EU Council adoption of recast EPBD: EBC and its construction SMEs call for quality implementation

On 12 April, the Council of the European Union (EU) formally approved the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), marking the end of an intense legislative process started in 2021. Despite reservations by a minority of Member States, the agreement gathered the support of most EU Energy Ministers. The now finalised revision of the directive lays the foundations for a needed boost in renovation activity in Europe’s construction  sector and built environment.

EBC and its construction SMEs have repeatedly called upon EU policymakers to support the final text of the agreement reached among co-legislators in December 2023. The industrious interinstitutional negotiations indeed led to a balanced compromise, that should now now provide a stable regulatory framework and leave room for a quality practical implementation to empower construction SMEs to deliver on the Renovation Wave.

The new EPBD introduces and reforms the rules of important elements, such as Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for residential and non-residential buildings, National Building Renovation Plans (NBRPs), One-Stop-Shops (OSS), Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), Zero-Emission Buildings (ZEB), life-cycle Global Warming Potential (GWP), a phase-out of the use of fossil fuels in buildings, or a mandate for solar energy on building rooftops. At the same time, it has raised a number of practical issues that have yet to be resolved. These include the persisting lack of skilled labour in construction and the evolution of building trades, the long-term planning but also financing and funding of rules and tools aiming at climate neutrality by 2050, the financial capacity of citizens and small property owners to undertake small- or large-scale renovations, the access to affordable energy, or the practical application and subsequent costs of life-cycle GWP elements for small companies.

Echoing the first request of EBC messages for the next European legislature 2024-29our construction SMEs and crafts subsequently invite Member states and all relevant actors at national, regional, and local level to focus on an efficient, coherent, and inclusive transposition of the recast EPBD, that will foster energy efficient renovation and will significantly improve our buildings. These reforms are coupled with significant room for flexibility, allowing for an implementation that strives towards common goals adapted to the realities and particular conditions of each Member State.

While the close monitoring of national transposition will be key, EBC also calls upon the European Commission to swiftly and carefully develop the different secondary legal acts and complementary documents foreseen in the Directive, that should determine important elements still to be defined, such as the delegated acts on an EU framework for the national calculation of life-cycle GWP, on minimum energy performance requirements, on the smart readiness of buildings, or the guidance on what qualifies as a fossil fuel boiler.

EBC has advocated for an EPBD that is both ambitious on fostering energy efficiency towards a decarbonised building stock by 2050 and at the same time takes on board crafts, micro, small and medium-sized construction companies, mostly active in the renovation market. Following this line, our organisation will contribute by sharing the experiences, good practices and bottlenecks faced by local construction SMEs in the accelerated setting in motion of the EPBD at national level.

The final legislative step at European level will be the translation and publication of the recast EPBD in the Official Journal of the European Union. Once it enters into force, Member States will dispose of two years to complete its transposition into national law.

To read the EBC messages for the EU legislature 2024-29, click here

To read the full press release, click here