Compare dynamic energy efficiency policies for new buildings

What are the main components needed to develop ambitious and dynamic building codes and supporting packages? Experiment with this tool to find the combination of elements that can help move the building stock in your region towards zero energy.

The Policy Comparative Tool enables you to compare the world's best practice policies for new buildings (residential and commercial). This tool reviews 25 state of the art building energy efficiency codes using 15 criteria developed with some of the world's leading experts in the field.

How to use it?

Each icon represents a building code. Each segment of the icon represents one of the 15 criteria for assessing the dynamic nature of the building code.

Select and deselect the criteria of your interest.

The size of each segment will reflect the score that has been awarded to that criterion. Hover over each icon to see the full score awarded to that building code for all criteria.

You can sort building codes alphabetically or by score.

Why a Building Energy Performance Codes Comparative Tool?

Comparing codes can assist policy makers to understand the mechanisms behind dynamic building codes. Comparison can also help to illustrate the areas in which certain codes perform well and where others can improve by learning from the best. By understanding how jurisdictions have designed and implemented best practice codes and supporting packages, policy makers can use this information to strengthen the future design of dynamic policies taking implementation and evaluation into consideration.

It has been agreed through an expert consensus process managed by the GBPN that a number of key elements define best practice building energy efficiency codes and supporting programmes: a holistic approach, a dynamic process in terms of regular updates and future zero energy targets, strong enforcement system and policies that support the code, technical element, and overall energy performance. Based on these five key themes, a detailed set of criteria has been developed to facilitate the rigorous assessment of each of the codes and the supporting policies.

For further information, check GBPN Report, Developing Dynamic Building Energy Efficiency Codes - learning from best practices around the world, February 2013.

Holistic Approach

This theme has three criteria that assess the holistic nature of building codes including their total performance with regard to end use, primary energy and GHG emissions.The assessments consider whether a performance-based approach has been adopted, taking into consideration how much energy is included and whether integrated or bioclimatic designs are the basis for the energy efficiency code. 

  • Performance Approach

    This criterion seeks to determine whether the code has adopted a holistic understanding of buildings in the sense that the main requests of the building code are based on total energy performance. This can either be based on a performance calculation or a figure based on metered consumption. The energy performance should include the balance and integration between different elements in the building and the technical system. The code will be assessed in order to determine whether the performance allows and stimulates integrated design or bioclimatic design principles adapted to the actual climate and whether it gives priority to passive design of buildings. The use of energy performance values should be mandatory.

    This criterion is assessed based on the following questions:

    • Does the code set an overall performance frame for buildings (kWh/m2 per year)?
    • Does the code take primary energy use, GHG emissions or peak loads into account?
    • Does the calculation take passive heating, passice cooling, natural ventilation, natural light and shading or other natural elements into account?
    • Does the code actively encourage integrated or bioclimatic design of buildings?
    • Does the code have a clear definition of building performance?

  • Includes All Energy

    This criterion assesses the energy uses included in the energy performance assessment of buildings as outlined by each code. The assessment includes energy used for heating and cooling, for lighting and for installed equipment and appliances. It will also assess on delivered or final as well as primary energy. Part of the assessment will focus specifically on lighting, dehumidification, hot water, elevators, pumps, transformers and appliances.

    This criterion will be assesed using the following sub-criterion:

    • Do the requirements include most of the energy consumption in a building (i.e. heating, cooling, ventilation and dehumidification)?
    • Does the performance include domestic hot water?
    • Does the code include lighting requirements?
    • Does the code include energy consumption such as elevators, appliances, pumps and fans?
    • Does the code include conversion and transportation losses?

  • Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

    This point assess whether the building code encourages or mandates bioclimatic design and/or integrated design to optimise the use of passive energy. The focus will be to firstly reduce energy use and then to ensure that energy requirements are met by indirect/passive energy. The majority of this passive energy should be supplied by local active renewable sources with the remainder supplied as efficiently as possible. The assessment will also take into consideration use of overall lifecycle principles in design and implementation.

    The following questions are designed to assist the above assessment:

    • Does the code significantly reduce energy needs for instance by setting requirements for the buildings efficiency and renewable energy?
    • Does the code require/strongly encourage efficient use of passive heating and passive cooling?
    • Does the code require/strongly encourage natural ventilation?
    • Does the code require/encourage daylight use?
    • Does the code require/encourage shading?
    • Does the code require/encourage a reduction for energy provided for renewable energy systems?
    • Does the code include life cycle assessment?

     

     

Dynamic Process

This theme has 3 criteria that assess the dynamic elements of the code in terms of regular updates. It assess past revisions of the code as well as future targets and zero energy goals. The scoring will further assess how codes encourage the implementation of levels beyond code, driving innovation and increasing efficiency of building beyond the bare minimum. 

  • Zero Energy Target

    This criterion assesses whether a realistic target for having zero energy buildings as standard by a certain date has been set and whether an appropriate roadmap for achieveing this has been outlined. The assessment will also consider how much of the consumption is included in this definition. A target of this type is often set outside the code itself and should be adopted and strongly mandated. This assessment will have regard to such supporting regulations or agreements. 

    The following sub-criterion will be considered:

    • Has the path to ZEB performance/compliance been clearly set out for the future?
    • Are there binding targets based on a roadmap that are achieveable, realistic and relevant to the country/region and state of the market? Are there aspirational targets for revisions towards zero energy?
    • How quickly will a target for reaching net zero energy buildings be achieved (for instance by 2020 or 2030 been set)? Is this realistic given the actual state?
    • Are all end uses included in this target?

     

  • Revision Cycle

    This criterion seeks to assess whether there is a clear and well documented process for ensuring regular updates of the energy requirements in building code. The clearer this process is mandated the better. It is also an advantage if goals or targets have been clearly defined as part of the process., such as aspirational targets. The code will be further assessed based on how the process involves and informs important stakeholders at an early state, as this will be critical to the use and acceptance of codes.

    The following sub-criterion will support the assessment:

    • Does the code have regular and frequest revision cycles (max 3-5 years)? Has this process been followed in the past?
    • Are key stakeholders involved in the development of new requirements? Is the development of the code followed by training activities?
    • Does the code adoption take life cycle assessment into account? Are the requirements  supporting a dynamic and ambitious development of codes by including economic rational and other benefits?
    • Does the code or legislation have aspirational targets for the future revisions that have already been defined? Are targets clearly set out and well defined at least 2-3 years in advance?

     

  • Levels Beyond Minimum

    Building codes set requirement for performance/maximum energy use. Codes or other policies should however strongly encourage constructors to go beyond these minimum requirements in building codes to prepare future code revisions. This criterion sees to assess whether the building code has included elements that encourage the construction of buildings beyond the minimum standard. This can include labelling or certification systems that include well-defined classes that exceed the minimum standard for energy efficiency. Classes that exceed current minimum standards should be supported by incentives and policies such as certification of buildings. Successful systems should document the possibility to go beyond the minimum standard.

    The following sub-criterion will assist the assessment:

    • Does the code and complementing policies encourage buildings to go beyond minimum requirements?
    • Is this well documented for instance by certification schemes introducing well defined classes 'above standard level'?
    • Can the code 'stretch' or 'reach' beyond minimum requirements and reward buildings that achieve significant savings on standard design? Does the code have low energy classes (i.e. Code -20%, - 30% or - 50%)?
    • Are there any special requirements for public buildings to pave the way for the rest of the market and to demonstrate best practices and BAT measures?

     

     

Implementation

This theme has three criteria to assess the actual implementation of codes. This theme assesses the actual enforcement system, the use of mandatory certification and the use of policies to support codes and the future developments of these. 

  • Enforcement Standards

    This criterion assesses the robustness of structures in place to ensuring enforcement of the code and the compliance of individual buildings with the code. The assessment will check if systems ensure compliance through third party inspection or at a local authority level and how robust these systems are. A part of this will look at how strongly this is enforced and whether there are penalties involved in the system. This criterion will also assess whether compliance is checked during the design phase, after construction or both? A good enforcement system should include both information and regular evaluation.

    This criterion will be assesed using the following sub-criterion:

    • Is the code clearly mandatory rather than voluntary or semi-voluntary?
    • Is there a clearly defined and robust control and verification system for assessing compliance? Does this necessitate on site inspections during and after the construction process and is post-occupancy control included?
    • Does the code require post occupancy energy verification?
    • Are strong penalties for lack of compliance frequently enforced?
    • Are surveys independently conducted on compliance rates and do they demonstrate a high rate of compliance?
    • Are there adequete provisions for training of inspectors and is their work quality controlled?

     

  • Certification

    Certification systems can be used to ensure code compliance, to support levels that go beyond the building codes and to inform on the actual levels of energy efficiency. This criterion assesses certification systems that support energy efficiency in the building code. Certification can be used to provide information on performance levels and can be used for disclosure.

    The following sub-criterion support the assessment:

    • Is building energy efficiency certification mandatory in all new buildings?
    • Is it a positive label for a definedenergy efficiency level that goes beyond the minimum?
    • Will the result of assessment influence final compliance approval?
    • Is the certification system robust and well integrated in the process?

     

  • Policy Packages

    Energy requirements for new buildings are most effective if they work together with other policies. Building codes that are well integrated within a comprehensive strategy will be able to lead to larger savings and help to drive innovation. Other policy instruments can include finance, information, training, demonstration projects or public procurement policies. These can help to shift the market and to develop new and more effective solutions. This criterion seeks to determine the existence of supporting policy packages and the quality of these packages.

    The following sub-criterion support the assessment:

    • Is there a system of rating or labeling for major building components?
    • Are there any special incentives or requirements for public buildings to pave the way for the rest of the market?
    • Does the code link to and support stricter standards such as green buildings, passive houses, integrated design or bio-climatic design.
    •  Are there supporting measures, which increase energy efficiency and or allow minimum requirement levels to be exceeded (e.g. reduced property tax, higher incentive, better loan conditions, grants etc.)?
    • Are there education systems to ensure capacity in all parts of the construction sector.

     

Technical Requirements

This theme includes three criteria for the assessment of individual building parts , the technical systems as well as the demands for use of renewable energy. Demands for energy performance of the different parts can either be set prescriptively as a set of individual values or as part of performance value, which ensures a high level for each of these elements. Codes with passive requirements, over all energy demands and over all performance can be an alternative way to fulfil these prescriptive demands is they as set successively harder and ensure similar requirements for each part.

  • Building Shell

    This criterion assesess the requirements for building parts and the impact of these requirements on the building shell. Energy performance of specific building parts assessed will include - low u-values for most important parts of the building and the thermal bridging requirements. Window requirements will be assessed in order to determine whether they address over heating (G values), ensure sufficient light supply and shading. Values can be set either prescriptively or in a more holistic way. Results will be climate corrected by a simple set of factors.

    This criterion will be assesed using the following sub-criterion:

    • Does the building code stipulate low maximum u-values for the most important building parts (at least walls, floors, roofs windows/skylights and doors).
    • Does the code stipulate low maximum psi-values or is thermal bridging included in the building envelope calculation?
    • Are the u-values established relevant to the climate?
    • Does the code require a strict level of air-tightness including testing?

     

  • Technical Systems

    This criterion assesses the energy requirements for HVAC systems, lighting and other technical elements of the building. The individual parts of the HVAC systems will be assessed individually, but there would also be an assessment for the overall systems. This will include use of automatic control systems and airtightness if needed. Assessment will also take into account regulations that favour passive energy systems where they can fully substitute more active systems.

    The following sub-criterion support this assessment:

    • Does the code require efficient and well-designed HVAC systems?
    • Does the code require overall efficiency testing of technical systems? Does this include pressure testing of ducting systems when needed?
    • Does the code include airtightness requirements?
    • Does the code require heat recovery systems to be implemented when possible?
    • Is commissioning a requirement of the code?
    • Doe the requirements adress efficiency of lighting installations?
    • Does the code require minimum efficiency levels for domestic hot water?

     

  • Renewable Energy Systems

    This criterion will look at separate requirements for active renewable energy systems. Requests for active systems should be combined with encouragement of passive elements for heating, cooling, ventilation and day lighting. The assessment will focus on specific requests to supply the resting energy demands based on renewable energy systems. This can include solar systems for hot water, demands for PV systems, geothermal or the use of heat pumps. Requirements can be based on a holistic basis as part of overall performance if this ensures that the full or at least the remaining energy use is made by renewable energy sources.

    This criterion will be assesed using the following sub-criterion:

    • Does the code have separate requirements for use of active renewable energy? Does the total performance include active renewables?
    • Does the code include all types of buildings?
    • Are the demands stringent (highest demand will get three points (3,2,1,0)?

Overall Performance

This theme seeks to assess the total performance of the building code taking end use, primary energy and GHG emissions into consideration. The assessment can either be based directly on the demands in the code if these are set based on performance values and including all parts of the energy use or it can be calculated if the codes are mainly set based on prescriptive demands and has the needed primary or environmental 

  • On-site energy

    This criterion includes a general assessment of the maximal end use of energy in the building energy efficiency code. This assessment can either be based directly on the demands in the code if these are set based on performance values and including most parts of the energy use or it can be based on a calculated value if the codes are mainly set based on prescriptive demands or only cover parts of the over all consumption. Data will be corrected for climate in a way that takes the differences in feasibilities in the different climates into account.

    The following sub-criterion will assist with the assessment:

    • Does the code set an overall energy performance frame for buildings?
    • Does the code prescribe mandatory computer modelling in order to ascertain the expected performance of a building?
    • How high is the maximal energy end use (kWh/m2 or Btu/ft2 per year)?

     

  • Primary Energy

    This criterion assesses the total performance of the building code in primary energy. This assessment can be based directly on the demands in the code if these are set based on final energy use performance values and including most all parts buildings primary energy use. Where energy demands are prescriptive or exclude major building energy use, final values will be calculated. Data will be corrected for differences in climates based on a model, which also address differences in cost efficiency for energy saving measures.

    The following sub-criterion will be used to help with the assessment:

    • Does the code set an overall performance frame for buildings?
    • Is this based on primary energy use?
    • Does the code prescribe mandatory computer codelling in order to ascertaint the expected performance of a building?
    • How high is the primary energy end use (kWh/m2 or Btu/ft2 per year)?
    • Climate adjustment

     

  • GHG Emissions

    This criterion assesses the demands of the building energy efficiency code on environmental performance (GHG emission). This assessment is based directly on the demands for GHG emission in the energy efficiency code and includes all parts of the building related energy use. If these are set based on energy performance values, with clear criteria’s for GHG emission it can be based on a calculated value taking into account all above elements. Data will be corrected for differences in climates based on a model, which also address differences in cost efficiency for energy saving measures.

    This criterion will be assesed using the following sub-criterion:

    • The following sub-criterion will assist with the assessment:
    • Does the code set an overall performance frame for buildings (kWh/m2 per year)?
    • Does the code have a maximal energy performance and does it take GHG emission factors into account?
    • How high is the maximal GHG emissions energy (tons/m2 oer year)?
    • Does the code take life cycle analysis into account?

     

The Purpose of the Policy Tool for New Buildings

This interactive tool enables you to compare the dynamic energy efficiency policies for new buildings (residential and commercial). This tool reviews 25 best practice building energy efficiency codes using 15 criteria developed with some of the world's leading experts in the field.

  • Select and deselect criteria in the interactive comparative tool above to check to what extent the key components are addressed by each code
  • Access Detailed information about each of the building codes
  • Generate graphs to compare values such as U-values contained in each of the codes

All data can be used and re-used in HTML, PDF and machine readable raw data (CSV) formats.

Read GBPN Report: "A Comparative Analysis of Building Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings"