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Norberto González - How to raise the number of nZEBs in Europe?

Norberto is senior engineer at 1A Ingenieros, based in the innovation-led business development department. He is involved in coordinating innovative projects, and setting out innovation and communication strategies.

Do you think there is a real market for nZEBs in Europe in the short term? There is a very visible need to develop this type of building and so there is also potential opportunity here. For now though, only the public sector is promoting opportunities but without inducing much market demand. Therefore I am certain that market development is possible in the short term by further matching nZEBs with the needs of end-users, especially with regard to communication. The added value needs to be portrayed from the user’s point of view. How could nZEBs become more appealing to public and private developers and End Users? For me, appeal is based on two fundamental pillars: Credibility: All those involved in making nZEBs a reality – engineers, architects, financial bodies, assurance companies etc. – need to see a clear benefit in doing so beforehand. Dissemination: in order to grow market demand, success stories need to be highlighted and communication must be fully adapted to each stakeholder group and to its particular interests. To achieve this, a full and co-ordinated approach is required where business models relevant to the various stakeholder groups are backed and developed through legislation. It is also crucial to look at quality criteria through legislation in order to boost the credibility pillar. A positive step would be to readjust public funding mechanisms so that together they can act as a real catalyst for this process, and kick start the endeavours and communication that are so necessary in the initial stages. What is undoubtedly of common interest to all stakeholders, from user to architect, is money. And once an appropriate product has been designed for the end-user, sound business and financial models are needed that are able to communicate in a language everyone knows, money. Do you think governmental initiatives (regulation, public funding, etc.) are enough to ensure the growth of the nZEBs market or does the private sector need to take the lead? Why? The private sector plays a vital role since it is involved throughout, and therefore a favourable ecosystem is necessary. The major challenge with nZEBs is to coordinate the large number of stakeholders involved, and to achieve the upfront investment, but the market is not yet ready to deal with this. I think public sector support for nZEBs is paramount if we are to achieve a mature market in close cooperation with private bodies to ensure efficiency. And all this is important when set against the UEs agenda to reduce its dependency on the outside for its energy, and thus remain competitive internationally.; Do you believe your company would benefit from a higher market share of nZEBs compared to traditional buildings? At 1A Ingenieros, as our name states, we are an engineering firm and we therefore sell knowledge. For us, the smart and obvious way forward is to construct ever smarter buildings where investment in knowledge is quickly redeemed for the end-user. Logically, this extra investment is part of our business and as such we stand to gain from it. Which are, according to your expertise, the main regulation barriers currently hampering the design and construction process of an nZEB? How could these barriers be overcome? This first barrier is about quality. Read more at:


nZEB, smart buildings, energy efficiency


Germany, Spain