New buildings and major renovation in the European Union will be nearly zero energy by 2021, though the phrase’s definition will vary significantly by country, according to a new report by Pike Research. Regulatory support has begun, and will increase with the 2011 and 2014 updates of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans. Less than 1% of existing space is nearly zero energy at present, primarily Passive Houses. Of the 30 billion square meters of floorspace in Western and Eastern Europe, 74% is residential, and 2% is affected annually by new construction or major renovation. Certified green building space will increase from less than 1% in 2010, to more than 2% in 2016, and is already 2% in France.

Most energy efficiency promotions have focused on residential and public buildings. The largest energy efficiency markets are in Germany and France, comparable to the combined market of the rest of Europe. In Germany, half of the cities require Passive House construction in new public buildings. Although most ESCO activity is in public buildings, large ESCOs and construction companies have barely started adopting Passive House methodology. In France, the Grenelle plan for the environment stipulates that new construction will produce net positive energy by 2020.

The Pike Research report examines market conditions and emerging opportunities related to energy efficiency for buildings in Europe. The study includes in-depth, country-level analysis of public policy and regulatory issues, energy service companies, performance contracting, green building certification, and the economics and financing structures behind energy efficiency retrofits. Key industry players are profiled and market forecasts, segmented by country, extend through 2016.