Ultra Low Energy Houses

The 160 million buildings in the European Union account for over 40% of Europe’s primary energy consumption. Hence energy use in buildings represents a major contributor to fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emission. 

According to the Kyoto protocol, Europe is committed to reducing emissions, but the energy consumption share of buildings is increasing. Following uncertainties in energy supply and concern over the risk of global warming, energy efficiency in the building sector is gaining importance. The European Commission Action Plan for Energy Efficiency identifies energy efficiency in the building sector as top priority (Commission of the European Communities, 2006) . One example of energy efficient buildings is the Ultra Low Energy House (ULEH). Ultra Low Energy Houses reduce the dependency on fossil fuel and the emission of carbon dioxide significantly.

This paper provides an overview of the issues regarding Ultra Low Energy Houses in Europe. It offers a definition for Ultra Low Energy Houses in chapter 2 and discusses the technologies that can be used in Ultra Low Energy Houses in chapter 3. The regulatory framework for energy efficiency in the European building sector is discussed in chapter 4. The path towards Ultra Low Energy Houses, the main trends, development and barriers and a discussion on how ULEH can become reality is given in chapter 5.


webmaster's picture

A reader from the passive house movement correctly commented that re-labelling passive houses into ultra-low energy houses does not make sense. The term ' passive house' has been strictly defined and a building can be measured and certified against this standard.

In the paper, ULEH is used as a synonym of passive house, and therefore it would be better to talk about passive house directly.

ULEH as a term makes some sense for homes between the levels 'low energy' (the current standard) and passive (the future standard). But unlike passive houses, we need to realise that both low and ultra-low energy houses are loosely defined as a concept.

By webmaster 20/01/2010
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