Comparison of the level of energy performance requirements for new buildings in central Europe

For the 11 countries Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Luxembourg and France a comparison of the level of energy performance requirements for new buildings was performed. To this end experts from each country determined the required insulation level for three exemplary buildings considering different heat supply systems.


In Germany the transposition of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was performed by an amendment of the German Energy Saving Ordinance (Energieeinsparverordnung EnEV) in the year 2007. During this process formal and methodological changes were applied whereas the requirements remained the same. In 2007 the German government announced to undertake a new revision which mainly will introduce a higher energy performance mandatory for new and refurbished buildings. In the discussion about tightening the requirements in Germany the question often arises which energy efficiency standards are applied in other European countries with comparable climatic conditions. The present study aims at giving some more transparency in this field.


The objective of the present comparison study is to show which energy efficiency requirements have to be complied in different European countries when a new building is going to be constructed. Eleven countries were considered: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Luxembourg and France. During the investigation three Model Buildings were defined: a single-family house, a multi-family house and a school building. For each involved country (or region) the energy quality of the thermal envelope was determined which is necessary in order to just comply with the building code. Due to requirements on the overall energy performance the requested envelope quality usually depends also on the type of heat supply system or energy carrier. Therefore the systems were varied in a parameter study. The main result for each of the three Model Buildings is a comparison table which shows the heat transfer coefficient by transmission (a sort of mean U-value) for the different countries differentiated by supply system types. In a final step the primary energy demand according to the German regulation (EnEV 2007) was calculated for every envelope/system combination of the different countries. This allows a comparison of buildings with different supply systems.


The results which are to be considered as exemplary show certain tendencies: Regarding the two residential buildings the German requirements (EnEV 2007) are settled on a more or less average level. The best energy performance is achieved by the regulations in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg. Especially the German requirements on the thermal transmittance of the envelope turned out to be comparably poor. This is the restricting limit in cases of supply systems with high efficiency or biomass. In case of the school building the German energy performance level is the poorest of all considered countries - for nearly all variants. The most ambitious requirements can be found in UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

The ZUB supported us with their energy-advice-software for EnEV 2009 and DIN V 18599
ZUB — Institut für Energieberater, DIN V 18599, Software und EnEV

>> Final report

>> Calculation sheets (MS Excel, Zip-format)