Energy Saving and Producing Building (ESAP)

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ESAP buildings rely on the approved methods and low energy consumption of the Passive House. Furthermore, they produce at least the same amount of primary energy as they consume during one year. ESAP buildings thus promotes a rather ‘active’ approach than the term ‘Passive’ House.


Definition of Energy Saving and Producing buildings in order to help people understand better what a positive energy balance for a building is and how it can be assessed. The resulting common definition is suitable for different European countries and can help to compare different projects.

An ESAP building is described as:

  • A PassivHaus building, respecting the PassivHaus standard according to PHPP calculation (Specific space heat demand < 15 kWhpe/m2tfa/yr, Specific primary energy demand (including HVAC, DHW, lighting, auxiliary and appliances) < 120 kWhpe/m2tfa/yr and air tightness n50 < 0,6 h-1)
  • which produces at least as much primary energy as it consumes during one year for heating, cooling, lighting, hot water, ventilation and all electric appliances, thanks to production plants located on top of the building which export heat or electric energy through a grid and thanks to production plants located on top of the build-ing or nearby which serve for the building’s energy needs
  • and respects the following requirements:
  • Transportation of the users has been taken into account for the building localization and does not generate too much extra energy consumption (see criteria A1 (Access to public transport network) of the ENERBUILD tool)
  • The impact of users’ behavior is controlled best possible and some training is made to explain how to use the building in an efficient way.
  • The embodied energy has been calculated and some efforts have been made to minimize it by an adequate choice of materials (see criteria E1 (Ecological Index) of the ENERBUILD tool).


As an illustration to the previous definition, the energy fluxes on a building can be represented by the scheme below. The building has a positive energy balance if P – Cnr – Cr –Crb > 0 where P represents all the energy which is produced on the building or nearby and which is exported outside this boundary (that’s to say on electricity or heat grid). A conversion factor fp is used to convert this production into primary energy (according to the energy mix of the grid).

  • Cnr (Consumption of nonrenewable primary energy resources) accounts for all the thermal and electrical energy which is consumed from the (electrical or thermal) grids and comes from nonrenewable resources. fnr represents the primary energy conversion factor of the grid’s energy mix.
  • Cr (Consumption of renewable primary energy resources outside boundary) accounts for the consumption of primary energy resources which are neither available on the building nor nearby. fr represents the primary energy conversion factor of this resource since some energy has been spent to bring the resource on the building’s site.
  • Crb (consumption of renewable primary energy resources inside boundary) represents the consumption of renewable primary energy resources on the building or nearby. The conversion factor is 0 (no energy needed to bring the resource on the site) and Crb = 0.


All the energy consumptions of the building are considered. The extra-energy produced and exported to a grid is counted in the building energy balance only if the production plant is located on or inside the building. For instance, a ground solar plant that sells electricity to a grid is not considered in the energy balance, even if it’s located in the building’s garden. On the contrary, self-consumption is taken into consideration if the production plants are located on the building or nearby.

Application to other regions, Capitalization

The definition is shared by partners of different regions from Italy, Austria and France.

Contacts, publications, dissemination, references

The definition has been translated into English, French, Italian and German. They can be downloaded from


Rhônalpénergie-Environnement (RAEE)

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69002 Lyon


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