Ready for 2020: The ‘nearly zero-energy buildings’

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Buildings currently account for 30-40% of all energy consumption worldwide. If we want to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions we need to relook at building design.
The new demanding European Directive on energy performance of buildings requires all new buildings to be ‘nearly zero-energy’ by 2020 and the ‘2-litre houses’ located in Ozzano dell’Emilia near Bologna, Italy, are a working demonstration of how to achieve this.
What makes the project at Ozzano even more special is the fact that in combination with the energy saving criteria, it also takes into account the environmental footprint of all of the materials and applications used as a fundamental principle of the design. This is sustainable building design in practice.

Buildings currently account for 30-40% of all energy consumption worldwide. If we want to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions we need to relook at building design.
The new demanding European Directive on energy performance of buildings requires all new buildings to be ‘nearly zero-energy’ by 2020 and the ‘2-litre' houses located at Ozzano dell’Emilia near Bologna, Italy, are a working demonstration of how to achieve this.
What makes the project at Ozzano even more special is the fact that in combination with the energy saving criteria, it also takes into account the environmental footprint of all of the materials and applications used as a fundamental principle of the design. This is sustainable building design in practice.

He Ozzano Project includes five separate family houses and an experimental didactic centre, which were all completed be the end of 2009. The buildings and their performance will be monitored for five years. The monitoring of energy consumption in the first few months of the house’s life saw a consumption of about 12-15 Kwh/m2/year for heating/cold and hot sanitary water, in accordance with ‘Passive House’ criteria. However, taking into account the contribution from renewable sources, the Ozzano complex ‘production’ covers not only the 12-15 Kwh/m2/year for heat and hot water, but also 80% of household electricity needs.

This means that the Ozzano project could be easily considered as the first example of a ‘nearly zero-energy building’, already available 10 years earlier than the target year set by the EU. Furthermore, the criteria of sustainability and recyclability followed for the selection of materials and components seems to have made the Ozzano complex already compliant with the proposed EU Construction Products Regulation (CPR), currently under discussion.
The ‘2-litre house’ project was launched in 2007 as an initiative of the PVC Forum Italia

 (the Italian association of the PVC industry)and AIPE (the Italian association of EPS producers); the Ozzano project was designed and executed by Studio Arkit and developed in co-operation with the University of Bologna