Energy efficiency and energy efficient house. What does it mean? Do we understand correctly this often used terminology? Do we understand, what kind of advantages we own thanks to it individually and for a country in all? Are we ready to spend our time, work and resources to save in the future? We will try to find out an explanation about what is the energy efficiency and what is good of it for us, the public and an environment in all for all the world.
An energy efficient house in Latvia goes hand in hand with the European Union’s directive on the energy efficiency of buildings. If we are talking about the private house and residential house energy efficiency, how to improve it, then often is mentioned insulating of the building and changing of windows. Building new houses or buying new housings more and more important becomes energy efficiency ratio. It is, of course, very significant, but the process consists of another significant thing: energy (both heating and electricity) optimal and useful using. It is suitable for every energy user, and it could be every user’s responsibility by using it optimally. Effective energy efficiency consumption aim is to reduce energy when producing, ventilation and condensation energy or electricity produced by existing installations in the building.
Energy efficiency is the ratio of the amount of energy saved and the amount of energy consumed (or predicted).
Respectively, promotion of the energy efficiency in the building means a set of measures, which lets to reduce heating and energy efficiency consumption in the building. One of the most significant measures in promoting existing energy efficiency in the buildings is renovating or an overhaul by realizing technical and functional improvements in a building.
Of course, there is a question – why should we save energy?
It is not a secret, that the most energetic part, which is consumption, is about 86%, and it is obtained from the resources, which are non-renewable. In a century, where it is significant to do everything to would not create unnecessary pollution, you have to understand, despite the fact that energy has been improved a level of living of a human, it is in a limited amount. By increasing the world’s energy consumption, decreases available cheap energy resources. Energy uneffective using do not protect from sharply increasing prices. More economically and more profitable could be eliminated energy wasting by trying to save ecological balance. According to the Commission of the European Union, the production of additional kilowatt hours of electricity will cost 50% – 400% more than its energy savings.
It is proposed, that it is enough oil only for 40 years, gas – 60 years, uranium – 14 years and coal for 125 years. So, energy generated over 300 million years can be spent over several generations. To get the last resources, it is necessary to have more energy as they are worth. Even reducing present energy consumption, the prognosis does not show a significant improvement. That’s why this question is important – – that every effective energy use process that anyone can do in their home is also important, thus contributing to overall energy efficiency improvement.
For some time now, the European Union has been pursuing energy efficiency measures in three directions that each country must apply according to its priorities:
• First, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
• Second, by 20% increasing the use of renewable resources in energy production,
• third, by 20% improving energy efficiency compared to 1990.
For more information, see the EU Long-Term Climate Strategy.
Energy efficiency in buildings is a significant direction. If it is estimated, that for the building heating is spent about 40-60% from the in Europe produced energy, then, heating a building it is possible to reduce it on half. This means a survey of 160 million homes by 2020. Measures, which are done for heating the house, include changing of doors and windows, building insulation, cellar insulation, ceiling insulation. As far as it is a wide range of work and asks to invest money, it is not a wonder, that most of the people choose to pay more for the energy efficiency. But you have to remember, that this investment is for further time and it repays.
Energy efficiency of the buildings in Latvia
The energy efficiency requirements of buildings in Latvia are derived from the EU directive on the energy performance of buildings. The most important factors to follow are:
- Reasonable energy consumption: air conditioning, heating, hot water, ventilation, lighting equipment, etc.
- Buildings that are being built, sold or rented should be issued an energy performance certificate for the building, with recommendations for investments that improve the energy efficiency of the building.
- Regular inspection of boilers, ventilation systems.
The aim of the directive is to stimulate improvement of the energy efficiency of the building thanks to different technological techniques, with country regulation.
Loss of the heating of the building creates factors the material and condition of the enclosing structures, the habitual use of the premises, the geographic location of the building and the environment. It is observed, that a classic mansion heating energy, which is spent through the year, disperse into the environment as a percentage as follows:
- through the windows and doors – 25%
- through the walls – 18%
- with a ventilation – 18%
- with a hot water – 17%
- loss of a heating system, floor, foundations – 17%
- through the roof and basement – 5%
The Latvian Ministry of Economics has elaborated a long-term strategy for the renovation of buildings, in order to complete EU subsidies for the renovation of buildings, resources for improving the energy efficiency of houses would be available:
• There are 1.34 million dwellings in Latvia, 361.8 thousand of which are dwelling houses.
• The largest share in housing – 59.3%, if calculated in square meters – is made up of apartment buildings, although their number reaches only 53.3 thousand.
• The overall financial needs for energy efficiency across the country are measurable in several billion euros.
• Establishing stable and safe investment instruments, such as securities issues, could ensure the attraction of international financial institutions and the Latvian pension fund.
• The EBRD is proposing to set up a target company for the energy service provider, borrowing long-term financial resources from credit institutions and re-crediting ESCO loans.
Loss of the heating restricting materials and resolutions in the buildings
The most meaningful heating loss resources are the loss of the insulation, non-qualitative windows or doors presence and poor ventilation system.
As the most significant material and resolution for wooden houses are insulating material from natural materials. Why natural? Because artificially made are only conditionally reproduced and in producing of them is used a lot of energy. That’s why, taking care of the environment, house livers’ health and average energy consumption – the most suitable will be insulation materials from natural materials. It could be – sheep wool, linen, eco wool, and others. The advantage of using natural materials is the creation of a pleasant atmosphere, reduction of health risks and saving of resources. In addition, they are available in a wide variety of ways, such as pegs, mats, plates, felt, plates, granules or bulk.
In the result of the modern technologies and innovations windows became as such energy efficient unit as a thick wall. Buying windows, it is important to pay an attention to the thermal conductivity coefficient U (W/m2*K), which shows, how much heat through the unit losses. The less is the size of the coefficient, the better is thermal conductivity. In comparison, if simply glazed windows in the old buildings of U is 5,5 to 5,8, triple glazing in energy efficient houses offers even a thermal insulation of 0.5 W/m2*K.
And, of course, ventilation, which is necessary for fresh air in an airtight building, inadequate use or obsolete equipment will be a major consumer of energy. 85% of the ventilation heat loss is possible to use again for the heating by installing ventilation equipment a recuperation system and providing a saving of the energy.
Immediate change of habits
One of the most immediate effect transmitters is hot water economy and dimensity temperature regulation. It don’t asks financial investments and is available for each building. Roominess.
Reduntdantly don’t using hot water, when cleaning yourself, washing linen or washing dishes. Regulating hot water temperature by as possible lower, but not lower than 45 grades, when harmful microorganismes can appear.
By optimizing the temperature in each room and adjusting either the thermostat valves of the radiators or by programming the temperature required in the heating system, a significant amount of energy can be saved. Optimum temperature in premises after use of premises:
- Bathroom +23°C
- Children room +21 – +25°C
- Living room +21 – +25°C
- Bedroom +18 – +22°C
- Kitchen +18°C
- Hall – +16°C
- Storey +12°C
- Garage +8°C
At the moments, when in the buildings nobody is living, it is possible to place heating boilers 2-3 grades lower, but not lower than 3 grades throughout round the clock for not having a situation that for heating to a normal temperature you have to spend more energy than you saved. Also, elementary habit is, going out of the dimensity to switch off the light, it will not redundantly spend an energy efficiency. And it will be a step closer to an energy efficient thinking without paying extra.
A huge percent from the energy is used unnecessarily. It can be mentioned a simple question – leaving the electrical appliances in standby mode. The question is – is it necessary in all the situations? Every year, in the ES, equipment left in the standby mode employs around 9 TWh of electricity. It is about 2 TWh of electricity more than the total annual electricity consumption of Latvia. In comparison, if all the equipment could be switched off, not left in standby mode, Latvia could don’t produce electricity for more than one year round.
25% from the ES energy consumes householding, therefore the most of energy efficiency is electricity using household appliances. That’s why a sign is a question, what energy efficiency class equipment to use, taking care at the same time about more useful energy efficiency consuming. To ease the orientation in a wide range of offerings, an appropriate energy efficiency label is created. In the system of seven letters from A to G a consumer can choose an appropriate offer. Paradoxically, as the equipment manufacturers’ technological solutions for energy efficiency, innovation, one of the groups stands out with the widest offerings – A, A+, A++, A+++, indicating belonging to the highest energy efficiency group, and also the efficiency gradation within their group.
How to help to build a house energy efficiency
Improving o fan energy efficient building is a long-lasting actual problem in all the Latvia. It is a question both about Latvian energy efficient independency and effective and nature-friendly usage of resources, and most of householding social protection. Nowadays approx. 60% of residential houses consumed energy efficiency is a natural gas, which we import from Russia. Energy efficiency ratio in a sector of the residential building is very poor because most of the buildings are built in a period 1945-1990 year. Householding in Latvia consumes twice more energy (and, most of the incomes) than average in the ES. It creates extra burden both for economics and householding.
Despite that Baltic countries after getting an independence were in similar situations, in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are used different protection mechanisms for improving the energy efficiency of the building. So, achieved results are different. Nowadays in Latvia happens an active work with protective mechanisms, with which next years to provide building heating.
Promotion of energy efficiency in living houses
Renovating of the building, which includes also heating, in Latvia it is nothing new. In a first planning period from 2009 to the 2013 year from the Europe funds and the government budget finances this for carrying out an event more than 85 million euro was spent, the use of which was administered by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIDA). The population could qualify for a co-financing of 50% of the total cost of renovation of the house. As a result, apartment owners managed to do all the work at half price. The campaigns of the warm-up process at the beginning looked at the offerings with suspicion and did not hesitate to support. However, the more projects implemented in Latvia appeared, as the society became more open to the possibility offered by the Ministry of Economics and LIDA. In 2014, at the end of European funds, in Latvia, 3% of the whole housing stock or 800 residential houses were completely renovated.
Such a result should be regarded as very courteous, but it should not be forgotten that, according to specialists’ estimates, at least 250,000 apartment buildings are being renovated in Latvia. At the end of the first programming period, it was quite clear that the program had to be continued, the conditions were successfully shaken so that sufficient funds were allocated in the European Union, and in 2016 the Cabinet approved a new stage of insulation of multi-apartment buildings by issuing Regulations No. 160 “Growth and Jobs” Operational Program 4.2.1. Implementing rules for the specific support objective “To promote energy efficiency in public and residential buildings”. In order to renovate all houses that have long been in order, in order to renovate in Latvia, a minimum of € 5.4 billion would be needed. This is a very large quantity.
Energy Efficiency as a Future Business
Modern technology and the solutions offered by it, which include both innovative and environmentally friendly products and services, are becoming increasingly important in the field of energy. The challenge of the future of energy is to create and consume these solutions in a sustainable and smart way.
Edgars Strods, Director of Product Development Division of Latvenergo, highlights the Smart Home concept and the Smart House solution developed by Elektrum. Strouds emphasizes that consumers from the smart home are most likely to expect safety, energy efficiency, and control. In the autumn of 2017 a Smart House “Elektrum” was launched in a pilot project. The project was focused on the fact that the product consists of three main components – a temperature sensor, a radiator regulator and a smart rosette, which can be used to control various electrical devices with the help of mobile applications.
The European Parliament’s directive stipulates that houses in Latvia that will be built after 2021 should be home to almost zero energy. Passing house expert Andis Krauklis told Passive House Factory about these homes and their benefits. “One of the key parameters for almost zero energy houses is the energy efficiency indicator for heating, a ventilation system with a 75% recovery of heat, at least partially provided with the use of renewable energy and other components.”
Such houses are not much different from passive buildings. The main difference lies in the thermal insulation factor, which includes an energy efficiency indicator for heating less passive buildings. A. Krauklis adds that the number of passive buildings in the world is estimated at around 50,000, but in Latvia, the number does not exceed five buildings.
The recently opened Bloomberg European office in London was declared the most sustainable building in the world. The design of Foster + Partners has been ranked with the highest ever REAM 98.5 ballroom in its classroom. Compared to typical office buildings, the latest Bloomberg pride, thanks to the use of innovative energy, lighting, water and ventilation systems, consumes 73% less water and 35% less water. % less electricity. Many such sustainable features, such as waste management, response to the external environment and adaptation to the existing number of people, are the first design solutions of this kind, which undoubtedly helped to get such a high profile. Located in the heart of London City, between the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral, the new European office is the first designed and fully managed Bloomberg building in the world, which will bring 4,000 Bloomberg employees for the first time underneath one roof.
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