The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.

Inclusion of New Buildings / NZEBs in Residential Building Typologie (EPISCOPE project)

Share this Post:

Building typologies have proved to be a useful instrument for an in-depth understanding of the energy performance of certain building types and categories. In the framework of the IEE project TABULA, residential building typologies have been developed for 13 European countries following a common methodological structure. Each national typology consists of a classification scheme grouping buildings according to their size, age and further energy-relevant parameters, and a set of exemplary buildings representing the respective building types [IWU 2012a].

In the course of the IEE project EPISCOPE, 10 of these typologies have been further developed and new typologies for 6 more countries have been elaborated. In this context, the common typology scheme has been extended to additionally include showcase examples of new buildings meeting the national requirements or, as an alternative, more ambitious standards up to nearly zero-energy building (NZEB) level.

The recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in 2010 [EPBD 2010] stipulates that all new buildings constructed within the European Union after 2020 should reach nearly zero-energy levels. Thereby, a ‘nearly zero-energy building’ means a building that has a very high energy performance, […]. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby; (Article 2, No. 2.)

This ambitious committment supports the radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions highlighted by the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report [IPCC 2014] as well as the long term targets of the European Union. With its “Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050” [COM 2011], the European Commission has looked beyond its short term objectives and set out a pathway for achieving deep emission cuts by the middle of the century. The Roadmap suggests that the European Union should prepare to cut its domestic emissions to 80 % below 1990 levels. Thereby, the 80 % reduction is just the minimum aim — the roadmap lays out plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95 %. Energy efficiency is identified to be a key driver of the transition, and the built environment is supposed to provide low-cost and short term opportunities to reduce emissions — first and foremost through improvement of the energy performance of buildings.

It is expected that more than one quarter of the European 2050s building stock is still to be built [BPIE 2011]. Consequently, the effective implementation of nearly zero-energy buildings needs to be supported by providing guidance, common principles and quality checks of the concepts. The inclusion of this standard in national residential building typologies aims to make a corresponding contribution by disseminating information and showcase examples in national “Building Typology Brochures” and online through the TABULA WebTool. Referring to the appearance and details of actual existing buildings proves the feasibility of the concepts.

Apart from being a source of information for house owners, the showcase examples can also be used in energy advice or energy certificate software as pre-defined datasets in order to show possible combinations of constructions and supply systems. Furthermore, they may be used by key actors to present the impact of policies and measures in an illustrative manner. This report presents an overview of the current national minimum requirements, related national calculation methods, the status of the national NZEB definitions as well as information on how these new built concepts were integrated in the national residential building typologies for the 17 participating countries. The overall objective is to enable an understanding of diverse energy-related approaches and requirements for new buildings in the residential sector in different countries and to learn from each other on how to develop successful energy saving strategies. A focus is placed on the energy consumption for space heating and domestic hot water.

Official NZEB definitions are not yet available in most countries. In the following chapters, appropriate concepts were considered, as far as is possible, referring to supposed future national approaches. From a European point of view, the harmonised approach provides a framework for cross-country comparisons of residential NZEB concepts.