Data Mapper

  This application does not work without Javascript.


This tool shows scenarios of the market transition to nZEB (nearly Zero Energy Buildings). We analysed, how current building standards and other policy settings affect the building stock transition and corresponding energy demand targets of the building sector until 2050 and how more ambitious policies could change this transition. For this purpose, a current policy scenario and a more ambitious policy scenario of the market transition to nZEB up to 2020, 2030 and 2050 were developed. However, the more ambitious policy scenario is not necessarily in line with long term climate and energy targets. The gap between these two scenarios shows the need for actions moving to a low carbon building stock.

The current policy scenario is driven by the existing policies including energy performance requirements, financial instrument and obligations for renewable sources in the buildings (see Table below). These policies were surveyed in the project ZEBRA2020 (see section "Existing policies").

Ambitious policy scenario is based on the more intensive policies which effect higher renovation rate and depth and corresponding energy savings (see Table below). This scenario was developed in collaboration with national policy makers.

The following policy instruments were investigated and implemented in the model (although not all of these instruments were analysed for each country):

  • Building codes for new buildings and building renovation
  • Financial and fiscal support policies/programmes
  • Increase of renovation rate in public buildings
  • Obligation to install renewable heating systems
  • Compliance with regulatory policies
  • CO2 Tax

The scenarios are modelled by using the disaggregated bottom-up building stock model Invert/EE-Lab. Invert/EE-Lab is a dynamic bottom-up simulation tool that evaluates the effects of different policies (in particular different settings of economic and regulatory incentives) on the total energy demand, energy carrier mix, CO2 reductions and costs for space heating, cooling, lighting and hot water preparation in buildings. In order to compare the building construction and renovation activities between the investigated countries, the harmonised methodology for the calculation of energy needs and primary energy demand according to EN13790 are used. We want to emphasize that both for new building construction and for renovation we were not able to cover all aspects of country specific nZEB definitions in the model. Calculation of energy needs, definitions of nZEB indicators, system boundaries and national norms are too different to consider them in a detailed, comprehensive way in the modelling work of this project. Thus, there might be some deviations between our approach to model NZEB-Standards in the different countries and the correct, country specific calculation. The share of the installed building construction level or renovation level mainly depends on the cost-effectiveness of the standard. However, if there is a certain obligation of a building standard in place, the selection of building components is restricted in the model. Building renovation and construction rate and depth are the main drivers for the total energy savings in the building sector.

The POLES model delivered the projection of key input data with regard to the overall energy system such as end-user energy prices and average primary energy factors of electricity generation.

The basic idea of the model is to describe the building stock, heating, cooling and hot water systems on highly disaggregated level, calculate related energy needs and delivered energy, determine reinvestment cycles and new investment of building components and technologies and simulate the decisions of various agents (i.e. owner types) in case that an investment decision is due for a specific building segment.

The core of the tool is a myopical, multinominal logit approach, which optimizes objectives of "agents" under imperfect information conditions and by that represents the decisions maker concerning building related decisions.

More information on the tool and input data are available here:

  • Invert-EE/Lab official website
  • Müller, A., 2015. Energy Demand Assessment for Space Conditioning and Domestic Hot Water: A Case Study for the Austrian Building Stock (PhD-Thesis). Technische Universität Wien
  • Steinbach, J. (2016): Modellbasierte Untersuchung von Politikinstrumenten zur Förderung erneuerbarer Energien und Energieeffizienz im Gebäudebereich. Fraunhofer Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8396-0987-3
  • Kranzl, L., Müller, A., Toleikyte, A., Hummel, M., Forthuber, S., Steinbach, J., Kockat, J., 2014. Policy pathways for reducing the carbon emissions of the building stock until 2030. Report within the project ENTRANZE

Other projects which are linked to the scenario development:

  • ENTRANZE (Policies to ENforce the TRAnsition to Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in the EU-27)
  • EU Mapping HC: Mapping and analyses of the current and future (2020-2030) heating/cooling fuel deployment (fossil/renewables)" Tender N°ENER/C2/2014-641
Table 1: Policy instruments used to calculate current policy and ambitious policy scenarios
Current policy scenario Ambitious policy scenario
Building codes for new buildings For the new building construction, we distinguished the policy requirements implemented in the period 2012 and 2020 and from 2021 to 2050. From 2012 to 2020, the current policies are in force and the model results indicate which share of the building stock is built according to following three new building standards:
  • Building code, 2012: requirements for the new building construction defined in the national building code in 2012
  • Better than building code, 2012: higher energy performance achievements compared to the building code in 2012
  • Much better than building code, 2012: much higher energy performance achievements compared to the building code in 2012 compared to the building code in 2012
From 2021 to 2050, the EPBD 2010 is implemented and the new building standard follows the nZEB requirements. Model results are shown for the following three standards:
  • nZEB (building code, 2021): requirements as defined in the national nZEB definition for 2021 (please see the national nZEB definitions, data tool)
  • Better than nZEB requirements
  • Much better than nZEB requirements
Building standard 2012 is updated in 2017 and higher energy performance of the new construction is required. The national nZEB requirements are also stronger in this policy scenario.
Building codes for building renovation The following renovation categories were defined:
  • major renovation which refers to the building codes
  • minor renovation meaning that in reality not all buildings fulfil the criteria set in the building legislation
  • deep renovation reflecting the nZEB definition
In the ambitious scenario, from 2021 to 2050, all buildings fulfil at least the building standards. There is an additional renovation level “deep plus” which means higher energy performance achievements compared to the deep renovation.
Financial and fiscal support policies/programmes Existing programmes are implemented and available by 2050 (see section "Existing policies" and the report D4.4 "Existing policies"). Financial and support programmes are implemented for energy efficiency investments and use of renewable energy sources (heating systems and building renovation). In the ambitious policy scenario, the public budget for these support instruments is increased by 50% compared to the current policy scenario.
Increase of renovation rate in public buildings 3% yearly renovation rate in central government buildings is implemented 3% yearly renovation rate in central government buildings is implemented
Obligation to install renewable heating systems in case of new buildings, building renovation or heating system replacement A certain minimum share of energy demand supplied by renewable energy sources is implemented from 2021 in all building categories in case of building renovation and new building construction. In the ambitious scenario, this minimum share of energy demand supplied by renewable energy sources is increased. Details are documented in the country chapters.


In the light of COP21, a global commitment to limit global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, aiming at 1.5 degrees, it is important to take immediate action to mitigate climate change. The EU sees itself as frontrunner with ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030. There are several key drivers for the energy savings and CO2-emission reduction in the building sector:

  • The current energy performance of buildings has a strong impact on achievable energy savings and cost of building renovation. Thus, the higher the current efficiency of the building stock, the more expensive is a further improvement and the stronger the political incentives have to be.
  • The role of different energy carriers. In almost 50% of the investigated countries, the fossil fuel based heating systems make up a significant share on the total energy demand for building space heating in 2012. Natural gas is the most common energy fuel. The scenario shows a decrease of the natural gas demand in almost all countries. The key drivers are policies supporting renewable heating systems and economic feasibility of it. Renewable energy makes up a high share on the total energy demand for space heating in countries such as Denmark, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden in 2012. Coal which is mainly used in the European transition countries is slowly run out in the long term scenario in almost all countries. Poland´s current policies are supporting coal industry which correspondingly keeps coal as an important fuel for the future space heating in this country.
  • Electricity demand for space cooling is growing in the south European countries.
  • Renovation rate and depth are the key drivers for the energy savings.

Given that at least two thirds of today’s buildings will still be standing in 2050 and their vast energy consumption, a longer term vision is necessary to align with the challenges ahead. Our key findings from the scenarios are as follows:

  • Both, energy efficiency and renewable Heating & Cooling are required to achieve 2030/2050 targets; synergies between renewable Heating & Cooling and thermal insulation should be exploited.
  • Low renovation and system replacement rates and long life time of building components have to be considered in policy considerations. Buildings constructed now will mostly still be in place beyond 2050. Buildings renovated within the next 10 years will often not be renovated once again until 2050 and a considerable part of the heating systems installed in the next 10 years will still be in place in 2050. Absolute phase out of new fossil heating systems would be required within the next 5-10 years to reach strong decarbonisation levels in 2050.
  • The ambitious scenarios reach CO2-reduction levels of around 80% only in the most ambitious cases. However, the climate targets clearly indicate that reductions in the building sector beyond 80-90% will be required. An achievement of 2050 energy and climate goals require policy ambitions, going beyond the assumptions of the ambitious policy scenarios developed together with policy makers. Thus, immediate action and radical “policy innovations” are required.
  • Energy poverty and vulnerable consumers are a European-wide issue and need further attention. Shifting from fuel subsidy to energy efficiency support is required.


TU Wien
Institute of Energy Systems and Electric Drives
Energy Economics Group (EEG) -> Homepage

Gusshausstrasse 25-29/370-3
1040 Vienna

Phone: +43(0)1-58801-370303
Fax: +43(0)1-58801-370397

Terms of Service

The tool shows scenarios of the market transition to nearly Zero Energy Buildings. We accept no liability and responsibility whatsoever with regard to the information on this site. The information on this site is:

  • of a general nature only and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity;
  • not necessarily comprehensive, complete, accurate or up to date;
  • neither for professional use nor legal advice (if you need specific advice, you should always consult a suitably qualified professional).


This website has been produced in the context of the ZEBRA2020 IEE/13/675/S12.675834 Project. The publisher gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the publisher. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither EASME nor the European Commission is responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Copyright notice

Storage and reproduction of the results is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged. All other rights reserved.