Individualization of heating costs: are you ready?

In Europe, all multi-unit buildings will transition to individualized heating costs by 2020. Is yours one of them? We’ll help you better understand the individualization of heating costs.


Individualization of heating costs: a step towards renewable energy

Since 2012, the European Union is committed to renewable energy, which is why one of its goals is to reduce the annual energy consumption of its 28 member countries by 20% before 2021.


In this context, EU directive 2012/27 makes heating cost distribution obligatory for all dwellings served by a shared heating system, whether public or private. It’s about individually managing heat consumption in order to move collectively towards renewable energy. So, billing will no longer be prorated based on each apartment’s square footage; it will be based on each unit’s actual consumption.


The idea behind this directive is to align renewable energy with budgetary economics. It’s important to note that in the EU, 79% of energy consumption in households comes from heating and hot water. So, the EU believes that by relating costs to actual consumption, Europeans will be more likely to reduce their energy use.


To determine individual consumption, devices that calculate heat usage must be installed in each unit. Heat cost allocators and thermostatic radiator valves are among these devices. Studies have demonstrated that, in fact, changing a manual valve to a thermostatic one can save up to 35% on an apartment’s heating bill.



How to comply with the new regulations?

Two types of heating systems exist in multi-unit buildings:

Horizontal heating systems

In these buildings, there is a unique heating entry point for each apartment, which allows for easy calculation of consumption. Meters installed at the heating entry points measure the actual amount of energy consumed.
Vertical heating systems

Vertical circuits consist of “loops” of pipe that feed radiators in units on multiple floors. To individualize energy consumption, a heat cost allocator must be installed on each radiator in an apartment. Central heating, where all rooms in an apartment are heated as opposed just one, makes up about 85% of EU heating systems.


Once it’s possible to measure their consumption, users must equip themselves to be able to control their heating usage. Replacing manual valves with thermostatic ones is strongly recommended. Manual valves can only turn radiators on or off manually, but thermostatic ones automatically regulate each radiator according to the energy usage of the rooms in the apartment.


In the realm of thermostatic valves, Netatmo’s Connected Valves for radiators allow you to go even further to control your consumption. Users can save an average of $350 on heating, thanks to a room-by-room plan that fits their lifestyle. Equipped with open-window detection and temperature regulation based on exterior temperature, they can be controlled on your smartphone, or even with your voice with Siri on the iPhone or Google Assistant on Google Home.


What are the deadlines for making the change?

Individualization concerns occupants of public or private buildings with centralized heating systems. The decree made on May 20, 2016 anticipates that between now and December 31, 2019, all affected buildings will have carried out the transition.


It will be carried out in three steps:
1. Since March 31, 2017, buildings with an annual heating consumption of more than 14 kWh/ ft² of habitable area should have already made the transition.
2. By December 31, 2017, buildings with an annual heating consumption between 11 and 14 kWh/ ft² of habitable area should have made the transition.
3. By December 31, 2019, buildings with an annual heating consumption under 11 kWh/ ft² of habitable area should have made the transition.


Landlords or homeowners’ associations must base these calculations on the past three years’ consumption, deducting consumption for production of hot water not used for heating purposes.


Those failing to comply by their respective deadlines are subject to hefty fines that can be as high as $1760 per apartment.


Make your apartment intelligent and become an actor for renewable energy!

Save energy and money with the Smart Thermostat and the Smart Radiator Valves

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