Planned changes in the energy performance of buildings

Planned changes in the energy performance of buildings

Soon, another step towards the development of green construction in Poland will be made. This will happen due to the new regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology, the draft of which provides, among others, for changes in the methods of determining the energy performance of buildings.  The growing importance of this issue is not only the result of changes in respective regulations, but also of rising energy prices and persistently high inflation.

In October 2022, the European Council developed new guidelines to align key segments of the construction industry with the requirements of the so-called “Green Deal”. The basic assumption of the new solutions is to achieve zero emissions by 2030 for all new buildings in the European Union. Existing buildings are to be adapted to the requirements of the green transition by 2050.

In connection with the above requirements, pre-consultations of the draft regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology on the methodology for determining the energy performance of buildings were launched. It introduces significant changes for the construction industry in Poland. It should be expected that the discussed regulations are only the beginning of comprehensive changes in the regulations aimed at ensuring the so-called zero emission of buildings in the next years.

Class breakdown and annual CO2 emissions

The draft regulation is to define a new, comprehensive methodology for determining the energy performance of buildings. This is to be achieved, among others, by the division into energy classes – from A+ (the best, characterized by zero carbon dioxide emissions produced from fossil fuels) to G (the lowest), as well as the obligation to indicate the total annual carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the building’s energy demand. These classes are to replace the solution used so far, i.e. the so-called slider, which is a visual presentation of the energy performance of a building or part of a building.

The methodology of measurements and the manner of preparing energy performance will be quite complicated – they have been written out on several dozen pages of the new regulation. Such a detailed approach to the issue – as explained by the Ministry of Development and Technology – is to meet the existing problems related to technical and computational aspects, among which the use of inadequate methods of calculating energy demand and the adoption of simplified indicator assumptions, have been mentioned. The draft regulation also provides for the introduction of a new model for the energy performance certificate of a building.

The energy performance of a building is no longer an abstract formal requirement, but it becomes an extremely important factor for every owner and user of a building or premises, which is directly related to the costs of maintenance and use of any property. The regulation currently under development can only accelerate changes in this area.

As a reminder, it is worth mentioning that the regulations governing the issuance of the so-called energy performance certificates for buildings have been in force since 2014. Such certificates are required both when renting a building or premises, as well as when selling it. The obligation to provide a certificate rests with the owner of the building or premises (or another person who has a limited right to real estate, e.g. a cooperative right to the premises). In the event that the certificate is not handed over at the conclusion of the contract, the buyer or lessee may request the owner to provide this document within 2 months from the date of delivery of the request. After its expiry, they are entitled to draw up a certificate at the expense of the former owner of the property.

According to the current regulations, the certificate is valid for 10 years from the date of its issuance – unless there have been changes in the scope of building installations, e.g. as a result of renovation works. In such cases, new energy performance should be developed after the work is completed.

The certificate should be drawn up in Polish and placed in a visible place in the premises or building. The minister responsible for construction shall keep a central register of energy performance certificates, as well as persons authorised to draw up such certificates and other information related to the energy performance of buildings.

No longer an abstract requirement

As current practice indicates, for new office, residential or commercial buildings an energy performance certificate are prepared, older facilities and premises usually  do not have them. In rental and sale transactions, the tenant and the buyer, as a rule, accept the fact that such a document has not been drawn up and do not demand the transfer of a certificate from the owner. This situation will have to change – for example due to the increase in energy prices as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the need to diversify energy sources and high inflation.

The energy performance of a building ceases to be an abstract formal requirement, and becomes an extremely important circumstance for every owner and user of a building or premises, which is directly related to the costs of maintaining and using each property. The draft regulation on the methodology for determining the energy performance of buildings may contribute to accelerating the change in the approach to this issue in the real estate industry. Pre-consultations of the project will last until February 28, 2023, and the regulation itself is to enter into force after 6 months from the date of its publication.