Ways to achieve the Efficiency House Plus standard

In Germany, energy-saving building methods go back a long way. For more than 30 years, research has been conducted into the building of tomorrow that can be lived in with a neutral carbon footprint. The low-energy house has been the legal minimum standard for new buildings for over 15 years. Thanks to intensive research and development efforts, buildings have now been so far developed that they are no longer energy consumers but rather energy producers. The Efficiency House Plus standard enables more energy to be generated over the course of a year than the building and its users consume.

Compared to conventional construction methods, the Efficiency House Plus standard is based on three main aspects: Maximize the energy efficiency of the building, minimize the energy requirements of domestic processes, and use renewable energies to cover the rest. Since with this concept the sum of all the energy needed in the house must be balanced by renewable energies generated on the premises, the quantity of energy required must be reduced as far as possible by maximizing energy efficiency.

In 2011, the responsible ministry at that time - the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs - published an information brochure entitled “Wege zum Effizienzhaus Plus” (Ways to achieve the Efficiency House Plus standard) as part of its funding initiative “Model projects in the PlusEnergy House standard”. The brochure is aimed at private building owners and was written by Fraunhofer IBP. It explains the main building blocks of this forward-looking construction method and offers planning tips. The brochure outlines the manifold technological options for achieving targets in all relevant areas of a building's energy balance. It supports the efforts made by the German government to promote the use of the new construction method in Germany.

In addition to the brochure, Fraunhofer IBP also drafted the definition and requirements of the Efficiency House Plus standard as part of the funding initiative.

Focusing on the challenge of tackling climate change, the Efficiency House Plus standard has remained an important aspect of the federal government's research and funding programs centering around energy-optimized construction methods in subsequent years. Fraunhofer IBP has redesigned the brochure at regular intervals to include the latest results and findings from the ensuing Efficiency House Plus network. At the end of 2020, the brochure, which focuses on residential buildings, was supplemented by a brochure on educational buildings constructed according to the Efficiency House Plus standard.

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