|  2013-06-28

Integrating renewable energy into construction works

A review of current legislation on renewable energy in Romania shows that it lacks the regulations concerning the small producers

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Moreover, this deficiency doesn’t seem to be amended by the new adjustments applied to Law no. 220/2008 by the Government Emergency Order no. 57/2013, scheduled to come into force on 1st of July, 2013.


Is this an improvable approach? Is the Romanian economy going to see benefits by bringing small producers closer to regulators’ attention?


If we are to research how does Romania’s Energy Strategy for 2011-2020 reflect the small renewable energy production – actually the one that is more appropriate for building integration – we would find out that it comprises a clarification on the most convenient technologies of consumption costs and resource volume: “the micro-hydro power plants, the wind turbines and cogeneration power plants using biomass while the production of thermal energy use biomass and solar energy”,  the measure of introducing “the concept of net metering invoicing for consumers and small enterprises using renewable energy sources for the production of electric power”. Yet, the document doesn’t clearly specify clarifications on the locally-distributed production and the small producers.


Also, if we are to ask the practitioners in the energy field about the impact of buildings in reducing CO2 emissions, the conclusion states the insignificant role played by the building segment compared to the big loses determined by producers and the countrywide power network. However, as Romania’s Energy Strategy for 2011-2020 states, the contribution of buildings is considered the most significant: “The national potential of energy saving, respectively the reduction of energy losses, is evaluated at 27-35% from the primary energy sources (industry 20-25%, buildings 40-50%, transport 35-40%).” Given the discrepancy between the theory and the practice, is it worth discounting the building segment since the law focus is put on efficiency measures for the energy industry?


Yet, how do these regulations, or rather their lack, meet the already assumed commitments, precisely addressing the integration of renewable energy in building constructions?


What is the link between buildings and renewable energy?


As known, within the EU countries ranking, the 40 percent of total consumed energy in Romania is generated by buildings. This percentage results from the necessary energy used for heating and cooling the buildings but also from energy losses due to the energy inefficiency of used construction materials and technical equipment (such as boilers, tanks, air conditioning devices, household electric devices, lighting devices etc.), and over all, due to the building architecture and construction structure itself.


From this perspective, the saving of used energy in buildings following the undertaken efficiency measures and the large-scale use of renewable energy sources has proven to be a good solution for the reduction of greenhouse gas effects, the reduction of energy consumption and the more efficient use of energy, which come to meet the commitments assumed by the 20-20-20 legislation.


The 20-20-20 legislation is the generic term for the EU norms meant to fight against climatic change and to promote the use of renewable energy sources. This legislation package establishes three targets to be met until 2020: (i) the reduction by 20%, as compared to 1990, of greenhouse gas effects, (ii) a 20% share of energy consumption in European Union produced by renewable energy sources, and (iii) the reduction by 20% of the primary energy use by improving energy efficiency (this last item is indicative).


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