The IEA supports international energy technology research, development, deployment, and knowledge transfer through multilateral groups (formally called Implementing Agreements). The experts participating in the activities of the Implementing Agreements represent public and private sector entities worldwide. Together, these experts share knowledge – and resources – to advance energy technologies.
Near-zero energy consumption in new – and existing - buildings and communities is possible. Designing a carefully chosen research and development (R&D) strategy will enable the building industries to move from incremental — to substantial — energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The aim of the Implementing Agreement for a Programme of Research and Development on Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC IA) is to take advantage of energy-saving opportunities to remove technical obstacles to market penetration of new energy conservation technologies for community systems and residential, commercial, and office buildings. To implement this strategy, EBC IA activities focus on dissemination, decision-making and building systems. There are currently 27 Contracting Parties, including China and Israel.
The main challenge to achieving energy conservation in the buildings sector is designing technologies and systems for existing buildings — approximately 80% of all buildings in OECD countries.
Some energy savings can be achieved through renovating building components such as windows, roofs, facades or heating systems. However, full‑building retrofits achieve substantial energy savings.
The EBC IA project, Prefabricated Systems for Low Energy Renovation of Residential Buildings,investigated the effectiveness of building renovation through the use of large, prefabricated renovation modules for both façades and roofs.
The study demonstrated that substantial energy savings are possible in typical apartment buildings that represent approximately 40% of European dwellings. Retrofits of 350 apartments measured as part of the study demonstrated energy savings between 80% to 90% or 30 kilowatt hours per square metre per year (kWh/m2/yr) to 50kWh/m2/yr. The prefabricated modules can be applied to many types of existing buildings and allow for larger window sizes, and ventilation systems integrated into the façade. Retrofits in the study were found to extend living space, for example, by incorporating balconies into apartments or by creating new rooftop apartments.
Retrofits also present advantages compared to demolition and rebuilding. This includes, for example, reduction in construction cost, time and local disturbance, minimal waste and long-term reduction in CO2 emissions.
* Photo courtesy of Gap-solution GmbH (Austria).
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