The European Union (EU) aims to a 20% reduction of the Europe's annual primary energy consumption by 2020. Furthermore, EU commits to reduce GHG emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050. One of the main issues of the EU energy strategy is the radical improvement of the energy performance of new as well as existing buildings.
Within this frame, the rate of renovations needs to be increased, as the existing building stock represents the largest potential sector for energy savings. For new buildings, the EPBD recast fixes 31 December 2020 as the deadline for all new buildings to be “nearly zero energy” (NZEB). Focusing our attention on the hospitality industry, which is responsible for 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, NZEB applications could add important advantages:
- Energy consumption is usually higher in hotels than in residential buildings, so there is a larger margin for energy saving measures;
- Hotel guests can experience the comfort of living in NZEB, learning how relevant architectural and technical solutions can also be replicated at home;
- The competitive advantages gained by the initiators will push other hotels to imitate.
Currently the NZEB market is limited. Significant efforts are required to promote the concept to the stakeholders, to link the demand and supply side and to challenge further replication.
This paper presents the methodology, activities and outcomes of the EU initiative NEZEH (Nearly Energy Zero Hotels) including examples of NZEH and the legal and institutional framework status in various EU countries in order to tackle the main market barriers that prevent SME hotels from investing in major refurbishment projects towards nearly zero-energy consumption levels.
In long-term, the NEZEH initiative will support the hospitality sector to reduce operational costs and to improve its image and services, so as to enhance their competiveness and sustainability contributing in parallel to the EU fight against the climate change and energy uncertainty.