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What is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive?

The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) 2002 became law in Ireland from 2006 onwards. The Directive includes a number of elements designed to promote improved energy performance for new and existing buildings. The following is a summary of the measures with an update of their implementation status in Ireland provided in italics:

Methodology for Calculating Energy Performance

A framework for the development of a methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings

In Ireland, this led to the introduction of the Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP) and the Non-domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (NEAP) software.

Minimum Requirements for Energy Performance

Minimum requirements for the energy performance of new buildings and provision for updating these standards

 

Reflected in amendments to Irish Building Regulations.

Energy Performance of Renovation Works

Minimum requirements on the energy performance of major renovation works to large existing buildings

 

Also accounted for in recent revisions to Building Regulations.

 

Energy Certification

A requirement for energy certification of buildings

Led to the introduction of Building Energy Rating (BER) in Ireland.

Inspection of Boilers and Air Conditioning

The inspection and assessment of boilers and of air-conditioning systems in buildings

 

Minimum efficiency standards for oil and gas boilers are set out in current building standards, the establishment of the Home-heating Appliance Register of Performance [HARP] database.

EPBD Recast 2010

The EPBD was recast in 2010 in acknowledgment of a need to increase efforts to achieve energy efficiency targets. The EPBD Recast 2010 enhanced and expanded on the 2002 Directive. The main thrust of the recast is the objective to achieve nearly zero energy new buildings mainly based on renewable energy sources by 2020. The following is a summary of the provisions with an update of status for Ireland:

 

Public Buildings

Public buildings are to be at the forefront of the drive towards nearly zero energy buildings, with their target date set for the end of 2018, two years earlier than other buildings.

 

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) already have a significant Public Sector Programme in place with ambitious targets of 33% savings set for 2020.

Near Zero Energy Buildings

Member states are required to draw up action plans outlining how they will increase the implementation of near zero energy buildings including a list of the incentives provided to promote the transition to this standard nationally.

 

Ireland’s action plan for the implementation of the EPBD Recast was published for public consultation in September 2012 by the EPBD Implementation Group.

Cost Optimal Performance

A common methodology for calculating energy performance is set out which takes into account cost optimal performance, i.e. takes into account the cost implications over the life cycle of the building including investment, maintenance, operating costs and energy savings

 

DECLG are developing a cost optimal methodology and this will be applied to all future amendments to building regulations.

System Requirements

Member states are to provide for set system requirements in respect to installation, sizing, adjustment and controls. This applies to heating systems, hot water, air conditioning and large ventilation systems.

 

While this is taken into account in current regulations for dwellings, DECLG are due to publish new guidelines for buildings other than dwellings imminently.

Alternative Energy Systems

In respect of new buildings, the feasibility of high efficiency alternative energy systems, such as renewables, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and district heating systems, is to be given due consideration prior to construction.

 

In Ireland, the analysis may be carried out for individual buildings or groups of similar buildings.

 Renovations and Extensions

Major renovations and extensions should be subject to the current minimum energy performance requirements for such buildings “in so far as it is technically, functionally and economically feasible to do so”

 

Amendments to Irish Building Regulations already provide for energy performance upgrades in material alterations to existing dwellings).

Energy Performance Certificates

The introduction of more rigorous inspection and monitoring procedures for the issuing of building energy performance certificates.

 

Reviews of NEAP and DEAP are ongoing while DECLG consider that existing administrative mechanisms for BER are already robust enough to fulfil the requirements of the Recast.

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