News & Press
25. September 2016

Report shows the cost-effective potential of building automation and controls is mostly missed at Member State level

Please download here the full report.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a big step in the right direction for improving the energy performance of EU’s building stock. However, as it looks today, it doesn’t grasp the cost-effective potential of building automation and controls. Furthermore, the results of the survey show Member States even fell short in effectively transposing and implementing the partial requirements and recommendations for building automation and controls currently comprised in EPBD.

The ongoing EPBD review is the optimum opportunity to ensure a better coordinated, coherent (due to the synchronization of other Energy Union actions and initiatives i.e. adoption of the Ecodesign Work Plan 2015-2017, review of specific articles of the Energy Efficiency Directive, review of Renewable Energy Directive and the New Energy Market Design) and more effective energy efficiency policy framework that can fully exploit the potential of EU’s building stock in terms of optimizing and at the same time decarbonising the energy use in operation phase. Additionally, due to the difficulties Member States encounter in transposing and implementing all the articles of EPBD, it would be highly beneficial for them to have a clearer, better guided and easier to streamline version of EPBD.

The inclusion of building automation and controls in national level legislation, building codes and incentives in a nutshell:

  • Building automation and controls is only partially (1/3 of full potential) included in the national methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings of most EU Member States for which responses were received.
  • EPBD’s Article 8 ‘Technical building systems’ paragraph 2 is in most of the EU Member States, for which responses were received, either not transposed or transposed just as recommendation in the national legislation.
  • Building automation and controls is only partially (1/3 of full potential) included in the national calculation methodology for issuing an energy performance certificates of most EU Member States for which responses were received.
  • The recommendations for energy performance improvements highly depends on the expertise of the energy performance certificate issuer. Only in France and the United Kingdom by default improvements for heating controls are considered. Another exception is in Italy where, for new and deep renovated non-residential buildings, it is required to have Class B of building automation and controls according to EPBD standard EN 15232 ‘Energy performance of buildings. Impact of Building Automation, Controls and Building Management’.
  • EPBD Article 14 ‘Inspection of heating systems’ and EPBD Article 15 ‘Inspection of air-conditioning systems’ include only partially building automation and controls in some EU Member States, for which responses were received.
  • EPBD’s Article 14 ‘Inspection of heating systems’ paragraph 1 and EPBD’s Article 15 ‘Inspection of air-conditioning systems’ paragraph 1 are in most of the EU Member States, for which responses were received, either not transposed or transposed just as recommendation in the national legislation.
  • In the EU Member States, for which responses were received, that consider building automation and controls in the inspection process for heating and/or air-conditioning systems, usually building automation and controls improvements are included the report issued as a result of the inspection.
  • For most EU Member states that have responded, there aren’t recommendations and/or requirements for building automation and controls. In general, for the EU Member States that have something included in their building codes, it is either recommendations or requirements. The recommendations and requirements are focusing more on non-residential buildings and most often recommend or require Class C (Class B Italy) of building automation and controls according to EPBD standard EN 15232 ‘Energy performance of buildings. Impact of Building Automation, Controls and Building Management’.
  • Except France, Germany and the United Kingdom that have their national voluntary certification schemes for non-residential buildings (i.e. HQE, DGNB, BREEAM), the other EU Member States, for which responses were received, use the internationally acknowledged schemes i.e. BREEAM, LEED. All these existing voluntary certification schemes for non-residential buildings take only indirectly into account the benefits of building automation and controls.
  • Regarding the existing financial incentives the respondents explained that most often they are underused or not used at all, due to either the lack of awareness of such programmes or their complexity which entails a long and complicated bureaucratic process that is most often overkill for providers of energy performance projects.