Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. While new buildings generally need fewer than three to five litres of heating oil per square meter per year, older buildings consume about 25 litres on average. Some buildings even require up to 60 litres.
Currently, about 35% of the EU's buildings are over 50 years old. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, we could reduce total EU energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%.
On the 30 November 2016 the Commission proposed an update to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to help promote the use of smart technology in buildings and to streamline the existing rules. The Commission also published a new buildings database – the EU Building Stock Observatory – to track the energy performance of buildings across Europe.
On 19 December 2017 a political agreement was reached by negotiators from the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, and the Commission on the proposed update to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Based on the Commission proposals, they agreed to add a series of measures to the current Directive aimed at accelerating the cost-effective renovation of existing buildings. There will also be updates to provisions on smart technologies and technical building systems, including automation, and e-mobility will be introduced into the scope of the Directive. The legal texts of this political agreement must now be finalised and formally adopted by both the Council and the European Parliament in the coming months.
Under the existing Energy Performance of Buildings Directive:
- energy performance certificates are to be included in all advertisements for the sale or rental of buildings
- EU countries must establish inspection schemes for heating and air conditioning systems or put in place measures with equivalent effect
- all new buildings must be nearly zero energy buildings by 31 December 2020 (public buildings by 31 December 2018)
- EU countries must set minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, for the major renovation of buildings, and for the replacement or retrofit of building elements (heating and cooling systems, roofs, walls and so on)
- EU countries have to draw up lists of national financial measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Under the Energy Efficiency Directive:
- EU countries make energy efficient renovations to at least 3% of buildings owned and occupied by central government
- EU governments should only purchase buildings which are highly energy efficient
- EU countries must draw-up long-term national building renovation strategies which can be included in their National Energy Efficiency Action Plans.
National reports on energy performance requirements
EU countries have calculated the cost-optimal minimum energy performance requirements for new as well as renovated buildings in their territory.
Belgium (Brussels | Flanders | Wallonia)
Estonia | Annexes
Hungary | Addendum
Slovakia part1 | part2
Practical support initiatives
To help EU countries properly implement the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and to achieve energy efficiency targets, the European Commission has established practical support initiatives:
Concerted Action EPBD
Concerted Action EPBD is a forum launched by the Commission to promote dialogue and the exchange of best practices between countries for reducing energy consumption in buildings.
BUILD UP Skills
The BUILD UP Skills initiative helps train craftsmen, on-site construction workers, and systems installers in the building sector. Its aim is to increase the number of qualified workers across Europe who are able to undertake energy efficient building renovations and help construct nearly zero energy buildings.
BUILD UP Portal
The BUILD UP Portal brings together European experts on energy reduction in buildings. The aim is to share information and best practices.
Energy efficiency standards
These include standards on the calculation of delivered energy, energy needs, energy costs, and inspections.