Energy efficiency in the building sector
Energy efficient construction
The rising prices of energy generating products as well as the global climate change are the main reasons for reflecting on our habits as energy consumers. Considering that the buildings use up approx. 40% of the overall energy consumption, and that they are responsible for 36% of carbon dioxide emissions, energy efficient residential buildings and houses are becoming increasingly interesting, and their concepts ever more diverse. There are five main types of energy efficient residential buildings and family houses:
- low energy house
- passive house or ultra-low energy house
- zero-energy house or net zero energy house
- autonomous building, house with no bills
- energy-plus house.
Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD II) lays down the obligation that by by 31 December 2020, all new buildings should be nearly zero-energy buildings, meaning they should be highly energy efficient, and their energy demand should largely be met from renewable energy sources. In the case of public buildings, this deadline is 31 December 2018, because the public
sector is the one that should stimulate the private sector to take up energy renovation to achieve the almost zero-energy buildings standards.
Low energy houses are the basis of sustainable building during their entire life cycle, starting from the construction material whose production does not burden the environment, through their energy efficiency and rational use of energy generating products during the life cycle, all the way to rational waste management. In addition, low energy houses (also comprising passive houses) are characterised by a high comfort of living, with a pleasant ambiance all year round, without the standard HVAC system, and with very low costs for energy generating products, they are less energy dependent (or not at all).