Energy Efficiency Directive

Energy Efficiency Directive

EU country plans showing how they intend to meet their energy efficiency targets.

EU countries' energy savings requirements for central government buildings

Energy efficiency obligation schemes or alternative measures to reduce energy consumption by final consumers.

The 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) establishes a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. This means that overall EU energy consumption should be no more than 1483 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of primary energy or 1086 Mtoe of final energy. Under the Directive, all EU countries are required to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain, including energy generation, transmission, distribution and end-use consumption.

In 2018, as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package, the new amending Directive on Energy Efficiency (2018/2002) was agreed to update the policy framework in view of 2030 and beyond. The key element of the amended Directive is a headline energy efficiency target for 2030 of at least 32.5%. The target, to be achieved collectively across the EU, is set relative to the 2007 modelling projections for 2030. In absolute terms, this means that EU energy consumption should be no more than 1273 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 956 Mtoe of final energy. The directive allows for a possible upward revision in the target in 2023, in case of substantial cost reductions due to economic or technological developments.

It also includes an extension to the energy savings obligation in end use, introduced in the 2012 directive. Under the amending directive, EU countries will have to achieve new energy savings of 0.8% each year of final energy consumption for the 2021-2030 period.

These amendments entered into force in December 2018 and need to be transposed into national law by Member States by 25 June 2020, except for metering and billing provisions which has a different deadline (25 October 2020).   

Other elements in the amended Energy Efficiency Directive include:

  • extending the annual energy saving obligation after 2020 and beyond (requirement to achieve new savings of 0.8% each year of final energy consumption);
  • stronger rules on metering and billing of thermal energy by giving consumers - especially those in multi-apartment building with collective heating systems – clearer rights to receive more frequent and more useful information on their energy consumption, also enabling them to better understand and control their heating bills;
  • requiring Member States to have in place transparent, publicly available national rules on the allocation of the cost of heating, cooling and hot water consumption in multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings with collective systems for such services;
  • monitoring efficiency levels in new energy generation capacities;
  • updated Primary Energy Factor (PEF) for electricity generation of 2.1 (down from the current 2.5).
  • a general review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (required by 2024).

Guidance notes

To help officials in EU countries implement the Energy Efficiency Directive, the European Commission publishes guidance notes.

Implementing the Energy Efficiency Directive – Commission Guidance [COM(2013) 762]

Library of Guidance Notes (CIRCABC)

More specific good practice guidance for Member States on the implementation of aspects of Articles 9-11 relating to collectively provided thermal energy in multi-apartment buildings has also been developed at the request of the Commission.

National energy efficiency targets

To reach the EU's 20% energy efficiency target by 2020, individual EU countries have set their own indicative national energy efficiency targets. Depending on country preferences, these targets can be based on primary or final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings, or energy intensity.

Open or close table

EU Member State
Absolute level of energy consumption in 2020 [Mtoe] as notified from Member States in 2013, in the NEEAP 2014, Annual Reports or in separate notifications to the European Commission in 2015 and 2016
Primary energy consumption Final energy consumption


31.5 25.1


43.7 32.5


16.9 8.6


11.15 7.0


2.2 1.8


39.6 25.3


17.4 14.4


6.5 2.8


35.9 26.7


219.9 131.4


276.6 194.3


24.7 18.4


24.1 14.4


13.9 11.7


158.0 124.0


5.4 4.5


6.5 4.3


4.5 4.2


0.7 0.5


60.7 52.2


96.4 71.6


22.5 17.4


43.0 30.3


16.4 9.0


7.3 5.1


119.8 80.1


43.4 30.3

United Kingdom

177.6 129.2

Sum of indicative targets EU28

1526 1077

EU28 target 2020

1483 1086

Status: 04/01/2017

Task force on mobilising efforts to reach the EU energy efficiency targets for 2020

In response to growing energy consumption trends over recent years, the Commission set up a dedicated Member State Task Force in 2018 on mobilising efforts to reach the EU energy efficiency targets for 2020. Its first meeting took place in September 2018 and Member States broadly recognised the fact that the EU is not on track for achieving the 2020 target. A second meeting in November took these discussions further forward. The Task Force report summarises the work of the task force and a number of actions that were identified as a result of the consultation process with the Member States and stakeholders.

The Commission will continue monitoring energy consumption trends in the context of the annual Energy Union progress report on energy efficiency. In addition, it will continue monitoring the implementation and transposition of energy efficiency legislation in EU Member States. It will also continue working closely with EU countries and stakeholders to provide the necessary support so that the identified measures can be implemented in view of reaching the 2020 targets. The next meeting is planned in the summer of 2019, after Eurostat estimates on energy consumption for 2018 have been published, with a view to enabling the assessment of progress.


On 11 April 2019, the European Council (Article 50) decided, in agreement with the United Kingdom, to extend further the two-year period provided for by Article 50(3) of the Treaty on the European Union, until 31 October 2019. Following this decision, and until further notice, any reference in the documents published on this page to 30 March 2019 at 00.00 (CET) or 13 April 2019 at 00.00 (CET) as the withdrawal date of the United Kingdom from the European Union, must be read as referring to 1 November 2019 at 00.00 (CET). Please note that:

(i) in the event that the United Kingdom has not held elections to the European Parliament in accordance with applicable Union law and has not ratified the Withdrawal Agreement by 22 May 2019, the Decision referred to above shall cease to apply on 31 May 2019, and the withdrawal will therefore take place on 1 June 2019; and

(ii) should the United Kingdom ratify the Withdrawal Agreement at any stage before 31 October 2019, the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the month following the completion of the ratification procedures.