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EPBD-2 – a quick guide

by Mel Starrs on May 16, 2011

in Strategies & Consultations

NHBC and ZCH have issued a very useful 15 page guide to EPBD-2:

Zero Carbon Hub with NHBC Foundation has developed an introductory guide to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD-2). The guide provides a brief overview of the Directive and highlights the actions (Articles) proposed by the first and second EPBDs, giving special attention to the interpretation of EPBD-2 in the UK context.

 Worth reading the whole document, but a couple of interesting points – we need to start talking about kWh of energy as well as kg carbon, and DEC’s may no longer be necessary.

It will be interesting to see how the 2016 ‘zero carbon’ target gets aligned with the EPBD-2 energy definition

Indications to date are that individual Member States will be free to define ‘very high energy performance’. So, for England and Wales, it can be argued that even the bottom slice of the zero-carbon policy triangle corresponds to a ‘nearly zero or very low amount’ of energy, in particular when compared to the total consumption of, say, a typical Victorian terraced house. It can also be argued that Carbon Compliance (at the levels proposed for England and Wales) meets the Directive’s requirement that the remaining energy demand is ‘covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced onsite or nearby’.

Interestingly, and depending on the exact interpretation of ‘covered to a very significant extent’, it can therefore also be argued that the emerging definition meets the EPBD-2 requirements even without consideration of the Allowable Solutions slice of the triangle. In practice this could give the development of Allowable Solutions a flexibility to permit investments in off-site renewable capacity or other methods of mitigating carbon emissions (a number of which have been explored as possible options).

Another important observation is that the post 2011 Budget definition of zero carbon has closer parity with the EPBD-2 equivalent, because both now relate to regulated energy alone (and not to the unregulated part of energy use).

I like the idea of moving back towards kWh (but then I’m an engineer at heart – I can visualise a kWh much easier than a kg of carbon, plus it matches my utility bills). Thoughts anyone?

  • Levi Thompson

    Hi Mel
    I’ve just finished my dissertation looking at the importance of the embodied energy of buildings compared to the impact of the operational phase, over a whole lifetime. What are the thoughts on this first phase inside the sustainability community? If you could email me on levi.callum @  or tweet me on @levicallum:twitter that would be great.