Energy efficiency will be a combination of improved insulation, better (technological) indoor climate management, use of renewable energy that is produced on or in the building, and sharing of heat through smart local networks (eg from excess industrial heat).
However, these elements evolve at different speeds, e.g. developing networks takes longer than insulating buildings.
For new buildings, members of the European Union have agreed upon a directive whereby members must ensure that all new buildings are NZEB buildings. In renovation, one of the best ways to reduce the energy consumption of the building is by improving the insulation of the building. The current pace of insulation works is not sufficient to meet the 2050 targets.
For example, in the UK, it is estimated that 25 million homes need to be insulated before 2050. This means that in the UK alone, 1.4 homes would need to be insulated every minute to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions of carbon by 2050, i.e. a third of them. Excessive and unnecessary heating of poorly insulated houses creates emissions.
Buildings will become energy collectors and storage spaces, aiming for a net positive energy management. Instead of being applied to the surfaces of buildings and as additional elements, the technology will be integrated into the structure of buildings. A building will be a battery and part of a smart grid. In this network the buildings will supply and use energy. The network consists of vehicles, buildings and renewable energy sources (eg solar/wind/geothermal/tidal/hydrogen) which all together form a closed circuit. The materials will be designed so that they have a cooling or heating functionality, without the need for energy (natural ventilation, surfaces that have a cooling effect, etc.)