22.214.171.124 Education, training and energy audit programmes
Lack of awareness of energy-savings opportunities among practicing architects, engineers, interior designers and professionals in the building industry, including plumbers and electricians, is a major impediment to the construction of low-energy buildings. In part, this reflects inadequate training at universities and technical schools, where the curricula often mirror the fragmentation seen in the building design profession. There is a significant need in most countries to create comprehensive, integrated programmes at universities and other educational establishments to train the future building professional in the design and construction of low-energy buildings. The value of such programmes is significantly enhanced if they have an outreach component to upgrade the skills and knowledge of practicing professionals – for example, by assisting in the use of computer simulation tools as part of the integrated design process.
The education of end-users and raising their awareness about energy-efficiency opportunities is also important. Good explanation (e.g., user-friendly manuals) is often a condition for proper installation and functioning of energy-efficient buildings and components. Since optimal operation and regular maintenance are often as important as the technological efficiency in determining overall energy consumption of equipment, accessible information and awareness raising about these issues during and after purchase are necessary. This need for widespread education is beginning to be reflected in the curricula of some countries: Japan’s and Germany’s schools increasingly teach the importance of energy savings (ECCJ, 2006; Hamburger-bildungsserver, 2006). Better education is also relevant for professionals such as plumbers and electricians. Incentives for consumers are generally needed along with the information programs to have significant effect (Shipworth, 2000).
Energy audit programmes assist consumers in identifying opportunities for upgrading the energy efficiency of buildings. Occasionally with financial support from government or utility companies, these programmes may provide trained energy auditors to conduct on-site inspections of buildings, perform most of the calculations for the building owner and offer recommendations for energy-efficiency investments or operational measures, as well as other cost-saving actions (e.g., reducing peak electrical demand, fuel-switching). The implementation of the audit recommendations can be voluntary for the owner, or mandated-such as in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, which require that installations with energy consumption above a certain limit conduct an energy-efficiency audit and implement the low-cost measures (Ürge-Vorsatz et al., 2003). In India, all large commercial buildings have to conduct an energy audit at specified intervals of time (The Energy Conservation Act, 2001). The EU EPB Directive mandates audits and the display of the resulting certificate in an increasing number of situations (see Box 6.3).
Box 6.3: The European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings
One of the most advanced and comprehensive pieces of regulation targeted at the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings is the new European Union Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (European Commission, 2002). The Directive introduces four major actions. The first action is the establishment of ‘common methodology for calculating the integrated energy performance of buildings’, which may be differentiated at the regional level. The second action is to require member states to ‘apply the new methods to minimum energy performance standards’ for new buildings. The Directive also requires that a non-residential building, when it is renovated, be brought to the level of efficiency of new buildings. This latter requirement is a very important action due to the slow turnover and renovation cycle of buildings, and considering that major renovations to inefficient older buildings may occur several times before they are finally removed from the stock. This represents a pioneer effort in energy-efficiency policy; it is one of the few policies worldwide to target existing buildings. The third action is to set up ‘certification schemes for new and existing buildings’ (both residential and non-residential), and in the case of public buildings to require the public display of energy performance certificates. These certificates are intended to address the landlord/tenant barrier, by facilitating the transfer of information on the relative energy performance of buildings and apartments. Information from the certification process must be made available for new and existing commercial buildings and for dwellings when they are constructed, sold, or rented. The last action mandates Member States to establish ‘regular inspection and assessment of boilers and heating/cooling installations’.
The European Climate Change Programme (ECCP, 2001) estimated that CO2 emissions to be tapped by implementation of this directive by 2010 are 35–45 million tCO2-eq at costs below 20 EUR/tCO2-eq, which is 16–20% of the total cost-effective potential associated with buildings at these costs in 2010.