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How smart sensors can help you comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive?

Due to become law in May 2020, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will significantly impact how buildings manage and demonstrate improvement in energy performance. James Bailey, Product Manager – Wireless Products at Pressac Communications looks at what the directive means and how smart sensors and building automation systems will be crucial to meeting legislation.

Energy performance

What is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive?

“The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) sets ambitious targets for improving the energy efficiency of all buildings. It is the European Union’s (EU’s) main piece of legislation, promoting the improvement in the energy performance of buildings. It seeks to encourage cleaner, more sustainable building stock, with the eventual aim of making all European buildings CO2-neutral by 2050.


What’s included in the directive?

“The EU considers buildings to be responsible for approximately 36% of CO2 emissions, therefore, the most recent directive  2018/844/EU is relevant to anyone in the development, investment, funding and utilities sectors.

Published on 19 June 2018, the directive came into force on 9 July 2018, outlining that:

  • EU countries will have to establish long-term renovation strategies for de-carbonising national building stocks by 2050.
  • A common ‘smart readiness indicator’, or scheme for assessing the energy efficiency of building stock will be introduced.
  • Smart technologies will be promoted through installation of building automation and control systems.
  • Heating and air conditioning systems must be regularly inspected and their efficiency assessed in relation the building’s heating requirements.
  • Electric vehicles will be supported with minimum infrastructure requirements.
  • Health and wellbeing of building users, in terms of air quality and ventilation will be important.


What are the key obligations and timescales?

“Member states are required to transpose the EPBD into national law by 19 February 2020 and must comply by 10 March 2020. Some of the deadlines fall long after the UK is likely to have left the EU. However, it’s expected that the directive will become national legislation within the Brexit transition window.

“All new buildings must be ‘nearly zero-energy’ by 31 December 2020, while public buildings must have met the same criteria by 31 December 2018. The European Commission, defines zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) as having very high energy performance, with the low amount of energy they do consume coming mainly from renewable sources on site or nearby.

“The biggest milestone is 2050, when all European countries must ensure that the entire building stock is upgraded to nearly zero-energy status, with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 80-95% compared to 1990.


How can smart building technology help?

“Previously, the focus of energy performance directives and measures has been improving the building envelope, or outer shell – optimising insulation, for example. Now, it’s all about the regulation and control of technical building equipment, which is why monitoring and building automation feature so heavily.”


Key areas where smart technology can help:

  • Healthy indoor climate
    Exact requirements are currently unclear, but once minimum standards have been set for air quality and comfort levels, temperature and air-quality sensors could be used to monitor conditions and automate control.
  • Inspection of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
    Building automation and electronic monitoring has proven to be an effective and cost-efficient replacement for inspections. The directive emphasises that actual energy efficiency can only be assessed through regular monitoring.All heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems over 70kW must be regularly inspected and assessed in relation to the efficiency and sizing of the system against the requirements of the building, to optimise performance.By 2025, non-residential building HVAC systems with an output of over 290 kW must be equipped with appropriate building automation systems, which allow energy use to be logged, analysed, adjusted and detect losses in efficiency.
  • Installation of self-regulating devices
    The directive strongly recommends the installation of self-regulating devices for individual room temperature control. Since control circuits require sensors, actuators and control equipment, this requirement can only be implemented through building automation.
  • Smart readiness indicator
    The EPBD introduces the ‘smart readiness’ indicator concept. Defined as the building’s capacity to use information and communication technologies and electronic systems to adapt the operation of buildings to the needs of the occupants and the grid, improving the energy efficiency and overall performance of buildings. This will be introduced through smart systems and devices such as building automation and control systems, self-regulating indoor air temperature systems, built-in appliances, EV charging points and energy storage.


Get ahead of the game

There’s never been a better time to improve energy efficiency around your building. If you’re interested in using smart sensors to monitor and automate controls – but aren’t sure where to start – get in touch with our team.


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