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The Step by Step Guide for public authorities to reach the nZEB standards of public buildings

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Image by Achim Scholty from Pixabay

Improving energy efficiency in public buildings is at the core of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD).


The eCentral project aims to support key stakeholders in the energy renovation of public buildings, to promote the benefits of nZEBs – nearly zero energy buildings, and to deploy innovative financing schemes.


The Step by step guide on how to turn public buildings into nZEB standard aims to support public authorities to identify and manage the renovation process with a particular focus on eCentral project´s countries (Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Italy).


The guide will serve as an easy-to-follow guide on how to start nZEB renovation projects. It identifies the main important phases of the renovation process, from the early stage of the project development, through the design and construction phase, up to the service life of the buildings.


The guide will be used to organize the renovation process and schedule, for each step, the necessary action, stakeholders, and verification procedures that should be done.


In particular, the present guide aims to facilitate the renovation of public buildings, boosting the investments in a solid and standardized process managed by the public know-how.


In relation to the professional (technical) and economic know-how of the public authorities and final needs, different approaches can be chosen to (i) develop the project design, (ii) organize the construction phase, and (iii) manage the service life of the building.


The level of involvement of each stakeholder from public authorities, building experts (architects, engineers, constructors) or energy/development agencies, ESCOs, SMEs - equipment manufacturers, financing institutions, can be different case by case.


Public tenders are the crucial tools for the success of the project renovation and final target achievement: how they are defined and managed can have an impact on the later stages of the process.


The guide collects the most important EU regulation that establish the rules for the Public Tenders and for achieving the nZEB targets. Moreover, it highlights an “energy renovation glossary” which helps the reader and all the actors involved to clarify some terms and abbreviations.


When analyzing in more details the renovation process of public buildings, four main steps are identified: Planning, Design, Construction and Operation.


The planning phase includes three more steps starting from the collection of building data and information which refers to energy pre-audit, the feasibility study and surveys to users to assess potential technical problems and improvements.


This is then followed by the definition of the specifications of the Design Build Operate Finance Maintain completed of building needs and minimum requirements that should be achieved from the renovation.


The renovation planning process will be concluded once the following are identified:


(i) the financing scheme which could be through a public (public financing or bank loan) or private (PPP - Public Private Partnership, or EPC – Energy Performance Contracting) process, and (ii) the design team, who developed the project design (preliminary, definitive, and executive) between PA office experts or by external experts, in relation to the PA possibility in terms of technical knowledge and availability. 


Eventually, the public procurement choice (in case of public process) will be strictly connected to the outputs coming from these “first analysis”  of the Planning phase, PA possibilities and opportunities also integrating private partners, as external building professionals, experts or/and contractor for the construction and operation services. 


The public tender will include all the specification, the rules and the roles of each stakeholders and can cover from one to all phases of the renovation process (design, construction and also the operation phase).


It is important that all requirements (energy saving, energy performance, RES, indoor quality, costs, …) will be well defined in term of indicators, values, calculation method (tools) and verification process to facilitate a strong and robust investment.


Check the step by step guide here.

More information on the project can be found here.