District heating (DH) offers the most effective way to enhance the efficiency of primary energy use, increasing the share of renewable energy in energy consumption and decreasing the amount of CO2 emissions. According to Article 9 section 1 of the Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings, the Member states of the European Union are obligated to draw up National Plans for increasing the number of nearly zero-energy buildings . Article 2 section 2 of the same Directive states that the energy used in nearly zero-energy buildings should be created covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby. Thus, the heat distributed by DH systems and produced by manufacturing devices located in close vicinity of the building also have to be taken into account in determining the energy consumption of the building and the share of renewable energy used in the nearly zero-energy buildings.
With regard to the spreading of nearly zero-energy and zero-energy houses, the feasibility of on-site energy (heat and/or electricity) production and consumption in DH areas energy (i.e. parallel consumption, when the consumer, connected to DH system, consumes energy for heat production from other sources besides the DH system as well) needs to be examined. In order to do that, it is necessary to implement a versatile methodological approach based on the principles discussed in this article.
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 Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast). Official Journal of the European Union 2010:13–35.
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