Frequently asked questions - Environmental performance calculation

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Environmental performance – Environmental performance calculation

Why do we have more environmental indicators in the Netherlands than in other EU countries?

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results in an environmental profile. Until end 2020, this profile comprised 11 environmental impact categories in accordance with EN 15804, but as EN15804 was amended in 2019 and its methodology was synchronised with the LCA methodology from the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint), from 1 January 2021 and in line with EN15804+A2, the profile comprises 19 environmental impact categories. These are more than is required in Europe. Stichting NMD will issues a document explaining the differences in the near future.

How is a change in understanding of environmental impact handled?

The list of environmental impact categories from the Assessment Method indicates the environmental impact of the product being studied. This list is agreed at European level in the EN 15804+A2 standard. The Assessment Method will be amended in the event of changes to this standard as a result of advancing scientific insight.

I have a question about the Environmental Performance Calculation of my design. Where can I go?

The Environmental Performance Calculation Guide, July 2020 version contains several interpretations and design issues for calculating the energy performance of buildings. The guide largely follows the context of the threshold for environmental performance as stated in the Building Decree, which came into force on 1 January 2018.

To which buildings does the MPG apply?

The Environmental Performance of Buildings is mandatory for every environmental permit application. The Environmental Performance of Buildings indicates the environmental impact of the materials used in a building. This concerns new office buildings (larger than 100 m²) and new-build homes.
As of 1 January 2018, a limit value of 1.0 applies to the Environmental Performance of Buildings. The environmental performance for new homes (not for offices) was tightened from 1.0 to 0.8 on 1 July 2021. The aim is to gradually set tighter requirements until these are halved by 2030.
You can find the most accurate information about the decisions taken and the tightening of requirements on Netherlands Enterprise Agency website.

What is the difference between NEN-EN 15804 and the Environmental Performance Assessment Method for Construction Works?

The Environmental Performance Assessment Method for Construction Works is based on NEN-EN 15804 Sustainability of Structures – Environmental Declarations – Basic Rules for the Construction Products Product Group. The Assessment Method models NEN-EN 15804 to the Dutch context and to Dutch construction methods.

Do tiny houses also fall under the Building Decree? In particular, in the context of the rules concerning sustainable building?

The tiny house concept is not defined in the building regulations. If the tiny house is a building, that building will have to meet the requirements of the 2012 Building Decree (Article 1b of the Housing Act). A building or component intended for housing is considered to have a residential function, and must comply with the requirements set for this in the Decree. This also applies to regulations in the context of environment. According to article 1.3 of the 2012 Building Decree, it is possible to deviate from the 2012 Building Decree regulations on the basis of equivalence. An applicant for an environmental permit will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the competent authority (the municipality) that a solution offers equivalence as referred to in Article 1.3. 

Should external facilities be included in the MPG calculation required by the Buildings Decree?

The system demarcation for environmental performance extends to the plot boundary: in the Building Decree, external energy supply installations as well as sewerage connections form part of environmental performance. As illustration, please see the 2012 Building Decree Information Sheet relating to sewerage and municipal water management tasks (NL). The illustrations in the Information Sheet clarify how far the provisions extend within the plot boundary and must therefore be included in the building’s environmental performance calculation.

How should external energy supply systems be included in the MPG calculation required by the Buildings Decree?

Installations for external energy supply (such as the connections for gas, electricity and/or heat as well as energy infrastructure and central systems for generation/conversion) must be included in the environmental performance calculation. Such systems will need to be mentioned in the energy performance calculation and an equivalent in terms of material use will need to be included in the environmental performance calculation. The National Environment Database includes so-called default values for this, which are determined by entering the calculated building-related energy consumption in the calculation.

I am looking for reference buildings for an impact and monitoring study. Does the NMD have them?

In cooperation with LBP Sight, W/E adviseurs conducted the ‘Materialisation reference buildings (NL)’ study for Stichting National Environmental Database, in which fully materialised reference buildings were recorded. This set of reference buildings was developed to conduct valid impact and monitoring studies, with a view to possible changes in the EPB. This set is public so that calculations can be verified and reproduced. > More about Environmental performance

How are PV panels included in the MPG calculation?

Building applications should be subject to an integral and cohesive assessment. That is why the Building Decree calculations need to be consistent. The square metres of PV panels used in the BENG calculation (energy performance) should also be included in the Environmental Performance of Buildings calculation (environmental performance). This means that the calculations based on which the environmental permit is granted always use the same square metres of PV panels. The Building and Housing Inspectorate monitors this.
As soon as the Quality Assurance Act for Construction (Wkb) comes into force, the quality assurance agency will supervise this. Together with the competent authority file, the competent authority receives the quality assurance agency’s declaration that the project complies with the Building Decree (after 1 January 2022 the Building Environment Decree (BBL)) and the BENG and Environmental Performance of Buildings  calculations.
More solar panels may be installed on the roof than indicated in the environmental permit for the building, provided the conditions set out in the Environmental Law Decree for the permit-free installation of PV panels are met for that surplus.

How does one go from an LCA/EPD to an MKI/MPG?

After drawing up an LCA and EPD these data can be added to the NMD, after verification. The environmental data in the NMD are used by several private companies that have developed calculation tools to make an Environmental Cost Calculation (ECI) or Environmental Performance of Buildings calculation. ECI and Environmental Performance of Buildings values can therefore only be made transparent using the calculation tools.

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