[A version of this post also appears at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com]
In mid October of last year, the German government approved amendments to its Energie Einsparung Verordnung (EnEV), the federal ordinance that mandates energy efficiency for buildings. Negotiations about revisions to the EnEV were prolonged and heated. The ordinance that was passed is a testament both to the collaborative abilities of the government’s various factions, and to the importance the German public places on the country’s Energy Transition. This latest version of the EnEV reflects the government’s relevant energy policy decisions, and it brings the ordinance into alignment with the latest European Union Directive regarding building energy performance.
energy performance scale showing site (above) and source (below) energy demand
On May 1 of this year, the changes that were approved last October came into force. New requirements relating to building energy labeling and heating systems are now in effect, but a key provision of the so-called EnEV 2014 — tighter requirements for building energy efficiency — will not be in force until 2016. Continue reading
[A version of this article was also posted at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com].
I recently attended BauTec, a trade fair for the construction industry that is held annually in Berlin. According to the show’s marketers, BauTec is “the year’s most important trade industry event.” I found the show to be impressive, inspiring and overwhelming. Each of ten large halls at Berlin’s International Conference Center was filled with exhibits and booths dedicated to a different segment of the construction industry: Windows/Doors/Glazing, Plumbing/Heating/Cooling, etc. I ended up visiting the show on three different days to attend seminars being held in tandem with the trade show, and to walk the trade show floor. Continue reading
In late November I attended a conference sponsored by the German Energy Agency, which goes by the acronym “dena” (Deutsche Energie Agentur). I wrote about the conference for the website GreenBuildingAdvisor.com. The article is available here.
Portions of dena’s website are available in English here.
dena conference logo
Peter Altmaier, (then) Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
[A version of this post was published at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com on 7Jan14]
I don’t know whether there are any building geeks reading this blog, but if so, here’s a post for them. I am including more photos of insulation details than a normal person would find interesting.
A few weeks ago while biking back from a visit to Rani’s high school, I stopped at a job site that had previously caught my eye. Although the buildings were shrouded in the usual scaffolding and screening, I could tell that the work involved “energetische sanierung,” or energy retrofitting.
Two workers were installing rigid foam around newly-installed windows. I asked if I could take some photos, explaining that I was a project manager from the US, and interested in energy efficiency. As often happens in this situation, their initial reticence gave way to a quick tour of the work and informative answers to my questions.
While the materials and techniques used on this project are run-of-the-mill for Germany, and may be of limited applicability to projects in New England, I like to think that sharing them might contribute to innovative thinking in someone, somewhere. The rest of this post contains photos and notes about the insulating skin being installed on the building.
Construction — both new buildings and renovations — seems to be thriving in Berlin. A local example is the large apartment complex being built at the end of our block. The image shown on the billboard out front is not in keeping with the spirit of the neighborhood, but it reflects real estate values that have been rising steadily over the past few years.
Stadtpalais am Roseneck
Just what the neighborhood needs?
I walk or bike by the job site several times a day. While I enjoy checking on the progress, I have also felt some version of “work envy.” There is probably a word for this in German. It would capture the feeling that I should be working on a project like that — a mixture of desire and obligation. While passing the job site, I have even gone so far as to try to identify the person in charge — the site superintendent or project manager — to whom I would walk up and say, Here I am, ready to work, let’s go. This fantasy quickly fades as I remember that I don’t yet have an official work permit. More importantly, in thinking about our year in Berlin, I have determined that there are likely better ways for me to make use of the time than as a Handwerker at the local Baustelle.
The following photos focus on the exterior skin of insulation that is being installed on the cast concrete walls of the building. Rigid insulation in the form of mineral wool or polystyrene foam is finished with stucco. In the U.S. we would call this EIFS (“Exterior Insulation and Finishing System”). Here in Germany, this seems to be the most common method for insulating new buildings and retrofitting existing ones.