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European Commission recommendations on promotion of NZEBs

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European Commission Recommendations on promotion of nZEBs

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On July 29th 2016, the European Commission released its guidelines for the promotion of NZEBs and best practices that, by 2020, all new buildings are NZEBs.


Nearly Zero Energy -or very low amount of energy requirements- Buildings (NZEBs) represent one of the key measures set by the European Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). The concept of nZEBs will apply from January 2021 onwards (from January 2019 for public buildings). 


Member States shall implement these requirements according to benchmarking system (principle of cost-optimality), revision national minimum as well energy performance requirement.  Renewable energy sources (in the frame of the RES Directive 2009/28/EC) in the share of primary energy used or as a contribution in kWh/(m2.y) can also contribute to lessen energy performance of buildings.


Numerous reports, including the joint research centre’s synthesis on national plans for NZEBs or the Concerted Actions on EPBD, have addressed the current national strategies.  


The EC recommendations highlighting the following trends in Member States transposition:


  • While the Commission acknowledges some slow improvements by member States, efforts should be set up to ensure that the 2018/2020 targets are met
  • Comparability among Member States is challenging as energy performance calculation methodologies vary.
  • Member States have increased the number and range of policies and measures in support of NZEBs objective. Such measures imply qualitative support (education, stricter building regulation, energy performance certificates) as well as financial instruments.


As the EPBD review is due during the last quarter of 2016 and given the particular attention paid to energy efficiency policy, the EC publishes the following recommendations:


  • Set national definition of NZEBs sufficiently ambitious based on proposed benchmark energy performances of NZEBs according on climatic zones
  • Member States should assess at the earliest whether adaption of existing practices is needed
  •  Synergies among policies, support measures and NZEBs are advisable
  • Member States should furthermore focus on the refurbishment of existing building stocks towards NZEBs levels. 


For further information on current EPBD debate, please refer to the EPBD tag on our website