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The POWER HOUSE nearly-Zero Energy Challenge!

Working for a fair energy transition

Brussels, 23 April 2015 | Published in Energy
Powerhouse Europe Zero Energy Challenge

Explore the work carried out by the flagship European Energy Project led by Housing Europe. CHECK OUT THE NEW VIDEO!

Bringing about change within any sector is a challenge; transforming energy use in European homes to adapt to the new energy landscape is a particularly complex one. As Member States work on new definitions and framework to promote nearly-Zero Energy Buildings, Housing Europe, with the ‘POWER HOUSE nearly-Zero Energy Challenge!'* initiative provides a structure for a pan-EU knowledge exchange between social housing practitioners to learn from each other about the practical implications and costs of ambitious energy performance codes and to inform policy makers of the outcomes of this exchange.

Partners of this initiative decided to work together according to the climate zones they are operating in, also by taking into account the different types of tenure and an issue of common interest… how to finance energy retrofitting and new-build!

The work is carried out in 4 thematic inter-European TaskForces driven by leading Housing Federations:

  • NZE housing in Warm/Mediterranean climates;
  • NZE housing in Cold/Continental climates;
  • NZE housing in regions characterised by Divided/Cooperative ownership;
  • Financing of NZE housing renovation and new-build.

Last but not least, to get actual and reliable data to work on and feed the debate on cost-optimality and rational use of financial resources, some thirty test cases of low and nearly-Zero Energy Buildings in different climate zones and types of tenure are being monitored in order to determine the real energy performance, rather than the values estimated by designers in the planning phase.

Monitoring covers heating and cooling, the production of hot water and technical services such as ventilation and lighting as well as the production of in-situ renewable energy systems. All data will be publicly accessible and the first results will be available online on the HIVE Project Database towards the end of 2014.

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Key resources produced to date:

The report offers quantified insights into expected reductions in energy consumption in Social, Public and Cooperative Housing and recommends policy actions to accelerate progress to the desired level. Among the report's most important findings are the identification of an estimated funding gap of €180.6 billion euros between industry experts' projections of market growth, and the EU's energy efficiency targets for 2020.

This report considers where the Public, Cooperative and Social Housing sector stands in terms of financing energy efficiency in buildings and what the next steps are in moving towards the final required target. This process also includes the examination of ten different financial models currently being used by various member states, taken from a cross section of housing types and tenures, and with consideration of the benefits and limitations of each one.

The report introduces the nearly-Zero Energy Challenge and describes the perception of the ‘fair energy transition’ by the Public, Cooperative and Social Housing sector. It also addresses the issues at stake and barriers in developing nearly-Zero Energy Buildings previously identified through a need analysis carried out at European level. To conclude, the report proposes some recommendations for actions and illustrates some best policy and practice examples from all across the EU.