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Energy-efficient housing trend gains momentum in 2015

Prague, 28 May 2015 – “In 2015, the construction of more than 250 energy-efficient flats is planned, an increase of 85% over last year. This new development is caused by the rapidly growing interest in this type of housing,” says Ondřej Novotný, Head of Property Research for JLL.

Some of the largest low-energy projects that are expected to be completed during 2015 include: Green Motol by Finnish developer YIT, which will offer 134 flats and Top Rezidence in Šárecké údolí by KKCG Real Estate, with 50 terraced houses. The second of three phase of Ecocity Malešice by JRD should be completed this year with 66 low-energy flats, which means that after completion, this project could surpass one of the largest projects realized so far, X-Loft in Prague 8 – Libeň by Design Development. This project includes 185 low-energy and passive flats featuring specific energy requirements for heating ranging between 15 and 30 kWh/m2 per annum. Other developers who offer green residential development on the Czech market include: Skanska, KonHefr, Sekyra Group or KKCG Real Estate with Top Rezidence in Šárecké údolí with 50 terraced houses.

There are several factors causing the growing popularity of sustainable and energy efficient housing. "The primary benefit is mainly the cost savings on energy, which at a time when energy prices are constantly rising, is completely understandable. However, for developers, it is one way how to set themselves apart from their competitors and bring something extraordinary to the market. For buyers, it is often a certain kind of lifestyle choice, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, but also for example the health benefits that come with some technologies of green housing. Besides the benefits, it is necessary to mention the higher initial cost of these houses, and the need to adapt your lifestyle to the house, so that the technology works properly," explains Matěj Hejma, Consultant of JLL’s Residential Agency.

Buildings are currently being compared primarily on energy performance certificates (EPC) and on the basis of whether they belong to the category of low energy / passive / zero energy buildings or not. The first passive home was built in the Czech Republic in 2004. The first development project of a passive apartment building on the Czech market was established in 2010. Even though the term "energy-efficient housing" appeared on the Czech residential market a few years ago, only in recent years has it become a real trend.

"In terms of energy performance certificates, there were always more flats built in energy class C than in class A and B together. However, as a result of the growing interest in green housing, we expect that during this or next year these ratios should turn around and we should witness more new projects in the A and B categories," says Matěj Hejma.

Only buildings with a heating consumption not exceeding 50 kWh/m2/per year fall into the low-energy category. At the same time, the whole system must be based on use of natural resources and good heat isolation, which prevents heat leakage. Currently, there are three types of low-energy buildings on the market: low-energy house, passive house and zero energy house. The essential difference between them is just in the consumption of heating.

Low-energy houses work on a similar system and contain almost the same components as passive and zero energy houses, but to a lesser extent. For this reason, low-energy houses need more heat and greater heating systems. For passive (below 15 kWh/m2/per annum) and zero energy houses (below 5 kWh/m2/per annum) the need to actively heat the house is eliminated due to almost zero heat loss. Instead, the house uses the warm air supply generated by the use of a heat recuperation system.

„From a general perspective however, there are currently a limited number of low-energy flats on the market. The majority of projects that are currently under construction have declared heating consumption of about 80 to 140 kWh/m2 per annum on average,“ concludes Matěj Hejma.