The European project PassREg

PassREg - for : Passive House Regions with Renewable Energies is a project supported by Intelligent Energy Europe. pmp collaborates actively to this important european project, with 13 other partners from 10 different countries.

PassREg aims to trigger the successful implementation of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) throughout the EU, using Passive House supplied as much as possible by renewable energies as the foundation.

PassREg background
Several European municipalities/regions are already committed to energy efficient Passive House principles (dictating maximum heating and cooling demands of 15 kWh/(m²a) each in new builds) and to covering the very low remaining energy demand in these buildings, to a significant extent and where logical, by energy from renewable energy sources. Along with other best practice examples, the experiences from these front runner regions, or PassREgs, will help pave the way for other EU regions to achieve the targets set out in the EU’s Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) by 2020.

PassREg methodology
This project is thus based on European regions/municipalities that either are already PassREg regions (front runners) or are striving to become such regions (aspiring regions). Through PassREg, the front runner regions that have already implemented successful, cost effective strategies will be optimized and made visible. Lessons learnt on supporting the implementation of PassREg concepts through both successful regional models and best practice examples will serve as a basis to be adapted and implemented in aspiring regions.

Brussels participation
On October 4th, 5th and 6th, 2012, Brussels Capital organized the second passive house International workshop within the frame of the European project PassREg. During 3 days, experts from the 14 participating countries were brought to understand the keys of such a development of passive housing in Brussels. At that occasion, PMP and PHP were representing Belgium.
What were the reasons that brought the Brussels government to adopt passive standard as its construction and rehabilitation standard from 2015 on ? An attitude that outstrip widely the objectives fixed by the European directive regarding energy efficiency of the building.
Our purpose was to have an impact on 2040-2050, said Gregoire Clerfayt, Brussels Environment. We thus have, starting in 2005, launched initiatives and experiences aiming to initiate the economic management of buildings. Since 2007, we assisted to an evolution of the building practices towards a “small passive standard”, the fast implementation of energy premiums served as a trigger”.
Those days allowed Brussels to confirm its role of exemplarity. 2015 is not far at all and the professionals and contracting authorities are ready to take up the challenge and to distribute their know-how. Despite all expectations, the Brussels dynamics that was highlighted during this meeting, brought up the Region in real model to be followed.

You said easy ?
The visit of 5 passive buildings of diverse vocations was used as an example for the visitors that came from all over Europe. It also allowed to strengthen the idea that build in a passive way is “easy”. Among those buildings, the project “Espoir” located in Fin street, a social apartment building realized on the initiative of the inhabitants themselves, all of foreign origin and deceived then by slumlords… “FBZ”, the head office of the Belgian federation of electricity, a strange building which, with its shape, far from being compact, was able to reach the passive level at a still interesting price, or “Bruyn Ouest”, a set of housing, in partially social destination, which will be rented or sold to very attractive prices. Other projects, in course of completion, as “M2E”, a building of offices with an aerodynamic shape that also includes a day-nursery, or” Elia”, an office building of 10.000 m2, that, in spite of some errors of implementation (nobody’s perfect) – quickly rectified - will reach the zero energy level. All those examples plunged the visitors at the heart of the passive skeleton which, as is it and with the climate which already reigns inside, is the promise of an extreme internal comfort to come.
To settle the meeting, the interventions of Grégoire Clerfayt, manager of Brussels Environment, and Ismael Daoud, adviser in sustainable building at the Environment Ministry in charge of the Housing, strengthened the image of a definitely forward-looking region, ready to support the countries that wish to build according to the passive standard.
As for the will shown by the building professionals who, just like certain developers and many architects, having tasted passive standard and not wishing to build differently anymore, it convinced the European guests of one thing : passive standard pass by training and competition. To do well, you have to try to do better. These few words could summarize the basis of passive building development in Brussels Capital Region.