KfW Bankengruppe

07/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/27/2021 17:08

Europe in perspective: Energy turnaround in the building sector

Aligning with the EU's Green Agenda

Since the beginning of 2021, the EU has required its member states to construct all new buildings as at least 'nearly-zero-energy buildings '. This means that they must consume very little energy or should even produce energy, if possible, more than they need. While the EU states have already transposed this EU directive into national law, the countries of the Western Balkans have yet to do so.

To this end, they are receiving support from the German Fraunhofer Institute and KfW Development Bank on behalf of the German government and the EU's Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, which has great expertise in this field, is advising the countries, among other things, on developing the definitions for 'nearly-zero-energy buildings'. It will also help to design pilot buildings and provide support for new construction or renovation, thus setting examples for the entire region. And finally, many more houses in the Balkans will be raised to a new energy level in order to establish high-efficiency buildings as the 'new normal' and achieve ambitious climate goals.

A lighthouse building

Montenegro, which is considered a pioneer in the field of energy efficiency, is planning a new ministerial complex to this standard in the capital Podgorica. With several ministries under one roof, this building is expected to become a shining example of state-of-the-art energy efficiency standards. 'This complex is tangible proof that we are implementing the Green Agenda. And we hope that many more buildings will follow this model,' says Marko Perunovic, state secretary in Montenegro responsible for energy efficiency.

The building's energy consumption will be close to zero or zero and maybe it will even be a plus-energy building. Such buildings generate as much - or even more - energy from renewable sources as they need for heating and cooling. They are climate-neutral and represent the building of the future.

The building will attract a lot of attention throughout the region. Albania and Northern Macedonia are already considering promoting and building near-zero houses as well. These examples should set a precedent and, in the next step, also motivate private individuals to retrofit their houses accordingly. After all, when it comes to energy, the biggest challenge in the Balkans is the building stock - and at the same time it offers the greatest potential. If it is possible to use this potential, then energy efficiency could really become the 'most important energy source' there, in the sense of the IEA conclusion.