How could energy-saving building be combined with economic grounds and how to overcome obstacles faced by developers? What solutions does the construction sector need and what Polish government and the developers can do about it?
Firstly, energy-saving building must be as functional and comfortable for users as traditional building, or even maybe more comfortable.
The existing practice and experiences from the commercial market in Poland show that grass-roots initiatives are the ones that work best. A good example of this is the certification of commercial buildings — without any incentives or orders of the government, the market saw the need of “green certification”. This results from the need of market players to build their competitive edge, as well as from the growing awareness of the customers — lessees and other users in this case. Therefore, in my opinion, the driver is the user awareness, and thus the activities of the government, developers, building sector should be directed towards creating this greater awareness. This will also cause a departure from competing with only price to competing with quality and environmental impact. One of solutions also includes the life cycle costs analysis of real properties, including in particular applied solutions, system and equipment. Thanks to it, end users may be made aware of how the given project will “behave” and what the result of possible initial savings and choices made may be. Such changes are already occurring in other sectors — for instance, home appliances, where the customers are looking at long-term costs of use and not only at the purchase price.
The Polish government should also promote, by appropriate regulations, the desired attitudes — the point is to make public administration a driver of changes, like it was in the case of the UK, where public buildings were the first to undergo such changes. I would certainly recommend avoiding a prescriptive approach and sanctions in form of additional taxation of real properties which are less energy-efficient.
What will be the consequences of the directives of the European Parliament and the Council and how to adapt our country to EU energy efficiency policy?
What awaits the construction sector with relation to the upcoming changes and what will the construction services sector look like after 2020?
Prices of designs will rise, as well as prices of existing buildings which leave it to their owners, unless restrictions, taxes and other persecutions are imposed on them too — all that in case of residential buildings. I am afraid that until that time, there will be no inventions that would allow to maintain a high living comfort (individual preferences of people — passive buildings limit the possibility of opening windows, as they have forced mechanical ventilation) with the zero energy regime.
As a paradox, if the share of renewable energy increases, for instance to 100%, why buildings should be zero-energy?
Here too, economies of the south are indirectly promoted at the expense of economies of the north — due to climatic conditions.
In case of single-family building, this may be a fiction, as buildings will be zero-energy only on paper, and in reality, it will be the same as with energy certificates. Things will be looking different in case of commercial buildings, where economic aspects prevail and where all this has more sense.
Zuzanna Paciorkiewicz, Ph.D., DTZ Director, Property Management Business Space
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