What nZEB means for your House Build in 2019

written by Tracey Sludds
Nzeb Dwelling Oleary Sludds Architects

NZEB, meaning Nearly Zero Energy Building, is a building with a very low (if not zero) energy consumption. This means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is almost equal (if not equal) to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or renewable energy sources elsewhere nearby. Sounds great, right?

The Irish Government is implementing regulations for dwellings, currently proposed to come into force on 1st April 2019, which means dwellings being built on or after 1st April 2019 must meet the nZEB standard.

The nZEB standard will also apply to existing houses where major renovations take place; i.e. house extensions, external wall upgrades, window replacement etc. (‘Major Renovation’ means the renovation of a building where more than 25% of the surface area of the building envelope undergoes renovation.)

However, your new house build would not have to comply with the new nZEB standard if planning permission has been applied for on or before 31st March 2019 and substantial work has been completed by 31st March 2020; substantial work meaning that the structure of the external walls has been erected.

The key of course is getting started on your design and planning application documents as early as possible in 2019, so you can get planning validation before the 31st March 2019 deadline.

N Zeb Dwellings Deadline Oleary Sludds Architects

From 2019 onwards the nZEB standard when implemented to new or existing house projects, will mean improvement in energy performance beyond the current regulation requirements. Like all new regulations and improved energy performance standards, this means increased building costs!  Not so great, right?

While the initial increased cost to a house build was advised to be in the region of up to 4.2%, further analysis from industry professionals (architects, surveyors, builders etc) was carried out in 2018 and the more realistic increased costs have been advised to be from 4.2% to 10% of the overall construction costs; depending of course on the type and size of the house, as well as the construction methods and specifications.

Example:               2018 non-nZEB Construction cost of House Build      = €250,000

                             2019 nZEB Construction cost of House Build              = €260,500 - €275,000

We don't know about you, but we believe the above increased costs are a good reason to get a move on with your house design in 2019, and get planning validation before 31st March 2019!

Below are some details on what the regulation changes look like to meet nZEB and the impact it will have on your house BER Rating. There are further changes within the regulations also, such as changes to ventilation, heating systems, controls, hot water, lighting, photo-voltaic systems etc.  But we won't bore you with the nitty-gritty details!

Nzeb Ber Part L Oleary Sludd S Architects