A number of media voices have been suggesting that reaching a better energy classification for buildings in some countries implies higher investment than in others. They portray this as unfair among countries, and this notion seems to be gaining momentum.
How do European-wide ambitions and targets “land” differently across different countries in their renovation efforts? Is it difficult to harmonise new approaches in building energy efficiency when the existing approaches are themselves not harmonised? These were some of the questions we tackled at the 1 hour Webinar with building experts, energy agencies, and more. The discussion was complemented with the most recent findings and insights gained from cross-testing done by crossCert partners using different EU member states methodologies.
|15:00 - 15:05||Welcome and Introduction||Axel Veitengruber - Climate Alliance|
|15:05 - 15:10||Spotlight on media reports on EPBD in Germany||Wolfgang Hofstetter - Climate Alliance|
|15:10 - 15:15||Experts view on the increasingly aired concern: “EPCs are more demanding of buildings in certain countries”||Norberto Fueyo - University of Zaragoza|
|15:15 - 15:20||What the crossCert tests revealed about the differences in EU countries||Antonio Gómez - University of Zaragoza|
|15:20 - 15:30||What are the drivers of these differences and what can be done for harmonisation||Nicole Hartl - Austrian Energy Agency|
|15:30 - 15:55||Round table discussion with the audience on common experiences and the prospects for harmonisation||ALL|
|15:55 - 16:00||Conclusion and Wrap-up||Axel Veitengruber - Climate Alliance|
A recent article in a German news outlet presented a table comparing the different energy classes of buildings for a number of EU countries, assigning different kwh/m/a values to them. Those values were cited as own research and from the EU EPS database. The article suggested that for the same class, a country like Germany or Austria would need to reach a far lower kwh/m/a consumption in their buildings then eg. the Netherlands or Bulgaria. Such media narrative feeds a public opinion that in some EU countries building owners would need to pay a much higher price for the renovation of their buildings, if strict mandatory energy class targets would be set on EU level.
In order to examine the numbers and narrative given in the article, the CrossCert team analysed the data given and compared it to the results of the crossCert cross-testing which takes place among different EU countries. In the course of this process, the same buildings are tested along the national methodologies of one country and the results are compared to the results of other countries' EPC methodology, resulting in some compatibility measurements.
The results of the tests demonstrated a relatively high correlation between the methodologies and the energy classes and showed that even if there are differences in calculating the energy classes, the methods might be not that far from each other as the article suggests.
Furthermore, crossCert expert Nicole Hartl (Austrian Energy Agency) explained in detail why the numbers in the article are so different from each other. She erlaborated that the attempt to compare these classes purely by numbers, is like “comparing apples and oranges”. The examples to demonstrate the differences included among other:
- Some countries measurements will include lighting, in others not.
- Countries are located in different climate zones that has an influence on energy efficiency
- Some include or exclude heating as well as warm water production etc…
These factors can greatly influence the energy consumption of a building and are therefore important variables in the calculation of the EPC class.Therefore, a much bigger effort must be made to compare the different calculation models across Europe, if reliable data should be produced.
During the open floor with the audience, crossCert experts discussed with the audience the upcoming EPC standards. Prof. Norberto Fueyo highlighted that the upcoming changes on methods will still not be enough to help harmonize European EPC’s, because the differences, as pointed out by Nicole Hartl, are still not properly addressed in the new EPC system and therefore will still cause discrepancies when comparing EPCs across EU countries.