The Buildings Performance Institute Europe remark that 40% of energy consumption in Europe is from buildings, which also accounts for 36% of CO2 emissions. In Ireland buildings accounted for 35% energy consumption and around 59% electricity consumption, this is second to transport which is the main consumer of energy.
The Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD) was first introduced to achieve efficient energy use in the building sector across the EU to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels which produce GHG. The EPBD received a revision in 2010 and it came into force in 2013 for Ireland. The directive was renamed 2010/31/EU(Recast) the main new element in the directive specified, that by 31st December 2020 all member states ‘new buildings’ require to be (NZEB) and that all new public buildings must be NZEB by 31st December 2018.
This has been further highlighted in Irelands National Energy Efficiency Action Plan3 (NEEAP3) which sets out Ireland’s path to achieve the targets. NEEAP3 states Ireland’s continuing objective to reduce primary energy demand by 20% before the 2020 target, while also reducing the public sector demand by 33%. The public sector committed to these targets to provide an exemplar role for energy saving in building efficiency.
The ultimate goal of the EU is to reduce domestic GHG emissions before 2050 by 80%. Reducing the building sector’s energy consumption has been identified as a major area that will reduce GHG, which will provide a cost effective solution for energy efficiency while also increasing employment and providing a greater standard of living for the occupants. The building industry has been identified as one of the main sectors for cost effective reductions but in order to meet the ambitious target a reduction in this sector would need to be in the region of 88-91% of GHG emissions.
It is only possible to meet these requirements if both existing and new buildings energy consumption are reduced and the percentage of renewable energy is increased across the energy supply but all existing buildings cannot be guaranteed to meet the required reduction, which will mean that new buildings will be required to compensate even further with energy reductions.