Heating and cooling efficiency

 
 

Heating and cooling take the lead in our total energy consumption, ahead of the transport, energy or any other sectors in the EU. As such they play a crucial role in the country’s transition toward greater energy efficiency and decarbonisation. This could be achieved by increasing the use of renewable energy, efficiency in supply, moderating demand and making sustainable heating and cooling techniques affordable for all.  

 
 
 
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Under these circumstances, the European Commission published the “Heating and Cooling Strategy” in 2016 , whose first step involves tackling the massive amounts of energy used to regulate temperatures in all building typologies.

One of the main goals of this strategy is to boost consumer power by upgrading the whole grid with better metering, prices and controlled energy use. In the meantime, owners, tenants, buildings managers and public authorities will see more information on the ways and the benefits of renovating and leaping into more renewable sources of energy.

Making our buildings more energy efficient has numerous advantages. Firstly, it saves heating and cooling costs without creating a thermal discomfort in our interiors. Next, updating our installations to meet current standards also improves their safety. Finally, an up to date building holds a much greater value on the market, since it follows European norms and regulations and can accommodate new generations for more years to come. 

 
 
 
Statistical information about heating and cooling / source:  EU Commission’s Directorate for Energy

Statistical information about heating and cooling / source: EU Commission’s Directorate for Energy

 
 
 

Big savings in energy can be made from simple modifications of our current structures, especially the buildings dating from the post-war period which were constructed with insufficient or low-quality thermal insulation. Secondly, the old heating systems suffer a significant heat loss, where around 20-30% of the energy is discarded into the atmosphere as hot smoke through the chimneys. Some systems are also based on air intake from the interior , causing additional heat and oxygen loss, as well as hazardous malfunctions.

By adding a continuous layer of insulation on the roofs of our attics, walls and foundations, we can create an enclosed thermal envelope that prevents the heat from escaping into the external environment. 

 
 
 
 
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Additionally, by installing more efficient heating systems, some of which work with a minimal heat loss of around 5%, we can drastically reduce the overall energy consumption of our structures. Such examples are heat pumps, solar, geothermal or condensation systems. In addition, there is several innovative highly efficient technologies that quickly approach market-readiness, such as stationary fuel cells that covert energy to electricity creating heat as a by-product.

However, decisions on replacing old appliances are typically made under pressure, when the heating system breaks down and the owners need an urgent solution. In these situations, without a direct access to all the needed information, facts about various installation systems and price comparisons, completing a successful renovation and an energy efficient upgrade is proving overly challenging. financial constraints or shared ownership complicate the process even more, resulting in many owners selecting older and less efficient technologies.

 
 
 
 
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Therefore, Redevelop Belgium works to fill this information gap and provide a simple insight into the process of refurbishing the installations of apartment buildings. In order to find out even more about the methods of internal system updates, follow our installations scenario, or some additional articles on this topic.

 
 
 
Noemi Chausidiswew, tpa, rvk, ork, ark