Achieving building energy performance requirements and evaluation methods for residential buildings in Sweden, Norway, and Finland
Abstract: Building energy performance has always been important in the cold climate of Sweden, Norway and Finland. To meet the goal that all new buildings should be nearly zero-energy buildings by 2020, set in the EU directive 2010/31/EU  on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD recast), the building sector in Europe now faces a transition towards buildings with improved energy performance. In such a transition, a discussion is needed about the objective of the improvement – why, or to what end, the building energy performance should be improved. The objective of improving building energy performance is often a political decision, but scientific research can contribute with knowledge on how the objectives can be achieved.This thesis addresses how the indicators used in the requirements used to achieve building energy performance in Sweden, Norway, and Finland, and the methods used to evaluate these requirements, reflect building energy performance. It also addresses difficulties in achieving comparable and verifiable indicators in evaluations of building energy performance. The research objective has two parts: to review, compare, and discuss (i) requirements and (ii) evaluation methods used to achieve energy performance of residential buildings in Sweden, Norway and Finland. The work in this thesis includes reviews of the requirements used in national building codes and passive house criteria to achieve building energy performance, of methods used to evaluate compliance with such requirements, and of methods used specifically to evaluate the indicator Envelope Air Tightness. The results show that different sets of indicators are used to achieve building energy performance in the studied building codes and passive house criteria. The methods used to evaluate compliance with requirements used to achieve building energy performance are also different, but calculation methods are generally more often used than measurement methods. The calculation- and measurement methods used are often simple. A methodology to analyze the deviation between predictions- and measurements of building energy performance (the performance gap) was developed, to investigate the effects of different evaluation methods on different indicators used to achieve building energy performance. The methodology was tested in a case-study. This study indicated that the choice of method affects which parts of the performance gap reflected in the indicators Supplied Energy (see Terminology), Net Energy (see Terminology), and Overall U-value. Among the reviewed methods to evaluate air tightness, the Fan/Blower Door Pressurization is well known and preferred by professionals in the field. The results in this thesis may be useful when choosing indicators and evaluation methods to achieve different objectives of improving building energy performance and in the quest towards comparable and verifiable indicators used to achieve building energy performance.
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