Several countries and regions in the world, including Europe, have set ambitious goals to reduce to (nearly) zero energy in new buildings or deep-renovated buildings over the next few years. The EU Member States will eventually focus on net zero energy districts, with an emphasis on refurbishing existing buildings and increasing the share of renewable energy.
Supported by a mandate (M/480) from the European Commission to CEN, during the years 2011-2016 a coherent set of internationally harmonized procedures has been developed to assess the overall energy performance of buildings, using the 'hollistic' or "systemic" approach: the set of EPB standards.
It is expected that the coming years the relevance of the set of EPB standards, as an important instrument to support the national and international policy goals, will further increase.
The hollistic approach implies that the set of EPB standards has been developed and will be maintained, monitored and improved by different groups of experts, each covering a specific expertise.
The EU mandate M/480 project (2011-2016) ensured the required effective central and horizontal coordination to obtain consistency in the overall approach and in the technical details during the development of the set of EPB standards.
However, a continued central and horizontal coordination of the maintenance and improvement of the set of EPB standards is required to maintain overall consistency and transparency of the technical content. The holistic approach embedded in the set of EPB standards has to be safeguarded, to keep the set fit as an important instrument to support current and future national and international energy policy goals.
Especially because one of the main purposes of the EPB standards is to enable their use in laws and regulations and, in some cases, make them compulsory. This requires a systematic, clear, comprehensive and unambiguous set of energy performance assessment procedures.
Consistency, transparency and usability, as well as unambiguity, but also flexibility, are essential qualities of the EPB standards to create a level playing field when expressing the energy performance of buildings and when offering various energy (or CO2) saving solutions.
The set of EPB standards offers the benefit of transparency and internationally harmonized approach.
On the other hand there is a need to tailor the energy performance assessment method to a specific climate, energy infrastructure, culture or building tradition, as well as a specific policy or legal framework. To enable such flexibility each EPB standard is provided with a clear template that enables different options for procedures, input data and boundary conditions.
The provided options also enable a step-by-step implementation at national/regional level.
It is important to organize central support to the individual countries and regions on the implementation of these EPB procedures and on the tailoring to the national or regional situation. And to collect and analyze feed back based on the national or regional experiences.
The main benefit of the continued central coordination of the management of the EPB standards is to ensure that the knowledge and experience gained in the previous years is kept. Many institutions and organizations have over the past years, directly and indirectly invested millions of Euro's to set this up. We are now at a time where the set of EPB standards is being implemented and used (Europe) and completed (ISO).
The EPB Center makes it possible to do this, making it easier and more efficient.