Putting a spotlight on the soar of low-energy buildings in Europe

Launch of the ZEBRA2020 project. BPIE is part of the consortium.

A sustainable European society and economy will be based on renewable energy and high resource efficiency. For the housing sector, this implies the large scale deployment of low-energy buildings (so called nearly Zero-Energy Buildings or nZEBs). Indeed, European legislation (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive) makes nZEBs a standard by 2020. The technology is already available and proven; however, the large-scale uptake of nZEB construction and renovation will be a big challenge for all market actors and stakeholders involved. To start with, there is a substantial gap in reliable data on current market activities. This makes it difficult for policy makers to evaluate the success of their policies and measures. Energy Performance Certificates were designed as a policy instrument stimulating demand, but does this idea really meet market realities?

Therefore the key objective of ZEBRA2020 is to create an observatory for nZEBs based on market studies and various data tools. The project partners will systematically leverage available data and knowledge from the European construction sector and academia (e.g. nZEB best-practice studies and scenarios until 2030). The information gathered will get structured and analysed to derive recommendations and strategies. ZEBRA2020 aims to assist policy makers at EU and Member State level, energy agencies and the various stakeholders in the European building industry to develop impactful strategies and frameworks to accelerate the nZEB market-uptake until 2020.

National and international policy and industry workshops will play a central role during the project to generate alignment around potential nZEB strategies that will need to get endorsed by all market actors to make change happen. Data and strategies will be made accessible via online tracking tools.

ZEBRA2020 covers seventeen European countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and about 89% of the European building stock and population. Thus, ZEBRA2020 is actively contributing to meeting the ambitious target of having a 100%-share of nZEBs for new buildings from 2020 and a substantial increase of deep renovations.


Financial support for ZEBRA2020 has been received from the European Union’s Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (Last Call in 2013).

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