New energy efficiency regulations for renovation work in Finland

eid2o-02Finland’s Ministry of the Environment issued new regulations on February 27th for improving the energy efficiency of buildings during renovation and alteration works. The regulations will come into effect on June 1, 2013 for buildings in public use and on September 1, 2013 for other buildings.

The regulations define the minimum requirements for energy efficiency concerning renovations that are subject to a license, a change in use or the renewal of technical systems. This includes extensive basic repairs, renovation of a building’s façade and the renewal of technical systems that usually require a building permit or a planning permit for minor construction.

The decision to start renovation work remains voluntary, according to the regulations. The property owner decides when and to what extent he or she will make the repairs, and what are the best methods for improving energy efficiency within the regulatory framework.

Three alternatives for improving energy efficiency

The first alternative is to improve the heat retaining capacity of the building parts that need repairing or renewing so they conform to the required standards.

The second alternative is to improve the energy efficiency of the building according to the level defined for that type of building. This means examining the building’s annual computable energy consumption relative to its surface area.

The third alternative is to calculate the building’s E-number (total energy consumption in the building) based on the solutions adopted when the building was first constructed, or according to the solutions from its latest change in use. The aim is to reduce the E-number according to the level defined for the type of building in question.

Technical systems have their own requirements. It is important to ensure that a building’s technical systems like heating and ventilation are functioning and their basic settings are always checked when insulation is added to the building or its air-tightness is improved or the systems are renewed. This is very important from the perspective of good indoor air and living comfort. The regulations make it possible to flexibly take into consideration different kinds of technical issues such as damp or mobile devices during the planning.

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