Energy use in buildings accounts for 40% of all sectors’ total energy consumption which translates to 36% of EU’s CO2 emissions. To achieve the EU’s climate and energy objectives, i.e. a reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and a 20% energy saving by 2020, energy performance of buildings will be an important key factor.
The Directive on energy performance of buildings (EPBD) is the main legislative instrument on an EU level, to improve energy performance in buildings. Under this Directive, member states must apply minimum requirements with regards to energy performance when constructing new buildings or undertaking major renovation of existing buildings. The measures are sharpened in the recast of the EPBD which states that as of 2021, all new constructions should be nearly zero energy buildings. In addition, there are also a number of other directives and legislative instruments that apply to the building sector, which also propel more energy efficient solutions, e.g. the Eco-design Directive.
There is thus, a vast gap between the average energy use in current new buildings and what is required when the EPBD II-directive is implemented in the near future. The implementation of the directive will therefore, be a tremendous challenge in all member states, both for society and the construction industry.
The need for large scale examples of very low energy buildings is urgent. There is also a need for the examples to have a geographical spread and be site specific since energy consumption in buildings varies greatly throughout Europe due to differences in climate, socio-economic factors, building techniques etc. The environmental impacts also vary due to different carbon intensities of energy systems.
The objective of Buildsmart is to demonstrate and mainstream cost effective techniques and methods for constructing very low energy buildings in various European climates: north, central and south. A large scale deployment of the used methods should be possible to practice 2020 in order to facilitate the implementation of the recast of the EPBD II.
A number of very low energy buildings, residential and nonresidential, will be built and demonstrated in Sweden and Spain.
The buildings will be characterized by:
- A total very low energy consumption
- Dense envelopes in order to create a high air tightness and low energy losses
- Energy efficient installations creating a minimized energy use
- Heat recovery systems
- A high degree of renewable energy production either at the building or in the vicinity
- Close connections to surrounding infrastructures as energy systems optimizing energy use and reducing peak loads
- Waste management systems created for maximum recycling and energy recovery
- New combinations of existing and tested technology to show cost effectiveness and a high replication potential