POWER HOUSE nZEC & Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, Madrid

The "Housing Europe meets Solar Decathlon 2012 Report"

The First POWER HOUSE nZEC Symposium held in Madrid represented an excellent opportunity for POWER HOUSE Partners on the one hand, to introduce the nearly-Zero Energy Challenge to the broader public and explain what Public, Cooperative and Social Housing providers mean by a ‘fair energy transition’, and, on the other hand, to take stock of the work done to date by the POWER HOUSE TaskForces.

The report resulting from this exercise, officially presented in March 2013 during the World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels (Austria), addresses the issues at stake and barriers in developing nearly-Zero Energy Buildings previously identified through a need analysis carried out at European level during the first phase of this initiative. To conclude, the report proposes some recommendations for actions and illustrates some best policy and practice examples from all across the EU.

Please click here to download the "Fair Energy Transition towards nearly-Zero Energy Buildings Progress Report".

Key messages out of the Symposium

While in many areas, refurbishment of existing stock and use of empty housing are top priority, the need for new homes is also clear in many regions; approximately 40 million new homes are needed across the EU in the near future. Currently the cost of delivery is too high; an increase in competition is sorely and urgently needed to exert a downward pressure on prices.

The economic crisis has brought with it a widespread recognition of the need for a responsive and responsible construction sector. The sector can be more responsive by creating urgently needed qualified jobs. Furthermore, an integrated design among all the actors involved in the building chain – from designers to maintenance personnel is requires. With the right legislative and financial frameworks in place at national and local level, affordable housing providers are in a position to unleash this potential.

Socially, Economically and Environmentally responsible construction practices requires forward-looking collaboration between financial institutions, public authorities and citizens. Responsible construction policies must be future-proofed to answer changing needs determined by ageing populations, immigration, increased flexibility imposed by the geographic distribution of employment, smaller sized households and of course climate change.

Construction and renovation norms are being tightened resulting in higher costs. This implies a need for more thorough impact assessment particularly when speaking of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the residential sector. More analysis is needed on the actual in-use energy consumption and maintenance costs of low energy and passive housing. It is also key to  have a clearer picture of the impact of users’ behavior on the energy performance of our built environment, bearing in mind that technical features must align to the customer needs – not the other way round!

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Source: http://www.powerhouseeurope.eu/solar_decathlon_europe/the_1st_power_house_nzec_symposium_2012_madrid/the_report/