Steps for successful regulation processes on the examples of Brussels and Hannover

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PassREg front runners are regions and municipalities which show real success models in place for the implementation of nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) adopting the comprehensive passive house criteria and strategies. Thanks to these, in few years the front runner regions actually have reached important targets visible as hundreds of passive house buildings recently built. These are very high performance but common buildings of all shapes and types (residential, social housing, office, school, care centers, sport facilities, etc.). This regions show in practice successful results both for real buildings and building market developments both for the supporting strategies, solutions and measures in the political field. These shining examples can offer complete set of solutions to be adopted also partially in each other regions. These solutions and models were deeply described, analyzed and summarized in many documents and web-site of the [PassREg project]. Sometimes these successes could produce astonishment but they are real and affordable for very different regions.

A comprehensive document on this has been developed, and it's available here
File:3 PR Successful regulation processes in Brussels and Hannover eERG v1.pdf
showing also possible steps to implement the requirements and optimized integration of RES systems.
Here a short summary is presented

It’s possible to insert now the passive house requirements in local building codes, public tenders and policy decisions, as it is happening in regions and municipalities in Europe as Hannover (Germany), Brussels Capital Region (Belgium), Tyrol (Austria), etc.. But it’s also possible to adopting passive house requirements in regulations by intermediate steps with intermediate quantitative requirements or initially involving only some building types following a coherent and effective medium and long term strategies to reach complete passive house solutions.

For example, the policy process in Hannover showed these following steps, since the year 1995 until now. Since the beginning, the Passive House standard was supported by the Municipalities offering different incentives and in the negations processes to allow constructions on municipal plots.

  • Low Energy House (LEH) - with reduction of thermal energy consumption for space heating by 25% as compared to the related norms in force at that time;
  • Low Energy House Plus (LEH-plus) - with further reduction of thermal energy consumption for space heating up to 40%;
  • Passive House requirements and standard (PH).

Parallel with the application of the three low-energy standards for buildings of new construction (LEH, LEH-plus and PH), Hanover Municipality has introduced also a series of ecological requirements, applied in the event of construction of buildings municipal property or in the event of build-up of municipal plots sold to building contractors. These requirements comprise the urban development plans (build-up density, solar orientation, engineering infrastructure), as well as the application of the above listed standards in the construction of new buildings.

Even faster has the been the process in Brussels Capital Region, where in less than 7 years, the Region has transformed from “the worst student in Europe” to a laudable front-runner in matters of energy policy and energy efficient building. Currently, there are 860 new passive projects that are being built in Brussels, to add to a large amount of passive houses in the social housing sector. Evidence exists that that the additional costs for building passive is decreasing more and more. The Brussels government has made a conscious decision to be a role model in the process.

In 2007, the Passive Buildings idea started to take shape in Brussels, but not on such a high technical level as in Germany, which was good, because had Brussels applied the German model literally, it would not have worked. That is how BatEx emerged. If we compare 2004 and 2009, it is clear that energy efficiency is on the government agenda, with very specific targets. Based on three rounds of successful trials with Exemplary Buildings supporting programme (in 2007, 2008 and 2009), on July 12, 2009 the Brussels government passed an order imposing the passive standard on all regional new public buildings by 2010, and on May 3, 2011 adopted new energy target regulation for all new construction (housing, offices and schools) by 2015. The EPB recast directive imposed the zero energy standard, and the “passive” standard became an important first step towards achieving the zero energy standards in insulation.