EU reaches agreement on energy savings in buildings

A compromise agreement was reached in November on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. All buildings built after 31 December 2020 must have high energy-saving standards and be powered to a large extent by renewable energy. CEPI welcomes the agreement and the positive effect it will have on energy savings in buildings. 
On 17 November the European Council and the European Parliament reached a compromise agreement on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. By the end of 2020 Member States must ensure that all newly-constructed buildings have a "very high energy performance", and their energy needs must be covered to a very significant extent from renewable sources, including energy produced on-site or nearby. Member States must also draw up national plans for increasing the number of nearly zero energy buildings and, by mid-2011, make a list of financial and other incentives for the transition.

Existing buildings will have to improve their energy performance after major renovations, if technically feasible. This will mean encouragement to use the renovation for improvements such as installing smart meters and replacing existing heating with high-efficiency alternatives. Energy performance certificates will be required for any buildings constructed, sold or rented out to a new tenant, and buildings where over 500 m² (to be lowered to 250m² after five years) will be occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public.

There are exemptions from these requirements for small houses (less than 50m² of floor area), holiday homes used for less than four months a year, buildings for religious activities, temporary buildings used for two years or less, industrial sites, workshops and agricultural buildings with low energy demand and protected historic buildings where an energy-efficiency measure would "unacceptably alter their character or appearance".

Also on 17 November, agreement was reached on a new Labelling Directive which will add more classes to energy labels for household appliances. It extends energy labelling from household goods to all energy-related products, like windows and outer doors.

The compromise texts still have to be formally approved by the Council and the Parliament, and are expected to be adopted early in 2010. (14/12/2009)