EPBD: EBC reaction to vote in ITRE committee

The ITRE committee voted today in favour of the compromise amendment put on the table by the Shadow Rapporteurs to Ciaran Cuffe’s draft report on the recast of the EPBD. While expressing its general support for the draft Report and the compromise amendment, EBC points out that improvements are still needed to avoid a revised EPBD difficult to implement by the construction sector.

With a revision process under way since 2021, an important step was taken today with the vote in the ITRE Committee on the only compromise amendment put on the table by the Shadow Rapporteurs, following a long negotiation on the basis of the draft report by Rapporteur Cuffe (Greens, Ireland) and the more than 1500 amendments tabled last summer on the Commission’s proposal.

With 51 votes in favour, 18 against and 5 abstentions, and the rejection of an amendment looking to entirely reject the compromise amendment, the ITRE committee has taken a clear stand.

EBC has been supporting a fair and realistic revision of the EPBD that takes construction SMEs and crafts on board. Indeed, the recast of the EPBD is an essential step to foster the energy efficiency of buildings on the way to reach the goals of the European Green Deal and the Renovation Wave.

EBC has analysed the compromise deal, which incorporates extensive changes to the European Commission’s proposal. Therefore, EBC voiced its general support for the Report and its compromise amendment to ITRE MEPs. The report incorporates several elements pointing in the right direction, including many proposals put forward by construction SMEs.

However, construction SMEs and crafts feel compelled to stress that a number of provisions still need improvement as they could prove problematic and affect their contribution to decarbonisation efforts.

More specifically, EBC welcomes the following provisions:

  • One-stop-shops (OSS) for energy efficiency in buildings, which the Parliament enshrines in a dedicated article (15a). EBC has been advocating strongly for the need to upgrade the role of OSS in the EPBD. Provisions on the need for a greater density of OSS, but also the need to secure their financing in the long run, including through the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility in cooperation with the European Investment Bank will strengthen this important tool for citizens and SMEs.
  • On Minimum Energy Performance Standards, the explicit mention to the lack of a skilled workforce is positive, coupled with a mandate for Member States to address it. The inclusion of grants as a way to support renovation is also welcomed, as are provisions on storage and self-consumption of renewable energy. The introduction of an Energy Performance Renovation Fund is positive but more needs to be done to define its role and source of finance.
  • Ambition for the deployment of Solar Energy in Buildings, notably through the installation of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies atop building rooftops.
  • Provisions on financial incentives, skills and market barriers, notably the specific mentions to EU Funds and the earmarking of grants or guarantees, as well as measures targeted particularly to the support of SMEs and micro companies and gender dimensions.
  • The reform of National Building Renovation Plans, as it includes positive aspects on the securing of necessary skills, vulnerable households and energy poverty, as well as a link with the Construction Products Regulation, and a pathway with numerical targets for the deployment of solar energy.
  • Provisions on Energy Performance Certificates as they will benefit of a clear EU framework, much more credible and streamlined.
  • Provisions on heating technologies for new, existing and renovated buildings, which will allow for a bottom-up approach allowing all renewable-ready heating technologies to contribute to the transition.
  • Definition and provisions of the “pay-as-you-save financial scheme”.
  • On Renovation Passports, the provisions detailing that Member States shall ensure that they are financially accessible and their cost should not inhibit renovation.
  • Additions regarding minimum energy performance requirements for renovation of monuments.
  • Due consideration of flexibility needs for factors such as changes in energy prices, building materials and labour costs in the context of the calculation of cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements.
  • Provisions on Databases for energy performance of buildings to go in the direction of ensuring coherence and communication/interoperability between different digital tools and databases.

In contrast, EBC points out that the following provisions would create additional difficulties for construction SMEs and crafts and should be modified, improved or removed:

  • The timelines put forward for Minimum Energy Performance Standards are more realistic that the original proposals by the rapporteur. They could however still present major challenges for homeowners and SMEs in several member states.
  • The timelines and ambition for a lot of the reforms put forward, including on Worst-Performing Buildings, Zero-Emission Buildings, are too ambitious for SMEs. EBC calls for more realistic timelines based on the Commission’s proposal and impact assessment.
  • The definitions of certain concepts, such as the one of ‘secondary material’ and ‘bill of materials’ might be too restrictive. Defining broad concepts such as ‘circularity’ and ‘sufficiency’ in the context of the EPBD could lead to the introduction of severe restrictions in the future if retained and should therefore be removed.
  • The proposal to include elements on life-cycle Greenhouse Gas emissions in the renovation process and in Renovation Passports should be left out as it would add administrative burden with no clear EU-wide framework thereof.
  • With regard to Technical Building Systems, the provisions proposed by the compromise amendment indiscriminately add too many costs for renovations and new buildings, by making the use of technical building systems practically mandatory in most renovations and new buildings. The timelines for these measures are also problematic. These additional costs and restraints could inhibit renovation by adding unnecessary costs.
  • The report suggests that National Building Renovation Plans should include additional provisions of life-cycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) benchmarking and ambitious timelines for whole life-cycle emissions with references to concepts oddly defined such as sufficiency and circularity. EBC recommends opting for the original formulations put forward by the Commission thereof.
  • When it comes to new buildings, the timelines and ambition should be kept at the levels proposed by the Commission, especially on provisions related to life cycle GWP.

EBC will continue to express the needs of SMEs and crafts in the construction sector so that their considerations are taken into account in the subsequent trilogue negotiations and will continue to work with MEPs for an ambitious EPBD that corresponds to the reality of the construction sector.

To read the full press release, click here.

To read EBC’s feedback on the EC proposal for the revision of the EPBD, click here