Dr Sarah Birchall, Sustainability Engineer, Sustainable Construction Group of BSRIA presents a webinar setting out the aims and objectives of the iNSPiRe project and how it intends to renovate the existing building stock across Europe after conducting one of one of the most comprehensive studies into the European building stock ever undertaken.

The work to assess and analyse the residential and office building stock within the EU–27 countries has been part of Work Package 2 of the iNSPiRe project.

The data has been split between three reports. Report, D2.1a, covers the building types, age, ownership and energy use within the residential and office buildings.

The supporting report D2.1b covers policies that affect the retrofit of buildings and incentives that apply specifically to retrofit. A third report, D2.1c, covers the simulation work that has been carried out to complement the literature information.

Report 2.1a found that residential and office space is concentrated in the ‘big six’ countries of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom. These six countries account for 72% of residential and 71% of office floor area in the EU-27. The study also found that in the residential sector across the EU-27, single family houses represent the majority of the heated floor area at 60%, being more common in Central and Nordic countries; multifamily houses are on the contrary more frequent in Spain and Italy. This means that to be effective across the whole residential stock, retrofit solutions need to be designed to accommodate both single and multi-family houses, depending on the market addressed. Importantly, the total heating energy consumption across residential and office sectors is 2299TWh/year and 159TWh/ year respectively, giving a ratio of 14:1 underlining the importance of the residential sector in energy-reduction retrofit. The yearly residential heating average energy consumption is 152 kWh/(m2y) (heated area taken as a reference).

The residential cooling energy consumption across the EU-27 is 26TWh/year. Due to the size and climate, Spain has the greatest total cooling consumption at 13TWh/year. DHW consumption in residential buildings is approximately 20% of the space heating, at 459TWh/year. Total energy consumption for hot water is much more closely linked to the size of each country’s population, with Germany accounting for the largest proportion at 91 TWh/year.

Report 2.1b found that there are some widely observed obstacles that act to prevent the adoption of energy reducing retrofit measures. Some of these have to do with the rights of tenants and landlords, primarily restrictions on the amount that landlords can increase rents. This affects retrofit projects as it is usually only by increasing the rent that the landlord can recoup some of the capital investment required to install the retrofit measures. In theory, tenants should be willing to pay an increased rent since they are getting the direct benefit of lower energy bills. Other obstacles are related to the town planning and building control system in different countries, particularly where these regulations place restrictions on the changes to the external appearance of buildings.

Report 2.1c’s aim is to give complementary information about the heating and cooling demands of residential and office buildings based on simulations, so that the many gaps in the energy statistics can be filled and the statistics can be critically evaluated. This mostly holds to the data of the office sector and the energy consumption for cooling, which are extremely rare and somehow untrustworthy.

Download Links to the webinar, the presentation slides and report D2.1a, D2.1b and D2.1c