EEC 2018

Energy-efficient construction is a must

Buildings, especially those built in the last century, that are very numerous in Poland, have a negative impact on the natural environment, emitting, among others, carbon dioxide responsible for climate change. High energy consumption of buildings has a negative impact on air quality. Therefore, the construction of energy-efficient homes will gradually change this unfavourable situation.

  • Residential buildings are responsible for approximately 40 percent of energy consumption in Europe and in the United States.
  • 75 percent of this energy is spent on heating and air conditioning.
  • In Poland, an average one-family house records annual consumption of 100-150 kWh/mkw. That's a lot, considering that in countries of Western Europe it is about half as much.
  • Energy-efficient construction will be talked about at one of the discussion panels of Nowy Przemysł Expo (New Industry Expo).



Energy fees are therefore the main cost incurred by users. They are getting higher due to rising energy prices. An energy-efficient building should consume 25-50 percent less than traditional buildings that comply with all the legal requirements.  

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However, heating systems used in older residential buildings are usually obsolete; only 1 percent of them meet the criteria of energy-efficient construction. On 18 May 2018, the European Parliament adopted changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). 

Poland has 17 months to implement the requirements of the directive. Standards for energy consumption in buildings are gradually tightening, which is why we have to reach for solutions that make buildings more energy-efficient.

- I think that the buildings which are more energy-efficient and that use less energy to ensure comfort, will have higher prices on the market - said Adam Jędrzejczak, President of Danfoss Poland during an interview with WNP.PL.

Currently, there is no direct relationship between the money invested in ecological and energy-efficient solutions and technologies and the price of a given building. With the introduction of new standards after 2020, tenants will start paying more attention not only to investment costs, but also to operating costs.  

The revised directive paves the way for full decarbonisation of European buildings. This will result in an increase in the number of modernized buildings. 

Each of the Member States shall develop a long-term renovation strategy that will include, among others, a revision of policies and activities dedicated to buildings with the worst energy performance and households affected by energy poverty, including intermediate goals for 2030 and 2040. 

- Evident benefits of adopting the directive are primarily reduction of energy bills, support in solving the problem of energy poverty, which affects about 12 percent of society in Poland, as well as an impulse to mobilise private and public funds to improve the energy efficiency of buildings - says President Adam Jędrzejczak.  

All new buildings built in Poland will have to meet two conditions: the condition of an appropriate level of insulation of the building envelope and technical equipment set out in Annex 2 to WT2018, as well as the condition of an appropriate Ep value, i.e. the annual demand for non-renewable primary energy.

These values can be found in the regulation on technical conditions that should be met by buildings and their location - for example, for new one-family houses, the Ep cannot be higher than 70 kWh/m2/year, and 65 kWh/m2/year for multi-family buildings. Currently, it is 95 and 85 kWh/m2/year, respectively. 

The directive also highlights the need for systematic review of installations that, in order to achieve the expected improvement in energy efficiency, should be carried out under actual operating conditions. 

- Energy management systems in a building during the design process cannot be omitted. Changes in the EPBD Directive will certainly affect the regulations of Polish law. However, without changing the policy and financial incentives, it will be difficult to change the awareness of market participants - points out Marta Sikorska, project manager in the Energy Efficiency Department of the Polish National Energy Conservation Agency, in an interview with WNP.PL. 

Marta Sikorska indicates that the main challenge for the energy-efficient construction sector is raising awareness among market participants: architects, designers, contractors and investors. The qualifications of the executive staff regarding the weight of details in energy-efficient construction should be increased. 

- First of all, not only the use of good quality products has an impact on achieving high energy standard. Accuracy and high quality of buildings are also of great importance - emphasizes Marta Sikorska.

In Poland, tenants of office buildings and users of public buildings are the most active in the field of environmentally friendly construction. They are aware of the benefits of using new, energy-efficient technologies. Developers of commercial objects prefer to use individualized heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. They also use lighting control systems to significantly reduce tenants' expenditure on electricity.

Energy-efficient buildings are characterized by the following features - location of the building should take into account the terrain, shading, sun exposure and wind direction.  

The structure of the building should be as compact as possible (the smaller the building area, the lower the heat loss), and there should be large windows in south-facing rooms. On the other hand, north-facing windows should be smaller.

In addition, the building envelope (roof, walls) should be well-insulated, and the building itself should be constructed in such a way as to eliminate a huge proportion of thermal bridges. Windows and external doors must be tight, with high thermal insulation. And the heating system, including system for the preparation of usable hot water, should be characterized by high efficiency. Renewable energy sources are also increasingly being used.

- It is impossible to build a building with high energy standard at a low cost - says Marta Sikorska. - The decision to build an energy-efficient building is also suspended by high initial investment expenditure related to expensive technologies and insufficient attention being paid to operating costs. What's more, the development of construction with an increased energy standard is also limited by weak law. Another barrier is the lack of an incentive scheme from the state to promote the development of energy-efficient construction - emphasizes Marta Sikorska.

It should be expected that more and more zero-energy houses will be built in the future, that is buildings that are practically self-sufficient in energy, covering the demand for energy from their own (renewable) sources. Houses of this type are super-tight, well insulated, they maximize the use of profits from solar energy, as well as heat recovery of exhaust air. As a result, the heating demand is at a low level. The topic of energy efficiency is rapidly gaining strength. This is not surprising, because buildings, especially those built in the last century, that are very numerous in Poland, have a negative impact on the natural environment, emitting, among others, carbon dioxide responsible for climate change. High energy consumption of buildings has a negative impact on air quality. Therefore, the construction of energy-efficient homes will gradually change this unfavourable situation.

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