01 September 2012

Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings in the Nordic Countries

In less than ten years, all new buildings in EU shall be ´nearly zero-energy buildings´. What that means is
to be defined by each member state based its unique prerequisites. The term ´nearly zero-energy buildings´ is
also somewhat confusing, as the actual use of energy can only be minimised but never reduced to zero level or
even to near-zero level. In addition, as member states will not be required to set minimum energy performance
requirements that are not cost-effective over the estimated economic life cycle of the building, the actual energy
use may be far from zero. Even though the Nordic countries have similar climatic conditions, they seem to define
´nearly zero-energy buildings´ in quite different ways, as a result of historically different building regulations
and different national energy supply systems. Even during the coldest winter periods, heat pumps are a
viable way of supplying buildings with a significant amount of on-site produced renewable energy.