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What is nZEB in Ireland

The construction industry is changing so fast and keeping up with the new Building Regs Part L and nZEB (nearly Zero Energy Building) is task in itself.

QualiBuild will post a number of factsheets on these changes and how they impact you as a construction worker, site manager, professional and building owner.

What is the nZEB standard?

Definition:Nearly Zero Energy Buildings’, nZEB means a building that has a very high energy performance where the nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby“.

This definition was inserted into the Building Regulations in January 2017 through the Building Regulations (Amendment) Regulations 2017…

Additional recommendations in Ireland include:

Offices: 40-55 kWh/(m2/y) of net primary energy with, typically, 85-100 kWh/(m2/y) of primary energy use covered by 45 kWh/(m2.y) of on-site renewable sources.

New single family house: 15-30 kWh/(m2/y) of net primary energy with, typically, 50-65 kWh/(m2/y) of primary energy use covered by 35 kWh/(m2.y) of on-site renewable sources.

Click PDF Interim-NZEB-Public-buildings.

When does it begin?

The European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive  Recast  (EPBD) requires that all new buildings should be nZEB by 31st December 2020 and all buildings acquired by public bodies by 31st December 2018.

This means that any building completed after 31st December 2020 must achieve the nZEB standard irrespective of when they were started. Therefore, a certificate of compliance with Building Regulations cannot be signed off and the building can not be occupied until the nZEB standard is met.

For public buildings the date is much sooner – 31st December 2018 – so if you work for the Public Authorities or build any public building whether they are schools or residential developments, you have to provide nZEB standards.

How difficult is it to achieve nZEB?

There have been an number of residential developments achieving these standards and because the Building Regulations Part L have been progressing towards nZEB, a 20% improvement on the 2011 Part L revisions will bring you in line with nZEB.  Take a look at these recently completed residential developments in Dublin and Wexford:

Dublin case study 1: https://passivehouseplus.ie/magazine/new-build/ireland-s-largest-passive-house-scheme-shows-way-to-nzeb

Wexford case study 2: https://passivehouseplus.ie/news/projects/low-cost-wexford-passive-scheme-launches-with-free-heat-hot-water

Do we need to Train and Upskill?

The short answer is probably YES.

Each company whether large or small need to have competent workers to provide nZEB standards. It is not just the energy efficiency of a building or low energy (nZEB) buildings that should be considered, it is equally important to provide quality, comfortable, healthy buildings for the end user and a streamlined cost effective development. Understand air tightness, continuous insulation, thermal bridging, controlled ventilation and system thinking on QualiBuild Foundation Energy Skills Course (FES). http://www.qualibuild.ie/training/fes-training/

So get your workers trained so you can reduce time on site and have a well organised workforce, who will be happy to continue to work with you into the future.

Changes to the Building Regulations Part L commercial are due this year and we will discuss these in the next post…..

The upcoming review of Part L in respect of buildings other than dwellings will clearly set out NZEB performance requirement for new non-residential buildings…

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