Raising Standards of Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Some Issues to be Addressed in the Property Sector in Promoting the Renovation of the Existing Building Stock.

The European Commission is expected to publish within the next few months the long-awaited revision of the 2006 European Action Plan for Energy Efficiency. It is anticipated that there will be a focus on buildings, as an important source of potential energy savings. A great deal has already been achieved, particularly with regard to new buildings, but there remain issues to be addressed in promoting the renovation of Europe's existing building stock. Some of these issues are particularly relevant to property professionals, who deal with the practical effects of the implementation of European legislation. CEPI is drawing attention to certain problems which may affect the realization of energy saving measures.

CEPI supports the efforts of the EU to raise levels of energy efficiency in buildings and recognizes the further potential of buildings for greater efficiency, particularly with regard to the existing buildings stock. Practical and legal issues must be addressed in legislating for the energy efficiency of buildings whilst also respecting the principles of subsidiarity and private property rights. This raises important questions to be addressed at both national and European level.

The need for deep energy renovation has already been put forward on behalf of the construction sector. CEPI supports the argument for deep renovation but would like to draw attention to some of the difficult situations which can arise in practice when implementing renovation programmes. The renovation of buildings can involve different parties with varying interests resulting in difficult issues. National laws, particularly those relating to co-ownership, can give rise to situations which may delay or even prevent work from being carried out.

Property professionals need guidance in dealing with these complicated issues. Therefore in addition to targeted financial investment, which is vital to the completion of renovation work, CEPI calls for further investment in education and training for all those active in the property sector to provide the trained workforce required to meet the challenges of achieving the necessary goal of greater energy efficiency.

These views are set out in more detail in our position paper (September 2010).