Isabel Barros Architects - Blog

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Tag: Sustainability (page 1 of 7)

Minimum BER Rating for New Houses Built in 2019

 

We are quickly approaching the introduction of Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) standard and once again we are asked to improve the energy performance of buildings.

 

What is a Nearly-Zero Energy Building (nZEB)?

‘Nearly zero-energy building’ means a building that has a very high energy performance. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.

When will the new regulations be introduced?

Article 9(1) of Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings requires that all new buildings:

– shall be nearly-zero energy buildings by 31 December 2020;

– occupied and owned by public authorities shall be nearly zero energy buildings after 31 December 2018

A full review of Part L of the Building Regulations is expected to be published very soon, this will include the nZEB standard.

What are the transitional arrangements?

This will be confirmed when the reviewed Part L of the Building Regulations is published.

The draft transitional arrangements required the standard to apply to all new dwellings commencing construction from 1st April 2019 (subject to transition).

Transitional arrangements (draft) will allow Part L-2011 Dwellings to be used when planning permission has been applied for prior to the application date of 1st April 2019 and substantial work * is completed by 31st March 2020.

*The structure of the external walls has been erected.

 

How will compliance with nZEB be demonstrated?

For domestic buildings, compliance will be demonstrated using the DEAP methodology. DEAP is currently being updated to account for NZEB.

For non-domestic buildings, compliance will be demonstrated using the NEAP methodology.

 

Is nZEB standard only for new houses?

No, the new standard applies to Domestic and Non Domestic Buildings.

It also applies to existing buildings (Domestic and Non Domestic) where major renovations take place.

Major Renovation’ means the renovation of a building where more than 25% of the surface area of the building envelope undergoes renovation.

For Existing Non Domestic Buildings this will require that the building is brought up to cost optimal level, which is defined in the building regulations as:

  • Upgrade Heating System more than 15 years’ old
  • Upgrade Cooling and Ventilation Systems more than 15 years’ old
  • Upgrade Lighting more than 15 years old.

For Existing Domestic Buildings, it is proposed that major renovation is typically activated where external wall is renovated. The cost optimal level is a primary energy performance of 125 kWh/m2/yr when calculated using DEAP or upgrade of roof insulation and heating system.

 

What are the BER requirements once nZEB standards are implemented?

This is currently out for public consultation, refer to Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government website for proposed changes to the regulations and DEAP methodology.

For all new builds, it is proposed that nZEB will be equivalent to a 25% improvement in energy performance on the 2011 Building Regulations.

This equates to an energy performance and carbon performance parameter that is 70% better than Ireland’s 2005 standard.

A new Nearly-Zero Energy Building (Dwelling) will typically correspond to an A2 Building Energy Rating (BER).

 

 

Will a new house be more expensive to build from 1st April 2019?

The impact on design and cost is expected to be relatively small.

The projected increase is 1.9% over current construction costs depending on the dwelling archetype and design specification applied.

 

 

School of the Future Information Tool

The School of the Future Information Tool was created within the EU FP7 project School of the Future (ENER/FP7/260102,) and completed in January 2016.

The aim of the project is to design, realise and communicate good examples of future high performance buildings.

The internet-based tool provides a wide range of useful information for the energy-efficient renovation of school buildings as follows:

  • case studies presenting successful energy retrofitting solutions for educational buildings;
  • explanatory notes relating to renovation measures;
  • national benchmarks for the comparison of characteristic consumption values;
  • indoor comfort parameters for classrooms.

 

 

 

The tool also comprises interactive resources, which enable the user to compare self-measured characteristic values to mean values and requirements.

You can access the tool here.

 

School of the Future has also developed another tool that allows the calculation of the energy performance of a school building before and after applying energy saving measures (ASCOT Light).

The purpose of the ASCOT tool is to assist the user in evaluating and thereby optimise the economical costs of a building renovation project in relation to sustainable development issues. The current version, “ASCOT Light”, is targeted towards school buildings.

A simple spreadsheet is the base for this energy performance calculation tool. The tool is available in 4 languages (English not included) and can be downloaded here.

 

Why Use Ground Source Heat Pumps in Ireland?

 

Ground Source Heat Pumps are an efficient method of harnessing Geothermal Energy. These systems provide significant cost savings compared to fossil fuel alternatives as well as providing environmental benefits.

The image below from Geological Survey of Ireland explains how a ground source heat pump works. How ground source heat pumps work

© Geological Survey of Ireland 2015

 

In Ireland the ground maintains a constant temperature between 11°C and 13°C, several metres below the surface.

 

Ireland has warm moist soils and a climate which is ideally suited for harnessing shallow geothermal energy year round. The soil type in Ireland allows this heat to be retained, while the frequent rainfall keeps the soil moist. This moisture within the ground is an excellent heat conductor, allowing heat to move towards your collector system. This favours the deployment of horizontal collector systems in many parts of Ireland.

(Source © Geological Survey of Ireland 2015, ‘Ground Source Heat’ & ‘Shallow Geothermal Energy’ Homeowner Manual)

There are other types of heat pumps but the earth’s constant temperature is what makes geothermal heat pumps one of the most efficient, comfortable, and quiet heating and cooling technologies available today. The ground ensures a relatively stable supply of heat for the heat pump and higher performances than air-source ones.

What are typical system installation costs?

The installation guide price outlined below is for a 4 bedroom detached property with a BER of C1 and allows for 200 square metres (m2) of underfloor heating. The costs include the cost of the heat pump and the groundworks for the installation of a loop.

Heat pumps Costs 2012

© Geological Survey of Ireland 2015

The initial capital costs of installing a ground source heat pump system is usually higher than other conventional central heating systems. But typically, four units of heat are generated for every unit of electricity used by the heat pump to deliver it, and the payback time is typically about 8-10 years.

Geological Survey of Ireland published in March 2015 a publication that aims to help readers with the decision to purchase and install a domestic ground source heat pump (GSHP) system for home heating. You can download this publication here:  ‘Ground Source Heat’ & ‘Shallow Geothermal Energy’ Homeowner Manual.

GeothermalHomeownerManual_Page_01

The Geological Survey of Ireland has produced a series of ‘ground source heat suitability’ maps. These maps provide a useful preliminary screening tool to assess what type(s) of ground source heat collector system is most appropriate. Separate maps have been produced for horizontal and vertical and closed and open loop systems.

The ground source collector suitability maps can be queried interactively via the GSI’s webmapping at http://www.gsi.ie/Mapping.htm

For more information on the maps and ground source and geothermal resources, please see http://www.gsi.ie/Programmes/Groundwater/Geothermal.htm


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