Approximate Dutch BENG requirements broader

A better balance between energy need, indoor environment, health and safety creates more support for achieving environmental objectives for the built environment.

The current Dutch ambition for nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB, in NL: BENG) is too narrowly focused on CO2 reduction say a coalition of Danish companies operating in The Netherlands. Later this month we expect to see the official publication of a new revised Buildings Directive from the EU which also asks EU Member States to consider fire safety and ensure energy needs are being calculated in order to optimize indoor air quality and comfort levels for new as well as renovated buildings. The working group that is currently conducting research on behalf of the government mainly looks at the cost optimization of BENG. It would be wise to broaden the view of BENG and align it with the new European directive. This provides more insight, moves homeowners and building owners into invest-ing in sustainable renovations and thus offers better opportunities to meet the environmental objectives.

This call was made by four Danish companies based in The Netherlands (VELUX, ROCKWOOL, Danfoss and Grundfos) today at the Danish Embassy with members of parliament, civil servants and market parties attending the conference.

The current BENG definition is based on the EPBD (Energy Performance Building Directive) 2010. This is mainly focused on energy reduction. This month, the revised EPBD 2018 will be officially published. The ministers of the EU Member States will then have to implement the new directive during the next 20 months. This new, leading European directive even more emphatically states that energy efficiency must not lead to a deterioration of social aspects in the built environment, such as safety (including fire safety), living comfort and health. They should go together according to the revised directive.

From BENG to Better

From various angles, the experts at the Danish Embassy today addressed the need for a holistic approach to BENG. As of 1 January 2019, all new government buildings must comply with BENG requirements, followed by other buildings and houses. “It is therefore already important to take flexibility into the BENG requirements in order to be able to meet the broader EPBD 2018 requirements”, so says Hannie Stappers, spokesperson on behalf of the Danish companies.

Danish example: more support for renovation by centralizing comfort

The Netherlands is faced with a challenge regarding renovation of existing buildings. This requires support, particularly from residents. During the seminar at the Danish Embassy the ‘BetterHome’ initiative was presented. This proven concept has been developed by a wide group of companies and organizations in Denmark and shows that residents are as much motivated to renovate by comfort improvement as they are to save cost on the energy bill. With this approach, the Dutch government can move house owners and building owners to invest in sustainable renovations.

Following the meeting at the Danish Embassy, discussions took place between BetterHome and several Dutch financial institutions about the financial possibilities for supporting comfortable energy renovations.

The speakers at the seminar of From BENG to Better advocate the target of BENG wider. Not just focus on energy efficiency, but also look at the welfare of people, quality of life, affordability and environmental impacts. Harm Valk, senior engineer of Nieman Raadgevende Ingenieurs was moderator of this seminar.

Harm Valk, moderator seminar Van BENG naar Beter. Sociale impact is de sleutel2 Harm Valk, Sociale impact is de sleutel Harm Valk, Sociale impact is de sleutel

About the EPBD 2018

The Dutch BENG legislation is the translation of the current leading EPBD 2010. The revised version, EBPD 2018, already approved by the Ministers of the EU Member States, will be officially published in June 2018. The consolidated text can be read on the website of the European Parliament:

About BetterHome

BetterHome is a cutting edge one stop shop solution launched in 2014 by supply-side actors: Danfoss, Grundfos, ROCKWOOL and VELUX. They offer a burden-free renovation process, enabled by training and digital tools for the installers. The network: 3500 installers from 105 organizations, five banks and mortgage providers as well as four utilities. In 2016 nearly 200 projects were carried out but the demand is growing rapidly, mainly single-family houses constructed between 1950 and 1990. The average project size amounted to 70.000 euro with approximately 30-70% energy saving, resulting in indirect turnover of 13 million euro in 2017.

Social impact is the key

Harm Valk ended with the statement that a sustainable future is more than energy efficiency alone.