Buildings (MDPI AG)

“HEROES OF ZERO – implementing the lessons learned from pilot programs towards achieving low-energy or no-waste in buildings, communities, and cities”

Net Zero means consuming only as much energy as produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills [EPA, 2017]. Nearly zero-energy buildings have very high energy performance. The low amount of energy that these buildings require comes mostly from renewable sources. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by the end of 2020. All new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by 2018 [EC, 2014]. Sustainability of the European society and economy will be based on renewable energy and resource efficiency. For the building sector, this implies the large scale deployment of nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEBs). The technology is available and proven; however the large scale uptake of nZEB construction and renovation is still a challenge for all market actors and stakeholders involved. A substantial gap in reliable data on current market activities made it difficult for policy-makers to evaluate the success of their policies [ZEBRA2020 project].

Financial barriers are considered by the stakeholders as the main barrier for nZEB renovations.This fact is worsened by the lack of willingness and political decision and the shortage of public funds.The promulgation of ambitious energy plan, and accompanied by a suitable tax policy, is seen necessary to boost energetic renovation. The lack of knowledge about the retrofitting technologies (especially the innovative ones) and the unclear energetic policies has been identified, from the technical point of view as the main barrier. Moreover, this lack of knowledge is supported by the absence of credible data related to savings, maintenance costs or complexity of the installation [CERtus project]. Specific topical keywords of particular interest for this special issue include but are not limited to:

  • Nearly/net zero-energy buildings (interventions…);
  • Net-zero waste and net-zero water use in buildings;
  • Passive & autonomous buildings (strategies, tech);
  • Positive energy (blocks of) buildings & communities;
  • Self-consumption & off/zero-grid locations & cases;
  • Workforce upskilling & legislation towards net-zero;
  • Initiatives towards 100% renewable energy sources;
  • Cost-benefit analyses & net-zero funding schemes;
  • Impact of net-zero in building stock & climate, etc.

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