Why is standardization at EU level so important?

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Today most companies (consultants, manufacturers and contractors) work internationally. From their point of view it is preferable to have internationally accepted calculation methods and input data for the energy efficiency of buildings and building systems.
European standards should therefore form the basis of any revision of national building codes. The IEE CENSE project (www.iee-cense.eu) will interact with all partners (building code writers, consultants, manufacturers, educational institutions, etc.).
The point is to establish a two-way communication:
- CENSE will provide information about the “European Method” and explain the background and use of the standards.
- CENSE will gather information on any obstacles that are encountered and provide examples of good practice for use when applying the standards, in dialogue with the Member States and other stakeholders and will provide feedback to CEN for a any revision of the standards.

So will the future be one harmonized set of CEN procedures to assess and express the energy performance of buildings?

That would be ideal from the point of view of harmonization.
However, we still have to see to what extent regional differences in Europe require differentiation of input data and boundary conditions.

This has to do with differing climates, building traditions (types of new and existing buildings, types of skill) and the economic and social climate (user behaviour, availability of products and skills), legal settings and quality assurance. It may also have to do with related national or regional requirements.To name a few:

  •  indoor air quality (e.g. which affects the input data for ventilation rates),
  • summertime comfort (e.g. which affects the input data for temperature set points), 
  •  usability of indoor spaces (e.g. which affects the classification of an attic as a storage space or as a study or bedroom).

It will be very interesting and important to learn to what extent such differentiation will constitute an obstacle for trans-border transparency, in particular for the comparison between Member States of the energy performance of buildings.

Question submitted by: Dick van Dijk (TNO, The Netherlands)
Anwered by: Dick van Dijk (TNO, The Netherlands)
Date: 29/04/2009