Energy > Energy standards

Energy Standards

Since 1 January 2006, stricter energy regulations have come into force for new buildings or major renovation projects in Flanders. Greater insulation and ventilation is also required.

Wallonia and Brussels-Capital are looking into the issue, but sooner or later, everyone will be affected...
And that's no bad thing!

Compared with the rest of Europe, the energy performance of buildings in Belgium is poor. This is explained by the lack of a real energy policy at the national level. With the steady increase in energy prices, there is no question that investing in efficient buildings that consume less makes economic sense.

On 1 January 2006, the new requirements concerning Energy Performance and Indoor Climate came into force.

As a rule, these new regulations are applicable to all construction work requiring a building permit.
It is important to note that the rules for major renovations are the same as for new builds. Both renovated sections and new sections must conform to new heat transfer coefficients (U).

What are the new standards?

Both new and existing buildings are subject to minimum requirements with regard to energy performance and indoor climate in buildings.
They address three different aspects:

  1. Thermal insulation
  2. Energy performance
  3. The indoor climate of buildings

It is clear that these energy measures will mean additional costs for the project owner. Fortunately, the investment can be recouped within a reasonable timeframe, through lower energy bills. More benefits will follow. Indeed, the additional cost paid for the insulation will be recouped within five years. There is no financial compensation for the cost of ventilation systems, other than a healthier, more comfortable home.

Energy efficiency certificate required when selling or letting a property

As from 1 November 2008 the issuing of an energy efficiency certificate (EEC) is required when selling an existing property and as from 1 January 2009 when letting a premises. This was a decision made by Hilde Crevits, Minister for Energy and the Environment. The cost price of the certificate will be between 200 and 250 euros and remains valid for ten years. The certificate is now already required for a new build.
Based on the energy efficiency certificate, prospective buyers or lessees will immediately know how energy-efficient a premises is. Good energy efficiency results in lower energy consumption and thus also to lower energy invoices. In addition, the EEC provides information about energy-saving investments the cost of which families can recoup within a short period of time. Finally, those interested can compare potential properties with one another more easily and they can calculate the anticipated energy costs more quickly.

Energy efficiency certificate provides information

The energy efficiency certificate does not impose any requirements, but provides interested buyers or lessees with information about the energy performance of the building by giving the premises a score. A specialist that is certified by the Flemish Energy Agency analyses the materials used, the insulation value of windows, doors, walls and roof and the installation for heating and hot water. Consumer behaviour is not taken into account when making the calculation.

An energy efficiency certificate is valid for ten years

The energy efficiency certificate remains valid for ten years. When the residential unit is re-sold or re-let within that term, then a new EEC does not need to be drawn up. Of course, a copy must always be given to the new residents.
If in the mean time adaptation work has been completed in the property, as a result of which the building has been made more energy-efficient, then it might be a good idea for the owner to arrange to draw up a new certificate.
If an owner is now letting a property and the lease contract is not renewed after 1 January 2009 and the lessee remains the same, then he does not have to arrange to draw up an EEC. This is the case if it gets a new lessee after 1 January 2009.

Which buildings must have an EEC?

All properties that are for sale or to rent and that in addition to a living room also have their own toilet, shower or bath and a kitchen or kitchenette, must promptly arrange to have an EEC drawn up. This also applies in respect of holiday homes, as the obligation applies to all types of lease contracts irrespective the term of the contract.
For student homes that consist of student rooms without a bathroom and kitchen, an energy efficiency certificate must be drawn up for the premises as a whole, because a student room without bathroom and kitchen is not viewed as being a separate residential unit.
Also certain public buildings larger than 1000 m², will have to obtain an energy efficiency certificate during the course of 2009 and display it in a location visible to the public. And the legislation governing energy efficiency certificates when selling and letting non-residential buildings is currently being prepared.

The difference between an EEC and an energy audit

EEC:

• Obligatory when selling and letting residential properties
• The vendor and lessor must arrange to have an EEC drawn up
• When selling the purchaser is given the EEC
• When letting the lessee is given the EEC
• Estimated cost price: depending on the type of building

Energy audit:

• Voluntary for private individuals, who want energy advice about their property
• Estimated cost price: 400 euros
• Tax benefit: 40% of the invoice to be contributed as a tax benefit, up to a maximum of 2,650 euros per annum per residence

Full information can be found at www.energiesparen.be.