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19 Nov 2010 03:11:09

On the path towards low energy houses

The architectural challenges of the EU building guidelines

Europe is on its way towards having many more low energy houses. The low energy house was declared as the standard of the EU building guidelines 2010/31/EU, which has been in effect since July and is currently waiting to be implemented by the member nations. The energy concept of the German government is already very close to the European standards in many points. The key concept of building renovation stirred up quite a bit of controversy before it was finally integrated into the energy policy. While environmental technology companies and skilled trades workers were eying a huge new market worth billions, housing associations were fearing exploding investment costs. How should the guidelines for the next generation of building and renovation be implemented best?

The ideal solution is in passive and energy-plus houses, though there is a lot of need for action and development in this new technology. “Brand new passive houses aren't yet even completely climate neutral, as all buildings are expected to be by 2050 – including old buildings. There is a huge amount left to be renovated,” notes Johannes Laible, editor of the Passivhaus Kompendium. Several existing buildings can only approach the passive house standard with possible renovations due to a lack of economic feasibility or because they are protected historical buildings.

New passive house buildings must continue to improve as well. Even though the building functions themselves may be nearly climate neutral, if they are not made with ecological materials, their construction can use up so much energy, that the finished building will need 20 years to save enough energy to make up for it.

The current topics surrounding the construction materials, building techniques and technology in current and future architecture, building and renovation will take center stage at the international trade fair and conference CEP® CLEAN ENERGY & PASSIVEHOUSE from February 10th-12th, 2011.

Thanks to its unique combination of renewable energies and passive houses, the CEP® has established itself as an industry meeting point with international appeal. The section of the CEP® trade fair dealing with passive houses continues to grow year after year. No other platform offers such a comprehensive overview of the leading standard of energy efficient building and renovation as this exhibition with accompanying conferences and trade forums.

Strong network partners including the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, the Chamber of Architects of Baden-Württemberg, the German Builders, Architects and Engineers Association (BDB), Bundesverband Bausysteme e.V. and ProPassivhaus e.V., which itself grew out of the CEP®, all help to support the trade fair and contribute to its continuing success.

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