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Energy Efficient Buildings in Mediterranean Countries. The Role of the Building Energy Performance Regulations and Certification

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The severe summer climate, the actual trends in building design (imported from northern latitudes) and the rising living standard in Mediterranean countries have promoted a massive and unnecessary use of air conditioning systems. This creates considerable problems at peak load times, increasing the cost of electricity and disrupting the energy balance in those countries. Consequently, the energy consumption for cooling of new and existing buildings will become a serious problem in the near future. For southern European countries, the Directive 2002/91/EC (1) on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD) states that priority should be given to strategies which enhance the thermal performance of buildings during the summer period and suggest the development of passive cooling techniques. However, the actual level of transposition of the EPBD to those countries shows a lack of awareness of the above mentioned problem and once again only minor corrections (typically in terms of solar control) have been introduced. The paper discuss the major elements that should be integrated in the energy performance regulation and certification schemes in order to guarantee significant energy savings and the promotion of low energy buildings adapted to Mediterranean climatic conditions and construction practices.

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