By 2020, all new buildings in Europe must be practically energy-neutral. Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) are able to generate almost enough energy to support themselves. Deerns is responding proactively to this development. ‘We are not only communicating about our energy-neutral projects, but we also identify market trends, investigate the challenges and create solutions that prepare our clients for the required result-oriented approach, which also has major consequences for the design process,’ explains Ana Cunha Cribellier, Deerns’ Head of Real Estate in France.
What is your personal commitment to sustainability?
‘Sustainability is a true conviction. And I want to be involved in its implementation, too. I used to work for the World Green Building Council Europe network and the Sustainable Buildings Index Steering Committee, which is part of the UN Environmental Programme. I was also involved in the International Sustainable Building Alliance and the founding of the French Green Building Council. In those positions, I met various stakeholders with interests in such things as high performance buildings. I have also helped write joint sustainability indicators and international guidelines for the assessment of sustainability efforts.
At Deerns, I have been given the opportunity to help the market prepare for the future regulations. We implement innovative, practical solutions for truly sustainable buildings and follow the latest trends in knowledge and technology for energy-efficient buildings. I want to explain those trends for our teams and our clients, create awareness and share practical experience in designing Nearly Zero Energy Buildings. I am in touch with all Deerns’ international offices for that reason.’
What does nZEB mean, in terms of European construction?
‘In net terms, an nZEB consumes scarcely any energy, or none at all, for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting. The energy demand is primarily met by energy from renewable sources, generated in or close to the building. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD II) requires all new buildings in Europe to be nZEBs by 2020. The public sector is to build new builds or remodel its current buildings as nZEB by 2018, to give the right example, Each country may define ‘nearly zero’ in its own terms. We share our knowledge with the teams in the countries in which we operate.
In all those countries, we design buildings that comply with each country’s specific nZEB regulations. We want to be able to give expert advice to our clients, wherever they are in the world.’ What are the biggest challenges regarding nZEB? ‘We listen to the market and we know the policies and the guidelines for nZEB inside out. Developers are forced to think about various challenges. For instance, selecting the most suitable locations, the new design strategy, the division of roles and responsibilities, the additional costs of an nZEB, if applicable, the time that the development takes, from drawing board to delivery (if you want to be able to deliver in 2020, you need to make a start this year), the changing market needs and the shift from sustainable buildings to sustainably connected cities.’
Is nZEB economically feasible for every building?
‘In economic terms, it is not actually possible to build all buildings as nZEBs. The impact of certain developments is very hard to predict, especially as an nZEB requires a change in scale and the design of the building has to match its surroundings perfectly and sustainably. That is why we actively help to develop and implement Smart Utility Networks (SUN). In these local networks, ‘energy waste’ serves as a source of energy for another party. We explain to our clients what effects the nZEB challenge could have for them. This development will both stimulate an evolution in everyday practice and cause a revolution in building design, construction and facilities management. That does, however, require all the stakeholders to make a maximum effort.’
What is Deerns’ role in this?
‘Because of our practical knowledge of nZEB development and Smart Utility Networks, we can offer our clients a clear strategy for the development of such buildings, both at single locations and at an urban level. We make a difference by truly working as a single organisation, by identifying the latest technology and by closely monitoring policy developments and their effects on the built environment. We do not think so much in terms of separate buildings but rather in concepts that create sustainable, smart and connected towns and cities.’
Maison de l'Île de France
Maison de l'Île de France The ‘Maison de l’Île-de-France’ was presented in Paris late last year, at the same time the COP21 Climate Conference was held (please see pages 4-5). This one-hundred percent energy-neutral building comprising 142 student rooms on the International University Campus was designed by ANMA Architects. Deerns was called in to design the technical and environmental concept.
The Maison de l’Île-de-France does not use any energy from external sources, does not emit any CO2 and does not produce any radioactive waste (‘zero energy, zero CO2, zero nuclear waste’), which means that the complex complies with the 2020 energy performance standards. The energy needed for such things as heating, hot water, ventilation and lighting is supplied by solar panels in the facades, a 200 m3-heat storage unit, a heat recovery system using hot waste water and 700 m2 of photovoltaic cells. Surplus heat is transferred to the district heating grid. The project won the French PREBAT competition, which awards prizes for innovative energy projects in the building industry.