New briefing on the role of the Primary Energy Factor

The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) has just published an important new briefing on how Primary Energy Factor (PEF) is used and how they should be used in determining the energy performance of buildings. As the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is going through the revision process, the BPIE argues it is important to focus on reducing demand first. Current proposals essentially would establish a built-in disincentive to improve building energy efficiency.


The role of the Primary Energy Factor (PEF) in determining the energy performance of buildings

BPIE proposes using delivered energy as the main building performance indicator to determine and set requirements for its energy performance.

BPIE argues that the current approach, using the Primary Energy Factors (PEFs), is detrimental to understanding the real energy performance of a building.

The PEF describes the efficiency of converting energy from primary sources (e.g. coal, crude oil) to a secondary energy carrier (e.g. electricity, natural gas) that provides energy services delivered to end-users. As Member States have flexibility in setting its value, it has become a political decision, with a direct negative impact on the actual energy consumption of a building.

According to BPIE, a good indicator should be in line with the mandate of the EPBD of first reducing energy demand and then covering the remaining needs. Using the calculated delivered energy rather than primary energy would put into practice the ‘Energy Efficiency First’ principle. Moreover, it would be consumer-friendly making energy performance more understandable and relevant as it would be closely related to running costs. In the end, delivered energy reaches the consumer’s door and is what he/she is paying for.

BPIE’s proposed solution will ensure that future requirements for new and renovated buildings will focus on the real energy performance of the building stock.

The policy brief is available here.

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