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Barriers & Challenges to nZEB

Credibility barriers

A lack of mainstream examples of good practice and robust data from nearly-Zero homes has fostered an atmosphere of confusion and misinformation:

Credibility barriers are inevitably part of the development of new building systems and technologies. These barriers have arisen primarily due to the lack of examples of good practice and robust data from completed projects, as well as natural inertia and resistance to change. Both the general public and most professionals are simply not aware of what nZEB is, or have been misinformed through inaccurate hearsay. In the absence of reliable data on the performance of nZEB dwellings it is difficult to spread a reliable and clear message. The levels of interest and information vary between  Member States, however in many of them, there is real uncertainty about the energy and cost savings that can be achieved, and with few working examples to visit or reliable data, there is very little opportunity to help improve understanding.

Negative and incorrect debate or information in the media can prejudice not only residents against living in such buildings, but also builders and other organisations involved in the construction sector from wishing to participate in the sector. Typical misinformation circulating relates to a variety of aspects of the use of nZEB, including the much higher construction costs involved, health issues arising for those living in low energy housing and the durability of the various building parts.

The lack of a common definition of nZEB and an understanding of the terminology relating to high energy performance buildings continues to exacerbate the problem of poor visibility and credibility of the product. A further factor is the general inertia in the building sector, which in many Member States is dominated by traditional skills and materials, with little or any incentive to change well known and culturally acceptable designs and construction practices.

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