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Cost reduction of new Nearly Zero-Energy buildings


Proposals should focus on reducing the cost of designing and constructing new NZEB in order to increase their market uptake. Proposals should explore how improved performance beyond the NZEB level can be reached whilst maintaining an overall focus on cost reduction.

Proposals should explore the cost-effective ways in which renewable energy generation elements can be integrated into NZEB, either on-site or nearby through district solutions. Proposals could take into account the ways in which these buildings can interact with each other at the district level. Proposals could additionally explore and monitor solutions that improve the end user's experience of these buildings, and which would contribute to greater public acceptance of the need to reduce energy consumption in buildings.

Cost reduction and energy savings should apply to the whole life-cycle of the building. This challenge addresses the whole of the construction process, including inception, planning, design, pre-fabrication, on-site operations and post-construction reviews. Proposals could address one or more aspects of the whole process.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

According to Article 9 of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD), Member States shall ensure that by the end of 2020 (2018 for public buildings), all new buildings are Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB). However, progress is slower than expected and requires the development of market ready cost reduction solutions. Cost-effective integration of renewable energy production elements into NZEB in a form that fits with the construction industry’s design and procurement process is a major challenge. Widespread application and roll out of means for cost effective development of NZEB would accelerate the market. The significant cost reduction that is required to mainstream NZEB by 2018 is likely to revolve around processes rather than technologies. There is an additional need to look beyond NZEB performance with a longer term perspective. Support is also needed to ensure that end users and occupants appreciate the role they play in the building's energy performance.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Measurable reduction of construction-related costs compared to the current cost of a new conventional building that meets current building regulations;
  • Measurable nearly zero (or beyond) energy consumption (including on-site or nearby renewable energy sources) and nearly zero impact of materials used over the whole life cycle;
  • Demonstration of co-benefits which can have an impact on the real estate value of such buildings and on living/occupancy standards.