Isabel Barros Architects - Blog

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Category: Energy (page 1 of 6)

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.

 

 

Do You Need Planning Permission to Install Solar Panels?

 

The new SEAI grant for solar Photo-voltaic (PV) panels is a welcome addition available to Irish households built and occupied before 2011.

The grant is available for all new Solar PV installations from Tuesday 31st July 2018 and more information is available here.

Solar Photo-voltaic (PV) works on the principle that energy in the sun is converted to electricity. PV cells are used to convert solar radiation into Direct Current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is then inverted to Alternating Current (AC) electricity for use in buildings or export to the grid. When light shines on the PV cell an electric field is created across the silicon conducting layers which causes electricity to flow.

The energy available from the sun is measured in kilo Watt hours per square metre per year (kWh/m2/year). The angle and orientation of the solar array is very important. Generally a photo-voltaic installation requires a large southerly facing roof or field space. Panels are either pre-constructed encapsulated glass/plastic or in some cases may take the form of roof tiles or semi-transparent PV glazing units. There are some costly systems which can track the sun over the course of a day throughout the year. A traditional roof up to a pitch angle of 35? is best for PV output. Trees, chimneys and other buildings should be avoided to minimise any shading effect.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Install Solar Panels?

The installation of solar panels on domestic properties is exempt from planning permission under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Regulations 2007, subject to certain conditions.

These conditions are as follows:

  • The size of any such panel together with any other such panel previously placed on or within the said curtilage, shall not exceed 12 sq. m or 50 per cent of the total roof
    area, whichever is the lesser;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

  • The distance between the plane of the wall or a pitched roof and the panel shall not exceed 15 cm;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

  • The distance between the plan of a flat roof and the panel shall not exceed 50 cm;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

 

  • The solar panels shall be a minimum of 50 cm from any edge of the wall or roof on which it is to be mounted;

(see 1st image)

  • The height of a free standing solar array shall not exceed 2 metres at its highest point, above ground level;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

 

  • A free standing solar array shall not be placed on or forward of the front wall of the house;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

 

  • The erection of any free standing solar array shall not reduce the area of private open space to the rear or side of the house to less than 25 sq. m.

 

New Solar PV Pilot Scheme 

This new scheme provides a grant towards the purchase and installation of a solar PV system and/or battery energy storage system.

This will take the form of a once-off payment. The eligible technologies will be solar PV systems (including metering etc.) and battery storage systems.

The scheme is expected to operate for 2 years with regular reviews expected every 6 months.

The maximum grant support levels are as follows:

  • Solar PV Systems    €700/kWp
  • Battery Storage      €1,000

 

Eligible systems are:

  • Solar PV Systems up to 2kWp
    (about 6 to 8 panels)
  • Solar PV system with battery storage up to 4kWp
    (Battery to meet scheme requirements)

Homeowners are required to complete a Building Energy Rating (BER) on their home after the supported works have been completed.

Grants may only be claimed after the measures are fully completed and the contractor has been paid by or has entered into a financing agreement with the homeowner.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a brief summary of the regulations with regards when planning permission is required and is provided for general guidance only. For full details contact your local council planning department. The relevant Regulations and the Planning Authority should always be consulted when in doubt.

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.

 

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