Constructing energy efficient dwellings in the Netherlands, The effect of energy efficiency measures through the lifecycle of a dwelling
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Energy efficient building is an important trend in the Dutch effort to reduce the nation’s energy use. Households are responsible for about one third of the total natural gas consumption in the Netherlands during their lifetime. The results of this research show that about 20% of all energy reductions between 1996 and 2008 were due to energy efficiency measures in newly-build dwelling projects. The remaining 80% could therefore roughly be attributed to retrofitting. Also, a survey amongst newly-build dwelling projects finished in 2008, demonstrated that the current EPC norm of 0.8 is easily met or even better. About 12.2% of these dwellings perform better with an average energy use which is 16% lower than the norm. Another aspect, besides this energy use during the users’ phase, is the energy involved within the actual construction of the dwellings. Worldwide the building construction industry consumes about 40% of the materials entering the global economy and generates 40-50% of the global output of greenhouse gases and the agents of acid rain. For this phase, the results showed that depending on the lifetime of a dwelling (ranging between 30 and 100 years), the relative construction energy in relation to the total energy use (over this lifetime) of the average dwelling was between 30% and 10%. Finally, also the demolition phase of dwellings in the Netherlands was investigated in the search for energy saving possibilities. In general about 96% of all demolition debris is actually recycled. Unfortunately the bulk of these materials are downcycled into low quality applications like the foundation of roads. Still, the results indicate that about 0.13% of the total embodied energy of the average dwelling in 2008 was saved due to recycling.