Rethinking efficiency in buildings

Efficient buildings save the day

It’s time to wake a sleeping giant. The report published by the energy consultancy Ecofys is the first to confirm and quantify the huge, untapped potential for energy savings at EU level, that can be achieved by retrofitting technical building systems.

It’s time to unlock the opportunities hidden behind concrete, glass and steel to create massive savings, more jobs and better places to live.

Unlocking our buildings’ energy savings potential

The simple truth about our buildings

We spend most of our time in buildings – working, shopping, learning and sleeping. Therefore, it’s not surprising that these buildings consume a lot of energy. Most of this is used for heating, cooling and ventilation through technologies known as technical building systems. If these are incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or managed inefficiently, the whole building and its occupants can suffer. Simple improvements could help reduce energy waste, cut costs and make our buildings healthier, more comfortable and more productive places to be. Watch the video to learn more. 

Read why technical building systems are important
Read the full report published the by the energy consultancy Ecofys

The central nervous system of our buildings

There are technologies available that have been proven to make our buildings and the systems within them more efficient, yet they are still missing in most buildings. Optimizing technical building systems not only makes building environments more efficient, it empowers building users to better understand their environment – proactively managing their energy usage and maintaining a healthy, comfortable and productive living environment, adjusted to their liking. The cost for these technologies is low and they can be easily retrofitted in buildings, while the energy and cost saving benefits can be remarkable.

Cutting waste and engineering wellbeing for millions of Europeans

The solutions used will vary for different building types but the core principles of reducing waste, cutting cost and improving the environment for the users remain the same. Explore our case studies.

There has never been a better time to start rethinking efficiency

Achieving the EU’s transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050 requires the full decarbonization of our buildings. So, there is a clear need to accelerate the modernization of existing building stock. To achieve this, we need to ensure that technical building systems are operating at maximum efficiency.

Putting Europe on a fast-track to highly efficient, connected buildings

The implementation of the new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) presents an unmissable opportunity for accelerating the optimization of technical building systems and the most cost-effective pathway towards achieving our targets.

The new EPBD reinforces attention to controls of energy flows by getting control basics right, targeting full and part load in inspection requirements and enabling buildings to get smart and put users in control The time to act is now, and there is a set of key measures to make the transition happen.

The key measures for a successful implementation:

1. Enforcement of existing requirements

Enforcement of existing provisions such as Article 8 of the current EPBD. Guidance for member states on implementation of the EPBD supported by best practice examples for different building types. The enforcement of the EPBD is simplified by new binding requirements on key functionalities. such as individual room temperature control.

2. Smartness indicator

The new EPBD asks Member States to assess and document the energy performance of technical building systems in order to increase awareness of possible efficiency gains and drive demand. Member states can embrace the use of existing tools, such as the building renovation passport or the new smartness indicator, to stimulate market uptake.

3. Consistent terminology

Greater consistency is needed around the terminology used by the European Commission to avoid indecision and uncertainty among investors and users Clarified requirements have been introduced for key functionalities such as individual room temperature control, part load and full load conditions and for building automation and controls to foster implementation of the EPBD in member states.

4. Harmonization of standards
  • Regulation, standards and testing need to focus on system performance, in addition to looking at individual products, and should be more explicit about the energy performance requirements for technical building systems and key functionalities.
  • Member states need to track their progress via a collection of data on the state of technical building systems in existing buildings.
5. Clarity around the deep renovation journey
  • Member states must roll-out national renovations that encompass staged deep renovation and support targeted, cost-efficient measures and evidence-based estimates of expected energy savings. Wider benefits, such as those related to health, safety and air quality must also be included.
  • To achieve this, the European Commission and the EPBD should provide a clear, comprehensive ranking of all available measures based on a) how fast they can deliver cost and carbon savings and b) how effectively they will facilitate the implementation of subsequent measures.
  • The European Commission also needs to highlight the role of control systems in balancing the minimized energy losses, internal gains and remaining energy needs for nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs).

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