 60% less energy than under current regulations. This is unlikely to meet the recommendation outlined above so a further revision is likely required ahead of 2020.

What will implementation look like in Ireland?

Commercial and Non residential – In order to move towards the NZEB standard from the current regulations, Government is expected to issue a revised Building Regulations Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Energy (and the accompanying Technical Guidance) this year possibly Autumn 2016, coming into force in early 2017. This is likely to be defined as using 40% to 60% less energy than under current regulations.

Residential – There has already been considerable progress towards the NZEB standard in Ireland with revisions in 2008 and 2011 to Building Regulations Part L -residential. One further step of a 10 -30 % improvement is required to bring building regulations in line with the NZEB requirement.

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