What you should know about the EPBD?

If you are a homeowner or plan to become one, then you need to understand this. In fact this applies to any building, residential, commercial or industrial.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)


Article 1


The objective of this Directive is to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the Community, taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-effectiveness.


Measure 1a


The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will be amended to require Member States to define, as part of their long-term renovation strategies, a roadmap with clear milestones and measures to decarbonise their national building stock up to a nearly zero-energy standard by 2050.

Understanding how the EU - EPBD translates into the Energy Rating systems in Europe is important before you invest in measures on buildings.


There is sometimes much confusion about EPC’s (BER in Ireland) and how to achieve very good ratings for the least expense.



What is the objective of the Energy Rating?

The objective of the energy rating system (EPC/BER) is to provide a measurement tool to aid the removal of primary energy and CO2 from buildings. There are many ways to achieve this objective.

It is however VERY IMPORTANT to understand what primary energy is.

Primary Energy is the external energy your building consumes and the CO2 it creates. It IS NOT the amount of energy consumed in the building. You can use as much energy in the building as you want and still get an A1 or nZEB.

It is simply the amount of energy you import into the building.

Will insulation get me an A1 or nZEB?

As the Energy Rating system is a measurement of external energy consumption, some insulation will help reduce your heat loss but it is important to note that extensive insulation usage will be very expensive and may have little or no benefit to your energy rating.

It also may cause overheating in hot weather which would require air conditioning. This is now predicted to be the norm for every second summer within 20 years. It is important to have thermal mass in your home design to manage your air temperatures for heating and cooling. (This cannot be the floor.)

Is it possible to get an A1 and nZEB without any insulation?

Yes, believe it or not.

Again, if you understand that the core objective of an energy rating is to remove the EXTERNAL use of “primary energy” and its associated CO2 emissions, then you can achieve this result by a number of measures.

To highlight the point, below is an original E1 Energy Rating of a 200 sqm home in Ireland which if renovated as per its updated energy rating would be the 2nd best energy rated home in the country meeting A1 and nZEB easily. E1 to 2nd best A1 in the country with no insulation.

It has NO INSULATION at all, no attic insulation, no wall insulation, no floor insulation. The home has a HONE thermal/electric system upgrade only. No other modifications to the house are included. This is just an extreme example to highlight the point that this building would consume lots of energy but because it makes all its own energy, and imports no “Primary Energy”, the Energy Rating (EPC/BER) is still excellent even without any insulation.


BEFORE: E1 Energy Rating – 320 kwhr/m2 per year & 83 KG/CO2/m2

e1 energy rating

AFTER: A1 Energy Rating – minus 161 kwhr/m2 per year & minus 28 KG/CO2/m2

a1 ber rating

Is it possible that my over insulation may have poor value?

Unfortunately, this is often the case.

Again, if you understand that the core objective of an energy rating is to remove the EXTERNAL use of “primary energy” and its associated CO2 emissions, then you can achieve this result by a number of measures.

Below is an example of two energy ratings.


It is the same house but the first one has basic wall & attic insulation upgrade. The second one is the same house with passive type insulation on the inside of the walls, 250mm insulation board increasing total insulation to 350mm which is costed at €36,000 fitted and sealed and electrics, plumbing and windows adjusted. Attic insulation brought up to 450mm.

The result:

The improvement is just 5 kwhrs/m2 saving between €50 and €75 a year. Payback could be 700 years.


There is a HONE Thermal/Electric system installed, hence the A1.


BEFORE with walls pumped with bead and standard attic insulation of 200mm with foil achieving A1 minus 156.16 kwhrs/m2 & CO2 of minus 28.86

AFTER with walls pumped with bead and attic insulation upgraded to Passive standard of 350mm with foil achieving A1 minus 161.98 kwhrs/m2 & CO2 of minus 27.92.

ber a1 rating

So what do you recommend as an approach ?

We recommend a scientific approach building up the ideal cost efficient approach using the energy rating system in advance of doing any work. This way you can create a detailed journey to nZEB and you can only focus on the measures which benefit you and add the most value.

This way you even know the result before you have to make a decision and you will get the best value for your investment.

This is how we do it and why we can achieve A1 and nZEB so easily. We also show you how to do measures we are not involved in such as insulation, ventilation, etc.