New energy efficiency measurement tools for buildings

building, energy efficiency, energy performance, isolation, technical performanceHow can you improve a building’s energy efficiency? In February 2011, ACR (French industry association for automation, climate engineering and regulation for the energy efficiency of buildings), FFIE (French electrical contractors association) and Gimélec (French industry association for electrical equipment, control-command and related services) published the first reference tool measuring energy efficiency performance, both in economic and technical terms.

Did you know that 43% of energy consumption in France is related to buildings? At the same time, the yearly renewal rate of French real estate is 1%, which means that most potential energy savings consist in optimizing existing buildings. Whereas there is some public awareness of so-called “passive” energy efficiency (building insulation, for instance), the new tool focuses on “active” management, that is to say energy use directly related to equipment, i.e. not to the building’s structure itself.

Three levels of action

This new tool establishes three categories of solutions toward active energy efficiency: measurement (EE1), measurement combined with action on systems (EE2) and finally measurement combined with action on systems and building shells (EE3). A measuring scale was defined according to initial investments and long-term energy savings.

Energy efficiency , isolation , building , technical performance , energy performance

Source : Gimélec

  • The EE1 level enables to assess and define the means of optimizing the energy consumption of a building. It also allows to ensure that it is in compliance with prevailing norms, especially environmental norms ISO 14001 and EN 16001. With this first level of analysis, it is already possible to make 10 to 15% energy savings in a very short time (1 year).
  • The EE2 level is about energy management. Specific energy consumptions will be measured and optimized (heating, air-conditioning, lighting, home appliances). This level of action relies on the norm NF EN 15232, which rates buildings from A (high – energy efficiency buildings) down to D (energy-inefficient buildings). Refining equipment consumption of a building, energy saving could reach 30 to 35% over 10 years.
  • The EE3 level includes the norms of the EE2 level and pays extra attention to building shells. It also deals with active energy efficiency since it takes into account equipment outside the building’s structure itself, such as optimizing shutters, blinds and curtains. This action would allow long-term savings up to 40% over 25 years.

To sum up, this measurement tool sorts the various steps that can be taken to save energy according to the energy efficiency of the existing buildings. Besides, it is suggested that building contractors should take it into account when working on a new project, thus making energy efficiency a core concern for the design of the places where people live and work.

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