The EPBD requires all new buildings from 2021 (public buildings from 2019) to be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB). According to Article 2 "nearly zero-energy building" means a building that has a very high energy performance, as determined in accordance with Annex I. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent from renewable sources, including sources produced on-site or nearby.

Spain has a (not yet official) nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) in the legislation.

As concrete numeric thresholds or ranges are not defined in the EPBD, these requirements leave room for interpretation and thus allow Member States to define their nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) in a flexible way, taking into account their country-specific climate conditions, primary energy factors, ambition levels, calculation methodologies and building traditions. This is also the main reason why existing nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) definitions differ significantly from country to country. It is thus a challenging task to find a common denominator to define nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) at a European scale. The EU-project ZEBRA2020 sets a clear methodology for how nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) are defined in the context of market tracking: the nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) radar graphic*. The nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) radar allows combining qualitative and quantitative analysis of building standards in a specific region. The nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) radar clusters energy efficiency qualities in 4 different categories that have been defined at national level by experts:

  1. Net zero energy buildings / Plus energy buildings
  2. Nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) according to national definitions
  3. Buildings with an energy performance better than the national requirements in 2012
  4. Buildings constructed/renovated according to national minimum requirements in 2012

The following graph shows the amount of nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) in construction for residential, and hence sums up categories 1 and 2 as defined above.

* More information on the methodology are available here :

Country chart:
Share of nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) in construction for residential
Country Spain