2 Directives & Legislation driving Energy Efficiency

2.1Introduction

The debate is ongoing, but there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that man's activities are causing significant climate change. Climate change has the potential to affect all aspects of life on earth and will have major detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts. The best response to these challenging issues is to change. Change the way we think. Change the way we act. (Get source)

2.2Background to Directives for Climate Change

The International climate change agenda containing the Directives and Legislation that drives for energy efficiency began in 1992 with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The objectives of the UNFCCC were to: stabilise the atmospheric greenhouse gases at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climatic system, to be achieved in a time frame to ensure food production is not threatened and to enable economic development proceeds in a sustainable manner. The UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the Kyoto Protocol (1997) which was developed to implement the UNFCCC effectively and properly. (www.euroace.org/reports)

Ireland's relation to the Kyoto Protocol is outlined in the subsequent sub-chapter. In December 2007, the latest climate change conference took place in Bali, Indonesia and it included representatives of over 180 countries. The two week period included the sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, as well as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The ‘Bali Roadmap' was adopted from the conference which charts the course for a new negotiating process to be concluded by 2009 that will lead to a post 2012 international agreement on climate change. The next meeting of the parties to the climate change convention is scheduled to take place on December 2008 in Poland.

After the Kyoto Protocol was established, Europe needed to take action to succeed in cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to 8% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012, as required by the Kyoto Protocol. This action was taken by launching the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) in June 2000 which was then ratified in October 2005. The main goal of the ECCP was to develop all of the necessary elements of an EU strategy to implement the Kyoto Protocol. From this European Climate Change Programme, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD 2003) was developed. This is explained in chapter 2.4 of this text.

(www.euroace.org/reports)

In order for Ireland to meet its Kyoto target of limiting the increase of greenhouse gas emissions to 13% above 1990 levels by 2008-2012, a National Climate Change Strategy was implemented.

2.3Ireland and the Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted to tackle the threat of climate change. It contains legally binding greenhouse gas emission targets for developed countries for the post 2000 period. The Protocol promises to move the international community one step closer to achieving the Conventions (UNFCCC) ultimate objective of preventing man-made interference with the climate system.

As a first step towards tackling the threat of climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) required developed countries to put in place policies and measures with objectives of returning emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the end of the decade. However, in recognition of the need to take more substantial and urgent action, industrialised or developed countries committed to reduce their combined emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 5% compared to 1990 levels by the first commitment period 2008-2012. The protocol came into force on 16 February 2005. As of November 2007, 174 parties have ratified the protocol. Of these, 36 developed countries are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels specified for each of them in the treaty.

The EU has an overall reduction target of 8% below 1990 levels and has agreed a burden sharing agreement that recognises the different economic circumstances of each member state.  Ireland's target is to limit the increase in its greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol to 13% above 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

To date Ireland has struggled to get on target and at this stage looks unlikely to meet the 13% figure. With the help of the National Climate Change Strategy and the Protocol flexible mechanisms, this target may yet be achieved.

The National Climate Change Strategy 2007- 2012 provides the national policy framework for addressing greenhouse gas emission reductions and ensuring that Ireland meets its target for the purpose of the Kyoto Protocol. Ireland may achieve their individual targets through domestic actions and use of flexible mechanisms provided for in the Protocol. The Government has decided that it will use the Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms to purchase up to 3.607 million Kyoto Units in each year of the 2008-2012 period.

(www.environ.ie)

2.3.1Kyoto Protocol Flexible Mechanisms / Emissions Trading

An important part of the Kyoto Protocol was the introduction of three flexible mechanisms to reduce the costs of achieving emission reductions for the member states with emission reduction or limitation targets. The mechanisms enable Parties to purchase Kyoto Units from other Parties or to invest in cost-effective opportunities to reduce emissions. While the cost of reducing emissions varies considerably between projects and between countries, the effect for the atmosphere of limiting emissions is the same no matter where the action occurs.

The three mechanisms are outlined below:

Joint Implementation (JI)

This is provided for under Article 6 of the Protocol, and enables Parties with reduction commitments to implement projects that reduce emissions in other member states with reduction commitments, in return for credits. The tradable unit under the JI mechanism is an Emissions Reductions Unit (ERU).

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

This is provided for under Article 12 of the protocol and enables Parties with targets to participate in projects that reduce emissions in those Parties that do not have targets under the protocol. This mechanism is aimed at developing countries. Credits generated using the CDM mechanism can be used by the investing Party for compliance purposes. The tradable unit under the CDM mechanism is a Certified Emissions Reduction (CER).

International Emissions Trading

This is provided under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol and enables Parties or member states that have a greenhouse gas emissions limitation or reduction target under the Protocol to acquire Kyoto Units from those Parties that have reduced their emissions beyond their target under the Protocol. The tradable unit under emissions trading is an Assigned Amount Unit (AAU).

The National Treasury Management Agency is the designated purchasing agent for Ireland and will administer and manage purchases of Kyoto Units on behalf of the Government. A dedicated Carbon Fund has been established for this purpose. All purchases will be made in accordance with the following objectives:

  • That they contribute to the ultimate objective of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • That risk is minimised, particularly in relation to the timely delivery of credits
  • That they represent good value for money

The National Treasury Management Agency will use the following mechanisms to purchase Kyoto Units:

  • Direct purchase of Kyoto Units from other Kyoto Protocol member states
  • Direct investment in joint implementation and clean development project activities
  • Direct market purchases of Kyoto Units
  • Any surplus Kyoto Units held by the State at the end of the 2008-2012 commitment period can be banked and used in a subsequent commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol or any successor treaty.

(National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Below is a graph illustrating the total greenhouse gas emissions for all sectors of all the member states up to 2005. As we can see, Ireland is somewhat off reaching its Kyoto target.

2.4The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

2.4.1Introduction

“Energy performance demands in the building sector within the EU range from rather demanding energy regulations and already established energy certification schemes in countries like Denmark and Germany, to the situation in countries like France and Spain with low regulation demands and without certification processes established at national level” (Casal, 2006).

EU legislation and policies, implemented through the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD), aim to provide a more uniform approach to implementing building energy saving measures and reaching Co2 emission goals. Each member state is required to translate and implement the policies and guidelines within the context of its legal and economic framework.

The EPBD was enacted by the European Union in line with the Kyoto Protocol to: reduce European building energy consumption by 10 per cent by 2010 and 20 per cent by 2020; complete energy ratings of 2 million existing buildings by 2010; and cut Co2 emissions by 45 million tonnes by 2010 (Casal, 2006). The directive is the first move to target buildings specifically to reduce emissions and overall energy consumption in the construction sector.

2.4.2Overview of the EPBD

  • The EPBD is a legislative act of the European Union which requires member states to achieve particular results with respect to the energy performance of buildings.
  • The directive 2002/91/EC (EPBD, 2003) of the European Parliament and Council on energy efficiency of buildings was adopted by member states and the European Parliament on 16th December 2002 and came into force on 4th January 2003.
  • This directive is a very important legislative component of energy efficiency activities of the European Union designed to meet the Kyoto commitment.
  • The directive concerns a large number of participants on all levels with different impacts and different motivations: designers, housing associations, architects, providers of building appliances, installation companies, building experts, owners, and tenants - effectively all energy consumers in the European Union.
  • It will greatly affect awareness of energy use in buildings, and is intended to lead to substantial increases in investments in energy efficiency measures within these buildings. The EPBD has created a great challenge for the transformation of the European building sector towards energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources.

The 4th of January 2006 was the official deadline by which the 25 member states had to transpose the directive.

2.4.3Objectives and Requirements of EPBD

The objective of the EPBD is to improve the energy performance of buildings within the community, taking into account outdoor climate conditions as well as indoor climate requirements and cost effectiveness.

The directive lays down requirements regarding:

  • The framework for a methodology of calculation of the integrated energy performance of buildings
  • The application of minimum requirements on the energy performance of new buildings
  • The application of minimum requirements on the energy performance of large existing buildings that are subject to major renovation
  • The energy performance certification of buildings
  • The regular inspection of boilers, an assessment of the heating installation in which the boilers are more than 15 years old and an inspection of air conditioning systems in buildings
  • The requirements for experts and inspectors for the certification of buildings, the drafting of the accompanying recommendations and the inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems.
  • The requirements of each member state are set out in the EPBD under different articles. (EPBD, 2002)

2.4.4Summary of Articles

2.4.4.1Adoption of a methodology

Each member state is required to have a method of calculating the energy performance of buildings. This calculation method can be set at a national or a regional level.

This is an extract of the directive on article 3:

‘'Member States shall apply a methodology, at national or regional level, of calculation of the energy performance of buildings on the basis of the general framework set out in the Annex. Parts 1 and 2 of this framework shall be adapted to technical progress in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), taking into account standards or norms applied in member state legislation. This methodology shall be set at national or regional level. The energy performance of a building shall be expressed in a transparent manner and may include a CO2 emission indicator'' (EPBD, 2002)

2.4.4.2Setting of energy performance requirements

These minimum requirements shall be reviewed every five years. Some categories of buildings may be exempted from the requirements. These include:

  • Protected buildings and monuments
  • Buildings used as places of worship
  • Temporary buildings
  • Residential buildings intended to be used for less than 4 months of the year
  • Stand alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m²

2.4.4.3 Setting of energy performance requirements for new buildings

Each member state will set minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings.

For large new buildings with a floor area of over 1000m² member states should consider alternative energy systems before construction starts. These include:

  • Decentralised energy supply systems based on renewable energy
  • CHP (combined heat and power)
  • District or block heating or cooling, if available
  • Heat pumps, under certain conditions

The consideration of the alternative energy systems should take technical, environmental and economic feasibility into account.

2.4.4.4 Setting of energy performance requirements for existing buildings

Each member state will ensure that when buildings over 1000m² undergo major renovation that their energy performance is upgraded to meet minimum requirements. The minimum standards may be applied to the whole building or limited to the renovated part.

2.4.4.5 Energy performance certificate

Each member state must ensure that when a building is constructed that an energy performance certificate is made available to the owner. When a building is sold or rented out an energy performance certificate must be made available to the prospective buyer or tenant. The certificate is valid for 10 years.

For buildings over 1000m² occupied by public authorities, an energy certificate must be placed in a prominent place clearly visible to the public.

2.4.4.6 Independent experts

Member States shall ensure that the certificate of buildings, the drafting of the accompanying recommendations and the inspection of boilers and air-conditioning systems are carried out in an independent manner by qualified or accredited experts, whether operating as sole traders or employed by public or private enterprise bodies.

(EPBD, 2002)

  • Implementing EPBD in Ireland

2.5.1Building Control Act 2007

The Building Control Act provides for the legal transposition of the EU's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) into Irish law. This will lead to energy efficiency becoming an important aspect of design concern for all buildings, both residential and non-residential. It is essential that the general public and companies involved in the industry understand the impact of the directive on residential and commercial property in Ireland.

The Act requires that there will have to be mandatory building energy rating (BER) certificates for some buildings. This means that when a building is constructed, sold or rented out, the owner must provide a BER certificate to the prospective buyer or tenant. The BER will be accompanied by an 'advisory report' setting out recommendations for cost-effective improvements to the energy performance of the building. This is further explained in chapter 3.

‘‘The successful implementation of the directive will require that systems are in place to guarantee the day-to-day delivery of assessment and inspection services by qualified people in a way that is consistent, practical and cost efficient, and with acceptable response times that maintain levels of service in the construction and property markets''. (www.lkshields.ie/htmdocs/publications/newsletters)

www.sei.ie

www.epbd.ie

http://www.euroace.org/reports/CIBSE_EUBD.pdf

Casal, X.G. (2006), ‘‘Analysis of building energy regulation and certification in Europe: their role, limitations and differences'', Energy and Buildings, Vol. 38 No.5, pp.381-92

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2002