Taking counsel: Strict requirements for energy

  • 2006-04-05
  • By Nijole Vaiciunaite
On Jan. 4 new laws on buildings' energy performance were enacted in Lithuania in order to meet EU requirements. In addition to other purposes, the new laws are aimed at reducing energy consumption and applying a unified system of calculating energy performance of buildings in Lithuania based on European standards.

"Energy performance of a building" is the amount of energy actually consumed or estimated to meet the different needs associated with a standardized use of the building.
Energy performance certification is a process of calculating actual energy consumption of the building, evaluating energy performance of the building, assigning an appropriate performance class and issuing a certificate.
According to energy performance buildings are classified into seven classes: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Class A is the highest, and it indicates a building with very high energy performance. That means minimum energy losses through walls, ceilings, windows, etc. Energy performance class of newly-built buildings or parts of buildings must be not less than C. Energy performance class of large renovated buildings or parts of buildings must be not less than D.

Energy performance certification of buildings will be compulsory in two cases. First, when buildings or parts of buildings, e. g. premises or apartments are constructed, sold or rented out. Second, for large public buildings (hotels, offices, buildings for retail, services, catering, transport, culture, education, health, recreation purposes). A certificate of energy performance of the building must be clearly displayed in these buildings.
A certificate for part of a building can be issued based on a certificate for the entire building that has a common heating system. A certificate for an apartment can be issued based on a certificate of another representative apartment in the same apartment building.

Certification will be carried out by experts who themselves will be appropriately accredited for such functions. The validity of the certificate should not exceed 10 years.
Calculation, classification and certification of energy performance of buildings is regulated by the Law on the Amendment of Article 2, the Appendix of, and Adding Article 43-1 to the Law on Construction dated Nov. 17, 2005 and also by the Order No D1-624 of the Minister of Environment of Dec. 20, 2005 Regarding Approval of Technical Construction Regulation STR 2.01.09:2005 'Energy Performance of Buildings, Certification of Energy Performance.
These laws are aimed at reducing buildings' energy consumption by setting the requirements that must be observed while constructing new buildings. Another purpose is to have major renovations of existing large buildings (those with total useful floor area over 1,000 square meters) regarded as an opportunity to undertake cost-effective measures to enhance energy performance and effectiveness.

The established minimum energy performance requirements must be observed when constructing new buildings as well as reconstructing or renovating large buildings from Jan. 4, 2006. Energy performance of newly-built buildings should be certified from Jan. 1, 2007, and on all other buildings from Jan. 1, 2009.
The minimum energy performance requirements do not apply to buildings that were constructed or began construction prior to Jan. 4, 2006, but certification requirements will be still applied later.
Note that from Jan. 1, 2009 certification of energy performance of buildings will be compulsory for all buildings with no exceptions, not only new or renovated. Although old buildings which are not public (manufacturing, residential houses, etc.) shall have to be certified only when sold or rented out, before concluding an appropriate contract. The certificate of energy performance shall have to be made available to the buyer or tenant upon their request.

Nijole Vaiciunaite is an attorney at Jurevicius, Balciunas & Bartkus, a member of Baltic Legal Solutions, a pan-Baltic integrated legal network of law firms including Teder Glikman & Partnerid in Estonia and Kronbergs & Cukste in Latvia, dedicated to providing a quality 'one-stop shop' approach to clients' needs in the Baltics.