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Belgium initiatives to promote Europe-wide harmonized energy efficiency standards

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REHVA advocates the need for harmonised application of EPB standards across Europe, which needs active involvement of national standardisation bodies and stakeholders, to achieve a harmonized energy performance calculation framework.

 

In this sense, the Energy Efficiency Event organized in Brussels on Tuesday 17 October by NBN, the Belgian Bureau for Standardisation, is a good example of stakeholders’ awareness raising activity. The key message the event explored was “how standards help to be energy efficient” featuring Belgian standardisation experts, building professionals and academia as speakers.

 

Ellen Bartholomeeusen and Maureen Gillet from NBN provided the audience with a general overview of the Belgian Standardisation Body activities, which is both ISO and CEN member, and promoted the benefits of participating in standardisation committees, which are, among others, the possibility of getting first-hand knowledge and to influence the standards development process.

 

Piet Vitse, well-known standards expert, Director and Manager at Pittsburgh Corning Europe, presented the funding principles of ISO 50001 – Energy Management Systems. This high-level standard offers a Plan-Do-Check-Act approach to score performance-based goals for efficient energy use in organisations.

 

The attention was then directed to EPB standards. Dirk De Moor, Chief Expert on Standardisation at Agoria, presented the EU legislative background of standardisation related to energy efficient products: the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Building Directive, the Ecodesign Framework Directive, the recently published Energy Labelling Framework Regulation and the Eco Design Regulation on standby and off-modes. De Moor highlighted the problem of massive variations in the national calculation methods of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and the key role of EPB standards towards their harmonization. Piet Vitse detailed the EPB standards main features and the involved technical committees, stressing the central role of European expertise in these international standards. One of the main advantages of EPB standards is their modular structure, which enables their local and step-by-step implementation based on an overarching solid structure. Using Vitse’s words, “If I was a professor, I would use the overarching standard [EN ISO 52000-1] for my course, because there is everything inside”. This modular framework is not only the basis for a fair competition in the energy efficiency market, but it also enables an iterative and interactive revision process between CEN and the National Standardisation Bodies.

 

The second part of the event was dedicated to display how Belgian standards relate with the construction practice and with research. Luc Dedeyne, architect at BENERGIE, presented good examples of the practical application of Belgian standards in the design process. Prof. Arnold Janseens from Ghent University gave an overview of the ongoing research activities  devoted to spot reasons and to provide solutions for the  performance gap between EPCs designed and actual energy performance of in buildings. These studies recently converged in a national FWO-SBO project (2017-2021)  developing inputs for the next generation of building energy assessment methods.

 

The event was the first one in a series of activities targeting national experts in the standardisation process, as a first step to promote the use of homogenous calculation procedures at the national legislative level.

 

To coordinate similar initiatives in several Members States, a central guidance is needed to guarantee the best local implementation options while safeguarding the overall coherence with the international reference framework. In this view, the EPB Center initiative will indeed offer a valuable service of coordination and support. 

Belgium initiatives to promote Europe-wide harmonized energy efficiency standards