Every new building will have to generate renewable energy
As of 01 January 2014 every Flemish home built will have to incorporate a system for generating renewable energy. The Flemish authorities have provided a choice from between six types of systems, while it is also leading by example, with the new regulations applying as of 01 January 2013 to all new buildings commissioned by the Flemish autorities. Standards for new housing have been made much more stringent in recent years, although to date the strict conditions were limited to insulation standards. As from 2014 the active production of energy will be subject to conditions. ‘Anybody developing housing will be able to choose between solar panels, a solar boiler, a heat pump, a biomass boiler or participating in a green energy project in the province where the building is located,’ said Gorik Van Holen, spokesman of the Minister for Housing and Energy Freya Van den Bossche. There is still an escape clause for those who do not wish to employ any of these systems, and that is increasing insulation by ten percent more than the energy performance standard. The 2014 measure is a consequence of the European directive ordering that all new buildings must be ‘nearly zero-energy buildings’ by 2021. ‘But it has not yet been fully settled what that “nearly” means,’ Van Holen acknowledged. He pointed out that construction companies were already anticipating the requirement to incorporate a system for generating renewable energy into new buildings, with some even constructing turnkey passive housing, taking things much further than required.