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nZEB provisions for existing buildings: delayed refurbishments or market-driven major renovations?

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Overview of national nZEB definitions by building typology [JRC, 2016]

Overview of national nZEB definitions by building typology [JRC, 2016]

On 29 July 2016, the European Commission published its recommendation on nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB).


Many stakeholders who commented on the draft last year were looking forward to the final version, especially concerning the nZEB provisions for existing buildings. As highlighted by the recent JRC report, it is particularly important to further strengthen measures addressed to existing building stock and successfully stimulate cost-effective nZEB renovation in a forward-looking perspective.


Article 9.2 of the EPBD requires Member States (MS) to develop policies and take measure in order to stimulate the transformation of buildings that are refurbished into nZEBs. The nZEB recommendation, while highlighting the importance of having the same nZEB definition for both new and existing buildings, confirms the possibility of having different timelines and financial support for existing buildings in recognition of the longer period required for nZEB levels to be cost-optimal


While some countries have already put in place distinguished timelines up to 2020 (e.g. Austria), other countries (e.g. Denmark) extend the energy performance requirements for new buildings to major renovations of existing buildings (defined in article 2.10 of EPBD) as long as they are financially and technically feasible. 


Some MS don’t have yet a nZEB definition which includes a numerical target of primary energy use. Will they choose delayed timelines or more market-driven approaches by embracing specific feasibility concepts?