Energy Efficiency: EBC welcomes the Commission’s EPBD proposal as a step towards boosting energy renovation

Following a long process of public consultation and debate, the European Commission published yesterday its legislative proposal for the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). EBC welcomes the Commission’s drive to foster the energy efficiency of buildings and deliver on the Renovation Wave.

More concretely, assessing the proposed revisions:

  • EBC is supportive of the additions made with regard to One-Stop-Shops (OSS), which are a key ally to deliver on the Renovation Wave ambition. This proposal is taking steps in recognizing the role of OSS in supporting the technical, administrative and financial aspects of renovation, and in making the link between all actors involved, including construction SMEs. We also welcome the provisions – targeting the skills and training of the competent workforce needed for the green and digital transformation already underway.
  • EBC welcomes the suggested reforms of the rules governing Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) which should result in a more harmonised framework across the EU. This should guarantee more reliable data that can feed into different tools to help improve the energy performance of buildings. Member States are in practice called to align A-rated buildings with the new definition of “zero emission buildings” and an energy performance benchmark set according to climatic zones, while the worst-performing 15% of the building stock at national level will be granted a G-rate. While this attempt to harmonise EPCs goes in the good direction, it remains important to monitor its implementation, to ensure that EPCs truly converge across the EU and to guarantee that Member States that have already proceeded with improving their building stock are not treated unfairly.
  • One major novelty of the proposal is the introduction of mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for existing buildings, which will be based on the reformed EPCs. These MEPS mean that tens of millions of buildings across the EU would need to be renovated by 2033 at the latest, a task for which construction SMEs and citizens are crucial. However, they will need to be accompanied with financial and technical support, as the worst performing buildings, often occupied and owned by citizens with limited financial means, will mostly be the target.
  • When it comes to the introduction of the new concept of Zero Emissions Buildings, which practically replaces the role of the existing Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, the Commission is aiming at an increased level of ambition for new and renovated buildings. However, this new level will create new requirements to which companies will need to adapt again, only a couple of years after the previous revision, to which the market is still adjusting.
  • Last but not least, EBC agrees that the whole life-cycle emissions of buildings should in the future be taken into account, starting with new buildings. The provisions included in the proposal recognise the need for the existing and well-functioning provisions of the EPBD to retain their structure – with whole life-cycle consideration having the possibility to be included in EPCs should Member States wish to do so – while additional discussions can take place at a later stage on the matter in the form of a dialogue involving all stakeholders.

Spyros Mathioudakis, EBC Policy Officer, made the following comment: “More energy-efficient buildings will help achieve the goals of the European Green Deal while guaranteeing better indoor spaces for European citizens, supporting the recovery and boosting employment for construction SMEs. However, several points in the suggested revision require further attention, in order to safeguard a well-functioning EPBD. The novel frameworks on MEPS, Zero Energy Buildings and revised EPCs would need a careful implementation to ensure a successful Renovation Wave for Europe.”

EBC will remain in close contact with the European institutions and further stakeholders regarding the planned revisions, in order to ensure a smooth transition for construction SMEs.

To access the European Commission’s legislative proposal on the EPBD, click here.

To access the Annexes to the legislative proposal on the EPBD, click here.

To find out more about EBC’s position on the EPBD revision, click here.

Spyros Mathioudakis, Policy Officer