The PassREg project (www.passreg.eu) investigates the key factors which have lead to the successful implementation of Passive House and Renewable Energy concepts in three European pilot (or front runner) regions : Hanover (Germany), Brussels (Belgium) and Tyrol (Austria).
A comparative analysis was carried out to identify major trends and parameters and to communicate both achievements and failures on the road to success – the so called Success Models. Based on these findings, a Success Guide is being developed to encourage and assist other less experienced regions and municipalities to follow their example – thus becoming front runners themselves.
The comparative analysis of the front runner regions has produced an enormous wealth of good practices and solutions which, combined with the professional knowledge gleaned through the project and a pinch of imagination, have the potential to revolutionise construction practices all over Europe.
What about Brussels as “front runner” ?
In less than 7 years, the Brussels-Capital Region has transformed from “the worst student in Europe” to a laudable front-runner in matters of energy policy and energy efficient building. Currently, there are 860 new passive projects that are being built in Brussels, to add to more than 2,300 passive houses in the social housing sector. Evidence exists that that the additional costs for building passive is decreasing more and more. The Brussels government has made a conscious decision to be a role model in the process. Nonetheless, convincing the market to move in that direction has not been easy.
Behind Brussels’ success lays a pragmatic decision of Brussels authorities to be cautious in pushing for energy policies, and to use accompanying support measures. Thus, people who lived in passive houses become ambassadors of the passive standard. Most of them low-income residents, they debunk the myth that passive buildings are a luxury only reserved for the rich. Other key ingredients for success are long-term vision, good training, and guidance and support initiatives. Data collection has a crucial place in the process, as it provides tangible reference for future endeavors.