European legislation makes nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEBs) a standard by 2020. The technology is available and proven; however, the large-scale uptake of nZEB construction and renovation remains a challenge. ZEBRA2020 monitored the market uptake of nZEBs across Europe and provided data and knowledge on how to reach the nZEB standard. This information was structured and analysed to derive recommendations. ZEBRA2020 covers 17 European countries and almost 90% of the EU/EEA building stock and population.
The online data tools provide unique information regarding nZEB market development and nZEB characteristics. New approaches have been developed in order to allow for a better comparability of national data. However, the absence or difficult accessibility to key data and in particular for non-residential and existing buildings as well as for renovations remains an important obstacle.
The online nZEB tracker, based on a set of criteria, assesses the nZEB market maturity. On EU-level, the tracker shows a substantial gap of market maturity that still has to be closed by 2019/2021. A set of barriers and related recommendations have been identified both at national and EU level:
• The implementation of a common, shared long-term vision for the building stock is crucial.
• A quantitative comparison of national nZEB definitions is complex due to different system boundaries, calculation methodologies, applied factors etc. However, our analysis indicates that a significant share of nZEB definitions does not meet the intention of the EU directive on energy efficient buildings (EPBD) that the energy consumption should be “nearly zero or very low amount” and the remaining part “should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources”. Thus, the new EPBD requires clear definitions of these terms and thresholds. Further, it is important to distinguish between new buildings and renovations – despite of a common nZEB definition for both cases.
• The nZEB compliance monitoring and sanctions regimes need improvement. Only about half of the covered Member States monitor the compliance of new buildings with energy performance requirements.
• The lack of professional skills continues to be an important barrier and should remain a focus, especially in case of new built.
• In many Member States, the reliability and credibility of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) is often questioned by actors on the real estate market. Transforming EPCs into Building Certificates (“Passes”) for the whole lifetime of a building may increase credibility and serve as a key measure to foster building renovation towards an nZEB standard. Storage of building data in an electronically accessible national database may contribute to better data availability.
• Energy poverty and vulnerable consumers are a European-wide issue and need further attention. Shifting from fuel subsidy to energy efficiency support is required.
• Future-proof buildings will be highly-efficient micro energy-hubs consuming, producing, storing and supplying energy. A revised nZEB definition should be future-proofed to be a smart building and district-ready.
The European building stock and energy system are at the initial stages of a journey towards becoming smart: moving from a centralised, fossil fuel-based and highly-energy-consuming system towards one that is more efficient, decentralised, consumer-focused and powered by renewable energy. The international law to limit global warming to below 2°C following the Paris Agreement puts a renewed emphasis on the need for Europe to accelerate the smart energy transition.
The main objective of the proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which the European Commission released on the 30th November 2016 “is to accelerate the cost-effective renovation of existing buildings.” Acceleration is urgently needed.
While the focus is on the City of Belgrade, the aim of this report is to support all public authorities and agencies developing and implementing integrated approaches to both energy efficiency in buildings and district energy supply. It provides guidance to decision-makers in Belgrade, while presenting universal recommendations to align district energy and energy efficiency in buildings.
The UN Environment Programme (UN Environment) is supporting the Belgrade public authorities to improve energy efficiency of buildings and associated energy systems, as part of its role in the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) and District Energy in Cities (DES) Initiative under the Sustainable Energy for all (SE4ALL) Initiative.