Introduction

Julije Domac

Dear colleagues and friends!

Would you like to hear latest information and learn more about Nearly Zero Energy Buildings? Would you like to get connected with the experts in the field of energy efficiency in buildings and renewable energy systems? You have to the right place - the first regional conference covering all the main topics regarding Nearly Zero Energy Buildings.

Nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) principle is based on the integration of high energy efficiency level and renewable energy systems causing the remaining energy needs of the building seem negligible (almost zero). The need for a great step forward in the way of (re)construction in order to meet the European Commission Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/31/EU EPBD) motivated the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) program launched by the European Commission to support projects with these topics, such as SUSTAINCO (Sustainable Energy for Rural Communities) project.

SUSTAINCO project main goal is to raise awareness on nZEB standard in construction and reconstruction projects focusing on the public buildings in rural areas. The SUSTAINCO project addresses the fact that publicly owned or occupied buildings represent about 12% by area of the EU building stock. Therefore, a stronger emphasis on the energy efficiency in public sector is crucial, covering public purchasing, the refurbishment of public buildings and the encouragement of high performance buildings in cities and communities. The public sector can create new markets for energy efficient technologies, services and business models. The SUSTAINCO project aim is to encourage public bodies to take the lead in bringing their buildings up to high energy performance levels. During the project activities, both new build and renovation approach is considered, with the aim of capacity and confidence building in the public sector. The members of consortium are European energy agencies and other organizations with North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency as project coordinator.

The SUSTAINCO project recognises that energy efficient building solutions are often technically demanding. Today in the EU, there is a lack of appropriate training for architects, engineers, auditors, craftsmen, technicians and installers, notably for those involved in refurbishment. Today, about 1.1 million qualified building professionalsare available, while it is estimated that by 2015, an additional 1.4 million qualified building professionals will be required.

Whereas the nZEB standards implementation and construction process itself demands strong cooperation between all the actors in construction, better communication among all the stakeholders in communities included in the project is inevitable. An additional necessity is improved communication between the energy agencies and national institutions included in the project together with the authorities on regional and local level. This regional conference, organized by North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency in co-operation with the Ministry of construction and physical planning is one great step forward in introducing nZEB standard to the South-East Europe region and beyond. Only joint efforts could make this ambitious plan achievable, progressing towards sustainable society.

We look forward to welcoming you to Dubrovnik this May for this premiere and associating event.

 

SUSTAINCO project team - Julije Domac, Milka Hrbud and Ivan Pržulj