Energy Performance of Buildings: The European Approach to Sustainabilyty

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"Sustainable development" has been defined best by the Brundtland Commission as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Adequate and affordable energy supplies have been key to economic development and are central to improving social and economic well- being, and human welfare and raising living standards. Even if energy is essential for development, it is only a means to an end. The end is good health, high living standards, a sustainable economy and a clean environment.
The European Climate change programme (ECCP) was established in June 2000 to help identify the most environmentally cost-effective measures enabling the EU to meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol, namely an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012. Energy use in buildings accounts for almost half of all CO2 emissions in the EU and the building sectorwas identified as providing the largest potential for CO2 reduction by 2012 and it was also identified to play an even more important role beyond 2012, where the European Commission's proposal for a Sixth Environmental Action Programme foresees a cost-effective energy saving potential of between 22% and 40% of the energy consumption in the sector by the year 2020. The paper presents the European approach to improve sustainability in the building sector, which has a very high potential for considerable reduction of energy consumption and green house gas emissions in the coming years. By approving the Energy Performance in
Buildings Directive the European Union has taken a strong leadership role in promoting energy efficiency in buildings in Europe, and the Directive will be the most powerful instrument developed to date for the building sector in Europe.
One of the benefits of the directive is that it provides an integrated approach to different aspects of buildings energy use and that all aspects are expressed in simple energy performance indicators. The integrated approach allows flexibility regarding details, giving designers greater choice in meeting minimum standards. In order to achieve a certain degree of harmonisation of assessment of buildings for designers and users throughout the EU, a common methodology based on an integrated approach is established. Based ona case the integrated approach and the methodology are presented and it is discussed how it can be used to optimise building performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Integrated Sustainable Resources in Arid Regions : Environment 2007 : Exhibition & conference. Transport - Health - Environment
Number of pages13
Publication date2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventInternational Conference on Integrated Sustainable Resources in Arid Regions - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 28 Jan 20071 Feb 2007


ConferenceInternational Conference on Integrated Sustainable Resources in Arid Regions
CountryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi


  • Sustainable buildings
  • Energy performance
  • Energy legislation

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