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Efficiency NOW

Quicklinks to measures: Building Envelope and Building Service. Having problems finding a skilled worker? Or are products “sold out”? That's no reason to do nothing; you can simply begin work on something else. In many cases, our tips for structural as well as technical measures can be followed on a do-it-yourself basis. Some 'problems' do not exist at all: it is not necessary to begin with a specific measure - the effects of the results will usually be cumulative. What matters is that if something is worth doing at all, then it's worth doing it well! Further measures that will be implemented later on must also be kept in mind: e.g. the subsequent renewal of windows. Everything should be done in such a way that later measures are facilitated and good connection details are possible.

New: our online calculator for economic efficiency of the described measures: interior insulation calculator (will publish soon) .

We stand together

Less natural gas and climate protection - does it work together? We think: Yes, here is the thought: Natural gas and climate protection and Video (German).

The current crisis highlights the urgency to end our dependency on fossil fuels. The Passive House Institute has set up a special section on Passipedia as a call to action. It provides information about measures that can help anyone reduce their gas and oil consumption. “Efficiency NOW!” describes easily implementable efficiency measures, which are crucial for achieving meaningful energy savings! The section also covers sufficiency measures and more. Watch this space as it grows!

Due to war and economic conflicts, there is currently a lot of pressure concerning maintaining an affordable, fair and environmentally friendly energy supply in the coming years. For over 25 years, the Passive House Institute has been developing solutions to avoid and mitigate energy crises. The Passive House concept itself is one such way of improving energy independence 1). Perhaps more importantly, the Institute has worked with manufacturers to certify components developed for this purpose. These components are already available for use in new builds and retrofits of existing buildings. The Passive House Institute has also developed the EnerPHit concept for retrofitting existing buildings to a high level of energy efficiency. It can be applied as a deep retrofit or step-by-step.

When rapid implementation is required, other approaches are worth considering. We will present these immediate responses to the energy crisis on these “Efficiency Now!” pages 2). This information is divided into the following sections:

In widely available informational materials, the effectiveness of all these measures is often significantly underestimated 3). Particularly in combination, these measures can save considerable amounts of heating energy - and thus help compensate for the fuel supply deficit.

The engineers and architects of the Passive House Institute have been working on the development, quality assurance and monitoring of new builds and retrofits for many years. Armed with this knowledge, they have a treasure-trove of expertise, methods and tools, which they happily share under the “Efficiency Now!” banner for public use.

Energy efficiency measures for buildings have a significant advantage: they can be designed and implemented comparatively quickly. When done correctly, these measures provide long-term energy and financial savings, improve the building structure and its durability, help facilitate the transition to renewable energy and provide improved comfort (even in a crisis). These measures contribute to climate protection and a sustainable future by unlocking the potential for an all-renewable energy supply for everyone significantly faster than without energy efficiency measures.

Our heating energy demand is still high because our politicians, economists, and society have always assumed that energy will be and remain cheap. The energy efficiency of new buildings and deep retrofits of the existing building had lagged far behind today's economically viable targets. To change that now in the short term is more painful than it would have been if the EU's EBPD (nearly zero energy building) as specified for 2020 had been consistently implemented. However, as our concrete suggestions show, it's still possible.

Why it makes sense to save energy right now

In Europe, gas is stored in large storage facilities; in March 2022, these were filled to just 25 % - when completely full, they can meet around half of the winter demand 4). These gas storage facilities are thus actually seasonal storage tanks 5), the largest such storage tanks that we have at an affordable cost today. Literally, every kWh of gas that is NOT consumed today will be available in the coming winter in the case of more difficult times.

Of course, measures that are also sustainable in the medium and long term are particularly useful - such as better insulation of the hot water tank, an energy-efficient refrigerator, or a PV system for the balcony. In fact, over the years they will provide benefits for the implementation of the energy transition because they will facilitate the switch to renewable energy sources. In this way, saving now using measures that improve the quality of buildings and technical systems will benefit twofold. However, even efficiency measures which at present do not entail foregoing a lot 6) are far less painful than if shutdowns do actually take place in the main winter period - consuming slightly less on a permanent basis is considerably easier

Put differently, why our demand for heating energy is still so high today is largely due to the fact that for decades, our policies, economics, and society had assumed that extremely cheap energy will always be available, and the fact that the efficiency of new constructions as well as of existing building modernizations has lagged far behind the economically viable goals. Changing this now in the short term is much more painful than would have been the case if EU requirements had been consistently applied7)). Despite this, it is still possible - as our practical suggestions show.

Unused potentials

In the article linked here, we have analyzed retrospectively how big the effect of the measures suggested here can be in practice: Analysis: Unused potentials (German only). Indeed, there was a time when we used to pursue these possibilities more seriously than we do today8). These improvements have been stagnating since around 2010; there were many reasons for this, the most important was the fact that on account of the “revival” of new construction activity, the construction industry no longer made efforts to improve the existing building stock. The illusion of cheap and sustainable natural gas also played a big role in this - a great many people believed this. Added to this was the delusion that we “already run almost everything using renewable energy”9). Actually, only those measures which genuinely lead to a reduction in the consumption of fossil energy will help. Those are investing in renewable energy and the reduction of the still extremely high energy losses in the current system; the vast majority of these losses occur at the end of the supply chain - when an incandescent bulb heats away 60 watts instead of the just 3.5 watts that are needed today, or the equivalent of 350 liters of heating oil vanishes through the top floor ceiling that is still inadequately insulated. We can change that - and that's what these pages are for: to explain how we can approach this with a good chance of success and not at over-inflated prices either: structural measures and measures relating to building services systems.

Passive House is not merely a “lifestyle choice”, as some would like to label it: you can download the publication "Passive House social housing for rental (German only)" free of charge.
And we are happy to welcome all those who wish to contribute. Follow the latest notifications e.g. on Twitter @IGPassivhaus @the_iPHA
This is also due to the fact that it is not entirely transparent what our energy consumption is actually caused by - it's not the boiler; instead it's the heat loss of the building, which is why heat is requested from the heating boiler in the first place. Energy consumption values are analysed here in this connection (German only)
“ Notification of reservoir level ” on 5.6.2022: now 50%; on 27.6.20222: about 60%; on 13.7.2022 around 65%; on 31.7. filled to about 69%; on 13.8. about 75%; on 25.8. almost 199 TWh, that's more than 81%
Seasonal storage
Like for example, putting on an extra sweater and turning down the heating a little bit or even shortening shower durations
EBPD 'European Building Performance Directive': the “nearly zero energy building” {NZEB: nearly zero energy building} was actually specified for 2020(!
not really serious enough even at that time, but still…
Stickers with “climate neutral” were used even if this was largely faked, through compensation payments e.g. for preservation of rainforests, which Bolsonaro still allows to be chopped down in the end; a modern form of absolution payments.
efficiency_now.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/24 11:42 by mmursi