Is Poland ready for near-zero-energy projects?

The build­ing sec­tor con­sumes 40% of the total ener­gy use EU-wide. That is why a pri­or­i­ty for the years to come is to reduce that num­ber to 20%. This objec­tive is to be met thanks to improve­ment of ener­gy per­for­mance of build­ings. This may be achieved by reduc­ing the ener­gy demand, using renew­able sources (sun, wind, bio­mass) or by increas­ing the ener­gy per­for­mance. The changes will apply both to old and new facil­i­ties. A real chal­lenge the Pol­ish con­struc­tion sec­tor is fac­ing is the intro­duc­tion of near-zero-ener­gy, zero-ener­gy and plus-ener­gy build­ings. Changes imposed by the direc­tives of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and EU Coun­cil will have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the entire con­struc­tion sec­tor.

 

Ener­gy per­for­mance of the build­ings

EU mem­ber states were oblig­at­ed to deter­mine min­i­mum require­ments con­cern­ing the ener­gy per­for­mance of build­ings. The idea of high ener­gy per­for­mance of the build­ing is get­ting an increas­ing­ly wider accep­tance. Already today, every facil­i­ty and estab­lish­ment must have a cer­tifi­cate depict­ing its ener­gy per­for­mance and rec­om­men­da­tions for its improve­ment. Such cer­tifi­cate should be hand­ed over to the buy­er or lessee. The exist­ing prac­tice indi­cates that the impor­tance of ener­gy cer­tifi­cates in build­ing is less­er than assumed. There­fore a new sys­tem of deter­min­ing, cer­ti­fy­ing and con­trol­ling the ener­gy per­for­mance of build­ings will be need­ed. The most strin­gent guide­lines relat­ed to near-zero-ener­gy build­ings, will cov­er all the new build­ings. New solu­tions will also be imple­ment­ed in case of ren­o­va­tion the cost of which exceeds 25% of the val­ue of exist­ing build­ings.

 

Invest­ment plans for Poland

Poland is fac­ing the chal­lenge relat­ed to get­ting adapt­ed to the new real­i­ty. We still have no def­i­n­i­tion of the zero-ener­gy build­ing which would be a mod­el for devel­op­ers, and the time is run­ning. “Luck­i­ly, many large com­mer­cial build­ing investors, espe­cial­ly in case of office build­ings, are already imple­ment­ing pro­grams adapt­ed to the future, increased require­ments” — says Tomasz Augusty­ni­ak, Pres­i­dent of Go4Energy — “These works are coor­di­nat­ed by sus­tain­able build­ing spe­cial­ists and allow to make mul­ti­an­nu­al invest­ment plans based on ener­gy con­sump­tion opti­mi­sa­tion, which allows to achieve the assumed goals.” So how could ener­gy-sav­ing build­ing be com­bined with eco­nom­ic grounds and how to over­come obsta­cles faced by devel­op­ers? One of the most impor­tant tasks is to rea­son­ably esti­mate the opti­mum cost of the project based on analy­sis of costs through­out the life cycle of the build­ing. Poles need not only grounds for imple­ment­ing ener­gy-sav­ing build­ing, but also sub­si­dies to assist invest­ments in renew­able sources of ener­gy and ener­gy-sav­ing solu­tions.

 

Per­spec­tives for devel­op­ers

A sur­vey con­duct­ed for Go4Energy by Cube Research shows that accord­ing to devel­op­ers sup­port and pro­mo­tion of ener­gy-sav­ing solu­tions by the Pol­ish law and gov­ern­ment incen­tives are very impor­tant ele­ments of devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of new tech­nolo­gies. The con­struc­tion of a pas­sive build­ing may cost 20% more, while an ener­gy-sav­ing build­ing — 10% more. How­ev­er, this invest­ment may bring returns in a few years thanks to low­er oper­a­tion costs. Before start­ing the con­struc­tion, the own­er will be oblig­at­ed to per­form an analy­sis of envi­ron­men­tal, tech­ni­cal and eco­nom­ic pos­si­bil­i­ties to use alter­na­tive ener­gy sourc­ing sys­tems. What is more, the own­er will have to devel­op the relat­ed doc­u­men­ta­tion. “If these analy­ses are con­duct­ed and the above­men­tioned doc­u­men­ta­tion is pre­pared tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion rea­son­able invest­ment premis­es and capa­bil­i­ties of the giv­en own­er and then they are imple­ment­ed by way of inte­grat­ed engi­neer­ing and com­mis­sion­ing process both dur­ing and after the con­struc­tion, the results may be prof­itable to all par­ties of the invest­ment process” — Tomasz Augusty­ni­ak, Pres­i­dent of Go4Energy adds based on his exist­ing expe­ri­ence.

 

Sub­si­dies for the cho­sen ones

The Nation­al Fund for Envi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Water Man­age­ment offers sub­si­dies only to indi­vid­ual investors for the peri­od from 2013 to 2018. The bud­get is PLN 300 mil­lion and accord­ing to the assump­tions, it should be suf­fi­cient to sub­sidy the con­struc­tion of 12 thou­sand build­ings. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the sup­port of the NFEPWM includes only sub­si­dies to loans which means that it does not apply to per­sons financ­ing the con­struc­tion from their own funds. How could the stake­hold­ers most inter­est­ed in this issue — the devel­op­ers — deal with an increase in expen­di­ture? A growth in real prop­er­ty prices is cer­tain­ly not a good solu­tion. So far, on the pri­ma­ry mar­ket only every fourth buy­er asked for ener­gy cer­tifi­cate which illus­trates the demand of the build­ing for ener­gy. The sta­tis­tics show that few peo­ple care for the real prop­er­ty to gen­er­ate low­er costs in the future. Devel­op­ers know this and point out to the fact that the demand for pas­sive (low-ener­gy) build­ings is low. That is why so far, very few such build­ings were built. And this despite the fact that we often spend as much as 60% of our bud­get on oper­a­tion of hous­es and flats. Thanks to invest­ing in ener­gy-sav­ing build­ing and sourc­ing ener­gy from renew­able sources these costs may be great­ly reduced. To obtain the assumed objec­tives, ener­gy con­sump­tion opti­mi­sa­tion pro­grams should be imple­ment­ed from the very start of con­struc­tion.