Rational use of energy and energy-efficient building design involves the construction of houses that consume the minimum required amount of energy for heating and cooling. Although it upheld the opinion that such construction includes high-tech and expensive solutions, energy efficiency is ensured primarily by good architectural design.
Architectural design of the house makes the best shapes, orientation and layout heat zones to ensure optimal use of sunlight and reduce the need for heating in winter and cooling in summer. In addition, with higly quality construction it prevents energy loss through the shell of the house. Considering that the energy efficiency standards defined classes of houses of “common house” which annually consumes 90 kWh / m2 to low-energy house that consumes & lt; 30 kW / m2 and a passive house that consumes 15 kW / m2, thus saving 80% of energy for heating and cooling. A step further in the direction of complete energy independence can be achieved by using alternative energy sources and thus the power consumption is approaching zero, or more preferably house produces more energy than it can spend.
However, it is important to emphasize that energy efficient building is not necessarily sustainable construction, especially if you know the fact that the construction sector consumes about 40% of total energy production and is to blame for 30% of CO2 emissions. Thus, eg. good insulation of the house can be achieved by using materials that are excellent thermal insulators, but whose production pollutes the environment and harms human health. It is therefore important that the construction materials are produced in a sustainable manner with minimal negative impact on the environment. Therefore, to build increasingly using environmentally ie. natural and renewable materials. Similarly, in development are the new materials or variations of conventional building materials such as concrete, which are produced from natural raw materials or recycled.
For investors as well as for the end user of the space such construction certainly has many advantages, but entails a number of dilemmas. It is clear how well designed house, built with natural materials, contributes to the benefits of using space and brings savings on heating bills and cooling. On the other hand, the cost of the initial investment, which is on average higher by 20-30%, and the expected return on investment of 10 to 30 years, often are not sufficient motivation to move in this direction.
In some countries such as Austria and Germany the state provides incentives for building energy-efficient houses and the cost of such home equalized with “ordinary” classically built homes. So, for the same price, the user gets a house whose use will in the long run much less cost. In the region the largest shift towards that made Croatia. In Croatia, we see the first steps in this direction – cities like Koprivnica, Osijek, Pozega Samobor reduce utility fees for passive or low energy houses, and the fund for energy efficiency and environmental protection carried out a program of energy renovation of existing houses through which subsidized energy renovation of the facade and roofs, replacing old windows and installation of alternative energy sources.
In the wider context of sustainable development of a society sustainable construction should encourage locally produced materials and local producers and thus trigger a local business, but this topic is often swept under the carpet. Sustainability is not seen complete but are downloaded already done “foreign” models for which we have prepared local produce and so on-rather than encourage local business, most of the solutions and materials are imported.
Remind ourselves that the construction before the 20th century, especially those traditional, is much closer to the concept of sustainable building than you think. In traditional construction were used locally available materials and techniques that were developed locally, and great importance was given to the local climatic conditions in order to be as efficient as possible of them protected.