Energy performance of buildings

Approximately 33% of the energy utilised in Estonia is used for houses; therefore, increasing the energy performance of residential buildings is highly important for Estonia.
 

The Ministry has developed support and loan programmes for the renovation of apartment houses for the purposes of reducing the energy consumption of buildings. In 2009–2013, the state supported the renovation of more than 600 apartment houses.

In 2014–2020, the state will invest, in total, more than 100 million euros of Structural Funds financing to improve the energy performance of buildings; according to the estimates, this amount will be sufficient to renovate approximately 1,000 apartment houses.

Apart from improving the energy performance of buildings, complex renovation will improve the internal climate of buildings, help to maintain and protect the existing structures and will improve the general appearance of the facades of houses.

Energy performance of buildings

 

Minimum energy performance requirements

 

The minimum energy performance requirements are the value limits to total energy consumption of buildings.
 

A building’s compliance with the minimum energy performance requirements is attested with the energy performance certificate. Minimum energy performance requirements must be observed upon construction of a building and for the purposes of major reconstructions and, based on the building project, the compliance of buildings with the requirements will already be appraised during the project design stage.

Minimum energy performance requirements will be established for the building in general. Apart from the building shell and technical utility systems, local energy production systems installed into the building or on the property will also be considered as components of the building for the calculation of energy performance indicator. Technical utility networks that are linked to an energy distribution network (for example, district heating network) will be considered as part of the building from the point of connection to the energy supply grid.

Energy performance indicator


Minimum energy performance requirements will be expressed as the energy performance indicator and other requirements specified in the government regulations concerned. The energy performance indicator will demonstrate the energy consumption of a building for both ensuring the internal climate, heat water intended for human consumption and to use standard and other electrical appliances. The energy performance indicator will be calculated per heated square metre of a building, which is applicable upon the standard utilisation of a building.

Nearly zero-energy buildings
 

Starting the construction of technically and economically reasonable nearly zero-energy buildings will be the biggest challenge of the construction sector over the years to come.

The construction of nearly zero-energy buildings requires improved awareness and the development of skills of both customers, project designers, consultants and everyone else participating in the construction process.

What is a nearly zero-energy building?
Nearly zero-energy building means a building that has a very high energy performance, meeting class A of energy performance indicator classification.

 

Compliance with minimum energy performance requirements is required of:

  • Small residential buildings
  • Apartment houses (incl. buildings used as welfare institutions and dormitories)
  • Office buildings, libraries and buildings of research institutions
  • Business buildings (accommodation and catering buildings, service provision buildings)
  • Public buildings (with the exception of zoo or botanical garden buildings, skating rinks and equestrian centres)
  • Trade buildings and terminals
  • Buildings of educational institutions
  • Buildings of pre-school child care institutions
  • Health care buildings

Compliance with minimum energy performance requirements is not required of:

  • Buildings located in areas with cultural and historic value or identified as a single object, buildings classified as cultural monuments located in heritage conservation area or enlisted in UNESCO list of world heritage and the nature or external appearance of which would be considerably changed by compliance with the minimum energy performance requirements
  • Buildings of worship and rite
  • Buildings with a period of use up to two years
  • Industrial buildings and workshops and agricultural buildings with no living premises that are characterised by low energy requirements
  • Buildings that are used for living for a period shorter than four months per year
  • Buildings with the total area of premises required to service the total building and rooms inside according to the intended purpose of the building being up to 50 m²
 

Energy performance certificate

 

Energy performance certificate is a document that shows how much energy a building or a part of a building consumes annually per one square metre of heated area.
 

People who want to design new housing or buy or rent a house or an apartment will have the right to demand the energy performance certificate of the building. Energy performance certificate shows the energy performance of the property to be acquired. The higher the energy performance class awarded to the building (from A through H) the lower energy bills you can expect in the future.

Class A buildings have the best energy performance features, while Class H buildings consume the largest volumes of energy.

Energy that is required to heat and cool the building, heat water, use ventilation, lighting, electrical appliances, etc. will be taken into consideration for the issue of an energy performance certificate.

Specific measures required to save energy in the building and improve its internal climate are also listed in the energy performance certificate.

For the purposes of buildings that are designed, an energy performance certificate will also demonstrate the building’s compliance with minimum energy performance requirements.

An energy performance certificate will help to choose a more economic home


An energy performance certificate is required to show buyers of housing the future electricity and heating bills that they will be expected to pay. Therefore, the energy performance certificate should also contribute to raising interest in acquiring real estate with proper energy performance.

An energy performance certificate helps compare the energy requirements of a building with other buildings of similar type and choose the option with the best energy performance when buying real estate.

Questions and answers

What does an energy performance certificate look like?

The new standard format of the energy performance certificate is effective since 2013.
There is a separate form for the energy performance certificate, which is to be placed in a location visible to guests.

Such a type of energy performance certificate is mandatory in buildings for public use, featuring man-made internal climate and more than 500 square metres of useful area, such as hotels, shopping centres, hospitals, concert halls, sports centres and state and local government buildings.

Which buildings should have the energy performance certificate?

Existing buildings and building units

An energy performance certificate must be available to all buildings or building units, including apartments, that are available for sales or lease after 1 January 2009. Upon completion of the transaction, the seller or lessor must allow the buyer or the lessee to study the energy performance certificate.
New buildings

An energy performance certificate must be available to all buildings designed in 2009 or later. The energy performance certificate must be then submitted to local government when applying for a building permit.

Where can one get the energy performance certificate from?

Existing buildings will get an energy performance certificate from operators conducting energy audits or issuing the energy performance certificate.
For new buildings, the energy performance certificate will be issued by the project designer.

The procedure for the issue of the energy performance certificate was laid down by the regulation of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications no. 30 of 23 April 2013, the Standard Format of Energy Performance Certificate and the Procedure for the Issue of the Certificate.

Interested parties can inspect the issued energy performance certificates by visiting the website of the state register of construction works.

Who must see that buildings have a valid energy performance certificate?

As for existing buildings, the energy performance certificate, featuring the maintained internal climate, must be available for buildings or building units that have been bought or constructed since 1 January 2009. The presence of the certificate must be ensured by the owner of the building.
As for new buildings where the project design process was started in 2009 or later, the building’s compliance with the minimum energy performance requirements must be ensured by the project designer, who will issue energy performance certificate to confirm the compliance.
 

Energy performance certificate issuance info for specialists

 

A company wishing to issue energy performance certificates has to have a contract on that matter with a specialist, who has to prove the qualification with a professional certificate.
 

Companies issuing energy performance certificates do not have to submit a notice of economic activity to the state register of economic activities.

Assignment of a vocation

The assignment of vocations to entities issuing energy performance certificates and energy auditors is the function of the Estonian Association of HVAC Engineers.

The vocation will be assigned after taking the appropriate training. Trainings are organised for entities issuing energy performance certificates and energy auditors by Open University of Tallinn University of Technology.

Energy performance certificates for designed buildings and buildings subject to major reconstruction are issued by project design undertakings.

The procedure for the issue of energy performance certificates


In April 2013, a new regulation of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Standard Format of Energy Performance Certificate and the Procedure for the Issue of the Certificate, entered into force.

According to the Building Act, the undertaking that issues energy performance certificates must only enter the information about the certificate into electronic state register of construction works. As data is entered into the state register of construction works, the system will automatically generate the energy performance certificate form.

New users must acquire a user name for entering the information of energy performance certificates into the state register of construction works. Please study the instructions available from the website of the state register of construction works to acquire a user name. The website of the state register of construction works also includes instructions for entering the information of an energy performance certificate into the state register of construction works.

 

Last updated: 3 March 2015