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Optimising the energy use of technical building systems – unleashing the power of the EPBD’s Article 8

  • Date:
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
    Jan Groezinger
    Andreas Hermelink
    Bernhard von Manteuffel
    Markus Offermann
    Sven Schimschar
    Paul Waide
  • Publisher(s)/Producter(s):
    Ecofys Consultancy

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. If rate and depth of energy efficiency improvements in existing building continue on a Business-As-Usual path a significant gap will remain both to the proposed binding 30% by 2030 energy efficiency target and to the massive reductions of greenhouse gas emissions for 2030 and 2050 as set out in the “Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050”.

This report wants to contribute to close that gap. Two central questions were to be answered:

  1. How much can optimisation of the energy use of technical building systems (TBS), i.e. “technical equipment for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water, lighting or for a combination thereof, of a building or building unit” 1 , contribute to fill the gap until 2030?
  2. What measures should be taken – with a focus on the ongoing revision of the EPBD - to let optimisation of TBS significantly help filling the gap till 2030?

Immediate action should be taken to unleash the savings potential which lies in optimising the energy use of technical building systems. This is because optimisation of technical building systems quickly delivers cost-effective significant savings without creating lock-in effects. It also helps to close the performance gap often observed during stepwise renovation towards nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB) and it supports the persistence of energy savings. Such optimisations could be implemented at a much higher renovation rate than its indispensable counterpart “building insulation”, without hampering it. In this study we assumed an annual rate of 3.6% for the renovation of TBS, which seems to be reasonable and feasible, as it equals the estimated rate for the renewal of heat generators. Quick action also helps to reduce cumulated CO2 emissions which is the ultimate target of climate policy.

Last but not least through advanced building automation and control systems (BACS), TBS become an active, manageable part of the energy system in transition, offering more flexibility options. This unlocks savings potentials beyond buildings’ walls and increases the readiness of buildings for smart operation within the energy system, like a potential interaction of buildings and e-mobility.

The main policy recommendations for unleashing the savings potential of TBS are as follows:

  • The ongoing revision of the EPBD should be used to give a significant push to a substantial increase of rate and depth of technical building systems’ optimisation in existing buildings.
  • The ongoing revision of the EPBD should be used to provide more guidance on Article 8, including best practice examples for the enforcement of its implementation.
  • The Commission should encourage Member States to clearly address the most efficient order of measures in their national long-term renovation strategies. Due to the optimisation of TBS being a no-regret, short payback instrument it usually should rank high.
  • The Commission should specifically provide further guidance on BACS for supporting their proper implementation, including best practice examples, guidance on cost-optimal solutions, and application for monitoring of the implementation of national renovation roadmaps.
Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes
Policy Quality
Sustainable building design and construction
Building economics
Cost effectiveness
Zero Energy Building