29 June 2020

Proposal for a holistic definition of Positive Energy Buildings

Forty percent of energy consumption and 36 percent of emissions come from buildings. But, this does not have to be the case: it is possible to not only build nearly-zero energy buildings, but even to transform them into positive energy buildings (PEBs).

A new report takes the first step towards proving PEBs' feasibility by proposing a holistic definition of PEBs that takes into account technical and social factors, environmental targets and aesthetics.

Following a collaborative research process, the consortium behind the report propose the following definition:

A positive energy building (PEB) is an energy efficient building that produces more energy than it uses via renewable sources. It has a high rate of consuming the energy it produces, and features high "energy flexibility" over a one year time span. The indoor environment must maintain the comfort and well-being of the building occupants. A PEB should also be able to accomodate future technologies (like electric vehicles), and should share any surplus renewable energy generated.

The report was produced by the EXCESS project. Their holistic definition is well poised to support the development of PEBs in the EU, in particular because it is in agreement with EU energy regulatory frameworks (i.e. the Clean Energy Package and the Energy Efficienty Directive). The EXCESS definition is especially well aligned with the EU requirements on citizen empowerment and user comfort.

As a next step, the EXCESS project will use this holistic definition to map out performance indicators that can support the implementation and effectiveness of PEBs.

For more information and to use this holistic definition on your own work, click here.