In a price driven economy old buildings tend to get older, while most of the new ones are obsolete from the design already. However, as the technology gets cheaper every year and knowledge infuses everything-everywhere, the future is always closer than it seems. Education pays off, when the building users take into consideration their safety and long-time comfort, and it even scales down the bill for buying, building and/or maintenance. Besides, for the professionals in the constructions industry, education allows the well-informed to occupy the best positions to grow, and sometimes, it even makes the difference between success and failure.
The second edition of the year in the Energy Breakfast Club series – “Old Buildings I New Buildings: The Smart Approach”, brought together at Cesianu Racovita Palace in Bucharest three speakers and over 50 people in the audience.
The first presentation came from Constantin Ichimoaei, Executive Manager with ABB Romania.
ABB Romania is ready for Creating Smarter Future
Talking about the future of buildings, he mentioned the four megatrends shaping this future: urbanization, digitalization, integration of flexible supply (solar market) and integration of flexible demand (electric vehicles). Constantin Ichimoaei presented the current possibilities to increase not only comfort and security, but also energy efficiency, as they are integrated in the ABB Ability software platform. “With Free@Home from ABB anyone using a computer can set up the whole house in a couple of hours and then have full control on any tablet, desktop or smartphone,” the ABB official said.
The future will mean electric cars, battery storage, and own electricity production for each building. Intelligent energy management for each building will become mandatory for integrating renewable generation and optimized consumption in the homes of the future, Constantin Ichimoaei said: “Investors who want to increase the value of the building are analyzing such solutions and the interest is growing in the last few years,” he said.
Mentioning recent events in Bucharest, Constantin Ichimoaei complemented his presentation with some remarks on fire accidents in Europe and a solution for preventing them. “2.000.000 fires are reported in Europe each year and 90% of fire happen in buildings where we spend 90% of our time, on average”, said Constantin Ichimoaei, adding that “4.000 people are killed by fire in Europe every year, and Romania gives its toll on these casualties”. Studies show that 32% of fires in Germany in 2015 had their origin in electricity and could be traced back to defects in the electrical installation due to damage wires, loose connections and/or defect devices. In reaction, Germany was the first country in Europe to prescribe installation of AFDD equipment for protection against arc faults as mandatory, starting from 18th December 2017. “The IEC 60364 global wiring regulation at the moment prescribes the AFDD only as recommended, but it is only a question of time before it will became mandatory in other European countries, Romania included”, predicted Constantin Ichimoaei. “We have to promote protection, even before we talk about smart buildings, the Internet of things and the future”, he insisted.
nZEB and SRI – regulations to impact us soon
Cătălin Lungu, vice-president of AIIR and vice-president of REHVA, presented data on European targets related to the triple challenge: climate-energy security-limited natural resources. “Available data indicate that EU will reach its targets on final energy consumption for 2020. However, in case of Romania, at least, we expect a significant increase in the new built segment, and this might lead to increased energy consumption and increased emissions of CO2 in buildings”, noted Lungu. “Even if new buildings are far more efficient than existing ones, we need to take energy renovation measures for old buildings so that on average to reduce consumption,” he said.
“The buildings that will be used in 2050 already exist today or they are designed and built today”, Cătălin Lungu continued. “Starting January 1, 2019, all public buildings can be rehabilitated only by observing the nZEB (near zero energy building) concepts, and all new public buildings can be built only according to the same criteria”, said Lungu. From 1 January 2020, the same obligations will apply for all new buildings.
The Mc001 methodology, which is the norm for determining the energy performance of a building, is undergoing changes. Revisions could include an increase from 10% to 30% in the minimum percentage of consumption to be covered from renewable sources, Cătălin Lungu announced. He said the normative will admit the acquisition of renewable energy in order to cover the minimum required by the normative.
Cătălin Lungu also mentioned the Smart Readiness Indicator – SRI. Introduced by EU Directive 844/2018, the non-binding indicator is described as follows: “smartness of a building refers to the ability of a building or its systems to sense, interpret, communicate and actively respond in an efficient manner to changing conditions in relation the operation of technical building systems or the external environment (including energy grids) and to demands from building occupants.” “This is in fact a multi-criteria approach to the smartness of a building, and by the end of the year we will have the European Commission’s methodology for calculating this indicator”, all in order to boost demand and develop the market for smart and energy-efficient buildings.
#better: Prevention only works when taught and exercised
Architect Florin Enache, the president of the #better Association has launched a plea for educating the relatively low-cost end-user buildings, as the only way to empower this most important market segment. “In general, society is influenced by cheap or very cheap products and services, and people with limited resources will put no priority in investing in education and information. It is therefore necessary to get on board experts and large companies to support such education efforts”, explained Florin Enache.
The architects from #better team aim to work with people with limited financial resources for training them in the optimal use of available money. “While others focus on how to make money, we try to popularize useful ideas about how to spend money.”
“Crowded urban” means increased risks, stressed Florin Enache, who referred, among other things, to buildings under seismic risk. “The red bullet, marking the buildings with high seismic risk, only inventories more than 300 buildings, while in reality only in Bucharest there are over 4,000.” In addition, Florin Enache warned that blocks identified more than 20 years ago as under a significant seismic risk should have been refurbished within a time frame of 5 years. “As they have not been rehabilitated, these buildings are in danger of falling even without an earthquake,” said Florin Enache.
Buildings with no quality check, as they are made today, do not only come with risks in case of quake or fire, but also with a social risk of favelization. “All these small, crowded, with no parks, no green areas, no access to public spaces, schools and kindergartens – they seems at first to be a bargain (because of the lower purchase price), but they bring enormous psychological and social costs in the medium and long term”, Florin Enache warned. Most constructions in Romania are made under the build-sell-run principle (with no warranties, no technical documents, etc.). So the building user must understand the importance of the total cost owning the building because “for 20 years, the operating cost is higher than the acquisition price”.
Energy Breakfast Club was organized by energynomics.ro amd supported by our partners: ABB România, EnergoBit, Eximprod, Stratum Enclosures.
Around 60 representatives from ABB România, Agenția Nucleară, AIIR Filiala Valahia, APMCR, Belvedere, Bioterpana, BRISK Group, Business France, E.T.T.I. U.P.B, Ecohornet, EFdeN, INCDE-ICEMENERG, Investisia Group, Leaderteam, Man and Machine, Netop, Primăria Capitalei, Pro-nZEB, Republic Of Architects, Uniunea Națională a Barourilor din România, Universul Ingineresc, USAMV, WWF attended the presentations and participated in discussions.
This year, energynomics.ro will organize a least 6 Energy Breakfast Club meetings. The schedule and the proposed themes for 2019 are available in the Energy Breakfast Club dedicated page.