What is primary energy?
Primary energy is a reflection of how much raw fuel is used to generate a unit of final energy. This includes the power used to create, transform and transport the energy from its raw form to where it is used. Currently, the UK primary energy factors are listed as 1.122 for natural gas and 1.738 for electricity. These factors are likely to be updated multiple times before the NZEB target becomes law, but will likely to be used to calculate a building’s overall primary energy use, with a target which must be achieved before construction can commence.
What is meant by NZEB?
In 2010 the EU presented their Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) to all member states, including the UK, who transposed it into their own individual laws. Part of this directive was the requirement for all new buildings to be nearly zero energy (NZEB) after the 31st December 2020, which must be measured in primary energy (kWh/m2y).
What if the UK leaves the EU?
Article 2 of the EPBD defines a NZEB as a building that has a very high energy performance, where the very low amount of energy that is required is covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.
Decisions to be made...
UK government is currently updating legislation to incorporate the requirements set out by the EPBD, and the results will be legally binding. What is not yet finalised is what compliance shall be measured against going forward.
The UK needs to decide:
These decisions, although they will have a vast impact on industry, are largely unknown and difficult to predict until the Part L and Part F consultations are released later this year.
This is why we have distilled the information within the EPBD to create two reports: one on the scope of the NZEB definition within the UK and a second using the draft SAP10 methodology and software to work out what this could mean for HVAC specification beyond 2020.
The inclusion of primary energy compliance is a dramatic change which could have huge ramifications across the industry. We will continue to engage with government to make our recommendations, ensuring that they consider all the potential impacts in order make decisions that are right for the industry as well as the environment.