The impact of energy-saving installations in European homes on the life cycle cost
The energy-saving measures most often applied in homes relate to better insulation of the outer shell. Nevertheless, other technologies and installations can drastically drive down the energy consumption of a home. These include, amongst others, the solar boiler, heat pump, and integrated home system. Some of these less well-known techniques do even better than additional insulation, depending, of course, on the climate, the type of building (apartment or house), and the age of the building (new construction or renovation). Nevertheless, in these cases the additional investment has a short payback period and results in a lower home life cycle cost (LCC). That is the conclusion of a study carried out by PB calc & consult bvba for the European Copper Institute.
This report gives a summary of four cases from that study. For the solar boiler, we see an energy reduction of 10 to 15%. The LCC increases by 1% or falls by 4% over a period of thirty years, depending on the particular circumstances. A geothermal heat pump in northern Europe does very well, consuming 43% less energy and providing an LCC reduction of 17%. We also see that different configurations of integrated home systems to control the heating, cooling, and sun blinds always reduce energy consumption by between 5% and 21%. With controlled sun blinds, the LCC sometimes falls by 5% or rises by 13%, depending on the situation. Finally, automated standalone sun blinds are also examined. Here we see energy reductions of 3% to 15%. The LCC however is always higher (4% to 18%) compared to the reference building.
Subsidy schemes generally include incentives for insulating the outer shell even though this is not always the best—and certainly not the only—investment able to reduce energy consumption and the LCC. Other energy-saving installations and techniques deserve a place alongside the better known measures.
Hans De Keulenaer