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Buildings, Vol. 7, Pages 43: Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: An Overview of the Main Construction Features across Europe


Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) represent the backbone to achieve ambitious European goals in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction. As defined in the EPBD, by 31 December 2020, all of the new buildings will have to reach a target of nearly zero energy. This target encourages the adoption of innovative business models as well as the technology development in the building sector, aimed at reducing energy demand and exploiting local renewable energy sources (RES). Assessing the share of implementation and the performance of technologies in new or renovated nZEBs is strategic to identify the market trends and to define design guidelines with the most effective solutions according to the context. In this regard, this paper analyses the construction features of a set of nZEBs, collected in 17 European countries within the EU IEE ZEBRA2020 project, with a special focus on the influence of the boundary conditions on the technologies adopted. The results show a general high insulation level of the envelope and recurrent specific technologies in the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) system (i.e., heat pumps and mechanical ventilation), while the climatic conditions do not drive significantly the design approach and the nZEB features.