Matthias Schuler is keynote speaker at the Nordic ZEB+ on November 7th. He will talk about 'The added value of buildings with integrated sustainability concepts’.
It is now widely known that the construction sector has a key role in contributing to the mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, the construction and use of buildings are responsible for 42% of our final energy consumption, 35% of greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 50% of all extracted materials (European Commission, 2011). Acknowledging this, in 2011, the European Commission put forward the following ambition in the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe:
'By 2020 the renovation and construction of buildings and infrastructure will be made to high resource efficiency levels. The Life-cycle approach will be widely applied; all new buildings will be nearly zero-energy and highly material efficient, and policies for renovating the existing building stock will be in place so that it is cost-efficiently refurbished at a rate of 2% per year.’
An important instrument to achieve this ambition is the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD, Directive 2002/91/EC). The directive aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings and encourage building renovation. By 2020, it requires that all new buildings should be ‘nearly zero energy’ in their operation. The directive also promotes cost-effective renovation work, introduces a smartness indicator for buildings, simplifies the inspection of heating and air conditioning systems, and promotes electro-mobility by setting up a framework for parking spaces for electric vehicles.
Since 2008, researchers and professional within the Nordic building industry have come together bi-annually in the Nordic passive house conference PassivhusNorden. However, over the years, the ambitions for energy efficient buildings have increased, and the scope has widened. There is a progress from passive and low energy buildings to nearly zero-energy buildings, carbon neutral buildings, and even plus-energy buildings. The scope has gone from focusing on single buildings, to taking a neighbourhood or even district level perspective. As consequence the name and focus of the conference PassivhusNorden was changed to Nordic Conference on Zero Emission and Plus Energy Buildings.