State of the Energy Union

The European Commission has published its first State of the Energy Union Report. Energy Union is one of the key priorities of the Juncker Commission. The report reviews progress made since the adoption of the Energy Union Framework Strategy on 25 February 2015. It also details what remains to be done, with a strong focus on action to be taken in the building sector. A number of reports were adopted and published alongside the State of the Energy Union on 18 November 2015, including an energy efficiency progress report and factsheets for each EU Member State.

The State of the Union Report identifies key action areas for 2016 and provides policy conclusions at Member State, regional and European level. The report on progress in implementing the 2020 energy efficiency target of 20% by 2020 shows that the collective efforts of Member States correspond to only 17.6% primary energy savings. However, the Commission remains optimistic that the 20% target will be achieved, provided that existing EU legislation is fully implemented, efforts are accelerated, ambition levels increased and the investment conditions improved.

Buildings represent 40% of EU final energy consumption and about a quarter of non-ETS direct greenhouse gas emissions. Around 75% of the EU housing stock is energy-inefficient and more than two-thirds of the stock is expected to still be in use in 2050. Only a small proportion of the building stock undergoes major renovation each year, leaving outstanding potential for energy efficiency gains.

The European Commission is planning a number of actions to address these concerns. In 2016 it foresees legislative proposals to align the Energy Efficiency Directive to the 2030 indicative EU-level target. A particular focus will be on buildings. An evaluation has already begun of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. A strategy for heating and cooling is also planned for early 2016 as well as a smart financing for smart buildings initiative aimed at improving access to funding and stimulating investment in the building sector.

It is clear that 2016 will be an important year for energy efficiency in buildings, and that initiatives will be introduced which will be of great interest to all those working in the real estate sector.

Further information about the State of the Energy Union Report, and related documents, is available at