In the end of March, the European Builders Confederation (EBC) released its position paper on the amended Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and on the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). Both are part of the European Commission’s long awaited “Clean Energy for all Europeans” Package that was unveiled in December 2016 as an extensive set of legislative proposals.
Energy efficiency plays an important role in order to ensure that the objectives of the 2030 framework are met and international commitments in the frame of COP 21 are achieved. Energy use in the buildings sector (both residential and commercial) is responsible for about 40% of final energy consumption in the EU, while the existing building stock has the capability to reduce its energy consumption by 61% by 2030. Furthermore energy efficiency works create a positive growth & jobs mechanism in the small and local companies of the EU economy.
EBC thus supports the proposals by the European Commission as an important step to put the principle of “energy efficiency first” into practice, to improve the performance of 75% of the built environment that is considered energy inefficient and to accelerate the cost-effective renovation of existing buildings.
Key recommendations on the EPBD and EED
EBC suggests the following key recommendations to be taken into account on the EPBD and the EED:
• Move article 5 on the exemplary role of buildings from the EED to the EPBD and ensure it includes buildings owned or occupied by all levels of public authorities;
• Spread information on financial stimulus that incentivise people to renovate;
• Ensure the dissemination of best practices in regard to public and private financing schemes for energy efficiency as well as the aggregation of small energy renovation projects into larger frameworks;
• Encourage Member States to continuously focus on quality assurance of EPCs;
• Ensure that regular maintenance is included as an alternative to inspection of heating and air conditioning systems and that the threshold is lowered to also include single family houses;
• Introduce mechanisms for improving the offer of energy renovations by facilitating the aggregation of SMEs in groups and consortia, supporting new forms of training and qualification or structural improvements in existing ones, strengthening informal training schemes and their standing vis-à-vis formal qualification and prioritising part of the European Social Fund to the up-skilling of blue-collar workers;
• Establish a stable long-term regulatory and financial framework to kick-start massive retrofitting of existing buildings or the replacement of obsolete and inefficient equipment;
• Earmark and allocate more public funds to renovation and the improvement of energy efficiency in private housing, make them easily accessible and use them to unlock the true potential of private financial resources;
• Support the use of energy efficiency obligations as a source of private funding for the renovation of the private stock as well as in programs to upgrade the skills of energy efficiency professionals;
• Include requirements with a social aim in the saving obligations as a priority in households affected by energy poverty in private and social public housing.