Ahead of CPD accredited sessions on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings at the SEAI Energy Show (RDS, 27 and 28 March), Orla Coyle explains some of the latest developments in the field
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Ahead of CPD accredited sessions on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings at the SEAI Energy Show (RDS, 27 and 28 March), Orla Coyle, a leading expert on near zero energy buildings, explains some of the latest developments in the field. Orla is a programme manager with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and is a chartered engineer with CIBSE and a member of Engineers Ireland. She has worked for over 20 years in the energy performance of buildings both in Ireland and Australia.

What are Nearly Zero Energy Buildings?

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings are defined in the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) as “a very high energy performance… The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby”.

How is it being implemented?

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings is being implemented through Part L of the Building Regulations.

Part L for Buildings Other than Dwellings was published in December 2017, and applies to all new buildings commencing after the 1st January 2019. The regulations require a 60% energy performance improvement on the previous building regulations. This typically corresponds to an A3 Building Energy Rating. This means an improved energy performance for the fabric, services and lighting specification. It also introduces a mandatory requirement for renewable sources, which must in general provide 20% of the primary energy use. However, there is flexibility where the building is more energy efficient than the regulations.

Part L for Dwellings went out for public consultation in the middle of 2018 and is due to be published in the coming weeks. The regulation is likely to apply from the middle of 2019. The energy performance is in the order of a 25% improvement on the previous building regulations, with the use of a renewable energy ratio of 20% as opposed to the fixed value in previous regulations. It typically corresponds to an A2/A3 Building Energy Rating.

How do I demonstrate compliance?

Non-domestic buildings

The Non-Domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (NEAP) is Ireland’s official methodology for demonstrating compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations and calculating a Building Energy Rating (BER). It considers space heating and cooling, water heating, ventilation, and lighting.  SEAI published guidance on NEAP in November 2018 following lengthy consultation with key stakeholders throughout industry including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Education and Skills, the OPW and the HSE. Some of the key changes that have been introduced to the methodology include inclusion of demand control ventilation, night cooling, renewables from district heating and process loads and the enhanced calculations for lighting, ventilation, hot water, photovoltaics.

Domestic Buildings

The Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure is Ireland’s official method for calculating the Building Energy Rating and demonstrating compliance with Part L. A draft excel version of the tool was released with the public consultation. An updated version of the excel tool, including feedback from the public consultation, will be released in conjunction with the Part L regulation in the coming weeks. The DEAP software will be released with the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings changes and a heat pump tool shortly after that.

What is Major Renovation?

2019 also saw the introduction of “Major Renovation” into the building regulations. Where 25% of the surface area of a building envelope undergoes renovation, the regulation will require that the building is brought up to an energy efficient level.

For non-domestic buildings this sees a requirement for upgrade in heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems.

For domestic buildings it will be an upgrade in the heating system and ceiling insulation or the equivalent to a B2.

Learn more at the SEAI Energy Show

You can learn more about Nearly Zero Energy Buildings at CPD accredited sessions at the SEAI Energy Show on the 27th and 28th of March. These sessions are a must for all engineers to ensure you are up to speed on the latest developments. To find out more and register visit www.seai.ie/energyshow.

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Ahead of CPD accredited sessions on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings at the SEAI Energy Show (RDS, 27 and 28 March), Orla Coyle, a leading expert on near zero energy buildings, explains some of the latest developments in the field. Orla is a programme manager with the Sustainable Energy Authority...