Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) offers a helping hand to organisations willing to improve energy sustainability. Launched in 2003 by the European Commission, the programme is part of a broad push to create an energy-intelligent future for us all. It supports EU energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, with a view to reaching the EU 2020 targets (20 % cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20 % improvement in energy efficiency and 20 % share of renewables in EU energy consumption).
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Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings – The next challenge
Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEBs) are the next challenge for the building sector. These buildings integrate their high energy efficiency with renewable energies to compensate for the little remaining energy they consume. Although the sector is already moving in this direction, a big step beyond current normal practice is required to adequately support NZEBs. For this reason, the IEE programme has been supporting projects that work in this area.
The project NorthPass was one of the first to look in this area. Between 2009 and 2012, NorthPass studied the feasibility of building very low energy buildings in northern Europe, developed national roadmaps and policy recommendations for the countries involved and examined market requirements. Although the project is now finished, its partners continue to work supporting the development of NZEBs in their own countries.
In 2012, the IEE programme launched seven new projects directly related to NZEBs, each covering different issues. For example NZB2021 aims to showcase buildings and offer first-hand experience to the public. The projects SUSTAINCO and MountEE offer direct support to municipalities and regions willing to develop into front-runners. In another area, MaTrID supports the adoption of Integrated Energy Design amongst professionals, paving the way for new working methods for a new type of building.
Seven more projects also supporting NZEBs will begin in April-May 2013, under the IEE Call for proposals 2012.
Social housing represents 12 % of the residential building stock across Europe. With the need to provide affordable housing with affordable energy bills, social housing associations have been working hard in the energy efficiency area and have been involved in IEE projects since the early days of the programme. The AFTER project, for instance, is looking into operational and facilities management of the social housing stock, identifying the most cost-effective solutions and providing advice and tools to housing associations. The project SHELTER has been investigating how to make best use of cooperation methods to renovate the social building stock, which for CECODHAS Housing Europe – a BUILD UP Partner – alone represents 19 million dwellings.
Social housing associations are also deeply involved in the development of Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings. The project Power House Nearly Zero Challenge supports and facilitates the transition for the social housing sector by engaging associations and their providers in a dialogue, studying climate, ownership and finance challenges.
Ensuring quality in the operation and management of buildings
Buildings are responsible for 40 % of energy consumption in the EU. Many experts agree that it is possible to significantly reduce this consumption through better management of the stock, but it is necessary to identify the solutions and support the users in their implementation. This is an area investigated by two IEE projects.
- iSERV looks into the development of the tools that would enable remote monitoring and benchmarking of the energy consumption in commercial buildings, giving accurate information on where to take action. The results from the first case study are very encouraging: electricity savings of 25 % per year from control of the HVAC plant, i.e. approximately 66 000 EUR per year. The project is currently looking for buildings to test their HERO tool.
- The project MOVIDA is developing an inspection methodology for small to medium systems. The project has already carried out almost 1 500 inspections across the EU and is currently conducting its second heating inspection campaign. A cooling campaign will be implemented in summer 2013.
- The project SAVE AGE is supporting energy efficiency in Residential and Elderly Care Homes. By providing specific guidelines and technical advice the project has helped reduce energy consumption in 100 buildings. 550 more buildings are joining the initiative and the partners aim to replicate the results in over 24 000 buildings of the network during the next few years.
Support to policy
One of the main objectives of the IEE programme is to support the implementation of the recast of the EPBD. In particular, the Concerted Action EPBD gathers policy makers responsible for the transposition of the EPBD and representatives of the implementation bodies in each EU Member State. Through its work, the Concerted Action supports the effective implementation of the relevant EU legislation. Indicative results of the CA EPBD work can be seen, among others, in the Country Factsheets section of BUILD UP.