- Buildings Guide
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In addition to minimum energy performance standards, a number of further legal requirements have a positive impact on the overall energy consumption of a building, either on their own or in enhancing other policy instruments in their impact to reduce energy use. For example, individual metering is an important feedback measure for occupiers of multi-unit buildings that may induce more energy-efficient user behaviour. Likewise the requirement of appointing energy managers, regular inspections or building energy efficiency commissioning will help to detect incorrect installations or operational settings of energy systems and to frequently check energy-intensive building equipment (e.g. boilers, ventilation or air-conditioning systems).
Even if a building is designed for high energy performance, the actual energy consumption can be substantially higher than intended due to factors like incorrect installation and operation, a lack of maintenance, or wasteful occupant behaviour.
Appropriate regulation can counteract unintended energy efficiency losses. For example, individual metering is indispensable for influencing energy-using behaviour of building occupants and reaping the full returns on energy-efficiency investments due to the regular feedback mechanism (once a year or more frequently). Other requirements such as regular inspections of building systems (e.g. boilers, ventilation or air-conditioning systems), the assignment of an energy manager or a building commissioning contractor help identifying malfunctioning building components, controls, or systems. Moreover, recommendations can be given on how to improve the energy performance of buildings. However, service providers need proper training and, at best, government accreditation in order to increase the trust of service recipients and, thus, to achieve full compliance.
The full potential of “other legal requirements” can be achieved if other instruments support them. The feedback mechanism of energy bills can vary depending on the information they convey to the consumer at the end of each month or year (cf. the bigEE document on Feedback and measures on behaviour). Apart from the amount of energy consumed, energy users may find it useful to know at what time of the day they consume most electricity. Acceptance of and compliance with the other requirements (inspections, managers, commissioning) may be highest if measures are supported through financial incentives during the first phase of implementation. It is also necessary that the government highlights the positive impacts of the measures. For example, regarding individual metering (or sub-metering) a Canadian study found that electricity savings of up to 20% can be realised, though, admittedly, this depends on the country context (e.g. the severity of winters; Dewees & Tombe 2010, p. 18). Energy efficiency commissioning in the United States of America for commercial buildings results “in 16% median whole-building energy savings in existing buildings and 13% in new construction, with a payback time of 1.1 years and 4.2 years, respectively” (Mills 2010, p. 1).
The legal requirements mainly aim to stimulate energy savings through energy-efficient operation and use of buildings.
Individual metering raises the awareness of building-occupiers for their individual energy-consumption and therefore implies the option for a change in user-behaviour.
Energy efficiency commissioning, energy managers and regular inspections directly aim at identification of weaknesses in buildings and their operation and at implementing energy savings in building operation. Energy management, in addition, also aims at developing and implementing projects for energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings and systems if needed.
The various measures discussed here, can be implemented on the local, regional, national and even transnational level. Regarding the later, regular inspections of boilers in the EU is a good example. Measures require proper capacity building structures not directly available in every sub-national authority.
While energy efficiency commissioning and individual metering are most likely to contribute to all of the following options, the responsibilities of energy managers and the targets of regular energy inspections depend on the requirements set by legislators:
Domestic hot water
Building integrated power generation
Building energy management
Energy managers should also act on improving the Building envelope.
The more detailed energy bills are, the greater the impact of sub-metering. For example: energy bills could include times of peak consumption during the weak. Financial incentives to upgrade sub-meters with smart meters might increase the impact of the measure as feed-back possibilities through smart-meters are more comprehensive. Benchmarking with similar consumers and tips for energy-efficient user behaviour are essential to enable consumers to save energy based on the metering. Therefore, legal requirements for individual metering should be implemented in conjunction with feedback and measures on behaviour and the related provision of information.
Instruments which aim at finding energy-related building problems such energy management programmes, building energy efficiency commissioning and regular energy inspections may, in the initial phase, be supported with financial incentives in order to reach stakeholder acceptance and, thus, full compliance for respective programmes. Education and training of service providers and energy managers should ensure quality and foster maximum energy saving potential from the programmes. A governmental certification system of trustworthy service providers may also incentivise compliance. If the instruments identify opportunities for investment in energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings or systems, financial incentives may also be needed to guarantee implementation.
Agencies or other actors responsible for implementation
Individual meters should be implemented by construction companies or energy companies. Energy efficiency commissioning, energy management and regular energy inspections should be performed by private companies or contractors with sufficient expertise, or in the case of energy management by the owners of large buildings or building portfolios themselves.
A government agency or local authorities will be needed to control compliance with the regulations.
As with all legal requirements, costs will usually be taken over by investors or occupiers, especially with regard to individual meters. Funding for energy efficiency commissioning, energy managers and regular energy inspections may be subsidised for the first years after the introduction of the policy in order to increase compliance and acceptance by service recipients.
Funding for the agencies to monitor compliance with the legal requirements will usually have to come from the respective government’s budgets.
For energy management, building energy efficiency commissioning and regular energy inspections, a sufficient resource of skilled experts and contractors is required.
The policy should clearly state the responsibilities of actors implementing the policy. All four legal requirements discussed are likely to be performed by private companies. At best, the energy agency in charge of the overall framework introduces a certification system, so that investors and building occupiers can easily identify trustworthy service providers. Of course, it is indispensable that the energy agency sets a list of criteria, which needs to then be fulfilled by the companies.
Representatives of commercial and industrial chambers as well as consumer associations should be involved in the policy formation process, especially with regard to sanctions for non-compliance.
Moreover, the respective ministry under which the energy agency is subordinated must figure out if subsidies for the initial programme phase might increase acceptance and compliance.
In order to assess likely policy success or failure, pre-studies and ex-ante impact and cost assessments are necessary. Research institutes or energy consultancies with expertise in the building sector can offer such services.
Legal requirements target 100 % participation. Fixed dates can be set from which buildings have to thereafter be individually metered. Depending on the kind of buildings, it is also possible to estimate the average and overall amount of energy saved due to respective measures and set this as a target for the policy.
Relevant information (e.g. number of meters installed, number of inspections performed) should be passed on to an organisation of or affiliated to the energy agency in charge of monitoring compliance with and impact of the policy. Information should also include further building-specifics such as the type of building (single-family or multi-family or non-residential), the size, the location, etc.
For impact evaluation purposes, surveys and data collection of samples of buildings by class about energy and monetary savings realised after the respective service was performed, have to be conducted.
Considering individual metering, the organisation responsible for the evaluation may ask how much energy an occupier in the sample used before and after the installation of the meter.
With regard to energy efficiency commissioning, energy management and regular energy inspections, it is necessary to ask whether it brought any operational and behavioural building-related changes. If so, further questions can deal with the amount of energy and money saved, what kind of building changes were undertaken and whether these were cost effective.
Impact evaluation will build on the monitoring data and extrapolate gross impact, benefits, and costs from the sample to the full target group. Further survey-based data are needed to estimate gross-to-net correction factors such as free-ridership or spill-over effects.
Energy managers may also consult investors about options regarding harmless building substances or building equipment which might either increase living conditions at home or working conditions on the job.
All four legal requirements can affect the labour market. Especially, energy management and energy inspections require additional staff.
The following barriers are possible during the implementation of the policy:
As other legal requirements, those discussed here may suffer from a lack of compliance and or resources for ensuring it.
For energy management, building energy efficiency commissioning and regular energy inspections, the number of skilled experts and contractors may be too small.
The following measures can be undertaken to overcome the barriers:
Assigning responsibilities and funding for monitoring and compliance, at least through random checks of a sample large enough to induce most others to comply, and enforcing compliance through significant penalties is an obvious solution to the compliance problem. Proof for energy efficiency commissioning may be required before granting final permission to operate a building.
Education and training for experts and contractors should be started long enough before the date fixed for the requirement to be complied with.
The energy savings achievable with the different measures discussed here depends on country-specific conditions.
Data from a study conducted in Toronto (Canada) estimated annual electricity demand reductions to be at around 20% due to the installation of sub-meters in a multi-unit building. Energy savings were greater in the summer months than in Canada’s long, severe winters. “The reduction was immediate, beginning with the first month of metering, suggesting that it was achieved mostly with behavioural changes” (Dewees & Tombe 2010, p. 18).
Regarding building commissioning, Mills (2010, p. 1) revealed for commercial buildings that commissioning projects detected 10,000 problems related to energy, “resulting in 16% median whole-building energy savings in existing buildings and 13% in new construction, with payback time of 1.1 years and 4.2 years, respectively”.
In Germany, a large number of cities have energy efficiency management units. They have saved up to 50% of energy for heating purposes during the last 20 years (Borg et al. 2006).
Mills (2010, p. 1) found out that for commercial buildings “median normalized cost to deliver commissioning was $0.30/ft2 [~€0.69/m2] for existing buildings and $1.16/ft2 [~€2.73/m2] for new construction (or 0.4% of the overall construction cost).”
With regard to individual metering the study of Dewees and Tombe (2010, p. 18) suggests that “electricity savings were substantially offset by increased delivery charges for each unit in the building to cover metering and billing costs”. However, externalities such as air pollution are reduced by this measure which are beneficial for the society as a whole.
Mills (2010, p. 2) argues that building commissioning is “the single-most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings today“.
Usually, energy and water cost savings are three to five times the costs of energy management according to the experiences of German medium-sized to larger cities (Borg et al. 2006).
|There currently are no good practice policy examples at this time.