Positive Energy Buildings – wishful thinking or (built) reality?

Looking beyond nZEB – 2030 as the age of positive energy buildings ?

Construction is considered a key sector to curb carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption, and thus reach the climate objectives at EU level.

While exploring the options for the next 2030 EU targets, the role of Positive Energy Buildings (PEBs) should be discussed. Would PEBs be a viable option for future European buildings standards? Or are they rather going to be an “exotic niche technology”?

This event, co-organised by Fraunhofer IBP and BPIE, opened with the discussion “Why should we consider positive energy buildings while Member States are already struggling with nZEBs”?

Since technologies already exist, the key challenge remains the political will to give the right signals to the market. The event explored how PEBs can be fully integrated in national legislation, examining the possibilities for market uptake of innovative technologies. It also provided a comparative view of how MS approach this challenge in their respective political agendas and subsequent legislation.

Pilot projects of PEBs have indeed proven successful, leading to developments in some countries such as France (Bepos) or Germany (Energy Positive House / Plus Energy House), where these innovative building practices have been integrated into the legislation. The PEB conceptual approach has now spread to many Member States. PEBs appear to be a possible and encouraging alternative to reach a carbon-neutral building stock, with increasing importance being given to energy supply security and independence.

The event was informative and challenging, thinking ahead and showcasing the benefits of positive energy buildings: how advanced are the different EU MS markets and how can they be supported in their preparation/uptake? How are Member States integrating PEBs in their respective legislations? How can the EU set trends to initiate more projects to be developed on the ground? What would the appropriate framework for change be? Are these technologies a viable solution for all markets?

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