Delivering Commercial nZEB Conference 2019

Design - Fabric - Systems - Culture Change

The Spring of 2019 marks the establishment of Ireland’s first technological university, TU Dublin, and the inception of the Nearly Zero Energy Building Standard[1] (nZEB) for commercial buildings. It is also the second year of the professional postgraduate MSc in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design)[2], taught by Dublin School of Architecture, TU Dublin.

To support compliance with the new nZEB standard (as transposed in Part L (2017) of the Irish Building Regulations), Dublin School of Architecture is hosting ‘Delivering Commercial nZEB’ Conference on 6th March 2019. The venue is the impressive new stadium of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork City.

The conference will explore nZEB Standard design through (a) presentations of leading Irish and international building design professionals, (b) a breakout session focused on technical solutions and (c) an alternate round table session where managers can explore ways to re-orient their teams to nZEB through discussion with peers and international experts.

Keynote addresses

The conference will features two keynote addresses:

  • Helmut Meyer of Transsolar (Germany) is a specialist in the fields of integrated building systems and energy efficiency. Helmut has developed energy and building services concepts for projects around the world noted for their innovative design and low energy use. As a consultancy Transsolar fosters innovation in the built environment by providing support to design teams early in projects. ‘Our world deserves better than building-as-usual, over-engineered systems supporting static, placeless, unhealthy and uninspiring environments. Design and engineering must work together to reimagine the spaces that shape our lives’.

  • Sebastian Moreno-Vacca, of A2M Architecture (Belgium) was pivotal in persuading the Brussels regional government to make the super-low energy Passive House Standard the minimum standard of performance in 2015 [3]. He will demonstrate how A2M has complied with the Passive House standards beautifully and cost effectively in Belgium, immersing the audience in a world where Passive House is the new normal.


Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of the European Union’s energy consumption and some 36% of the European Union’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The global impact of unnecessary energy use and greenhouse gas emissions is becoming clearer with every year. The European Commission recognises energy efficiency as an energy source in its own right, an energy available at relatively low cost to all.

A European Commission progress report from 2013 found that EU countries had to significantly step up their efforts to take advantage of the opportunities presented by nZEB. As a result the lastest revision to the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive came into force across the EU on 9 July 2018. In Ireland the application date for this standard is 1 January 2019. 

uCompliance with this new minimum standard is fundamental to achieving deeper levels of energy efficiency with significant reduction in carbon emissions. Non-conventional energy sources are best used to heat and cool buildings that have such a low energy demand.

The best way to achieve nZEB compliance is through use of integrated energy design and deeper, earlier collaboration of building design professionals. New skills are needed to create genuinely high quality, beautiful and long-lasting nZEB buildings. A re-orienting of design office culture and practice is required for all building design professionals.

This conference will provide a timely opportunity to reflect on how high quality nZEB buildings can be designed and built, and how building design offices can turn the challenge to their advantage.

Booking & queries

Please use this link to purchase your ticket on Eventbrite.

If you have any questions about the conference please contact Joseph Little, Assistant Head of School, Dublin School of Architecture (




[1]Nearly Zero Energy Buildings’ means a building that has a very high energy performance. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.

[2] This part-time, nested programme is taught to building design professionals nationwide using a blended online mode of delivery. Year one is the Postgraduate Certificate in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design). The first module, nZEB Policy and Technologies is also offered as a CPD.

[3] The Passive House Standard was developed in Germany in the early 90s. It is a proprietary standard that aims to achieve a similar level of energy efficiency as nZEB. Its many admirers claim it is the most rigorous way to achieve nZEB. As there are more than 60,000 Passive House residential and non-residential units worldwide it also have the advantage of a significant body of research and a large number of exemplars in each country.