The European Parliament and Council provisionally agreed on December 19 on new measures to ensure that all buildings in the European Union are as energy-efficient as possible by 2050.
The Directive for Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) and is part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package presented in November 2016, and the first one to reach a provisional agreement.
The text of the provisional agreement requires Member States to establish national long-term strategies to support the renovation of the national stock of residential and non-residential buildings, targeting an emissions reduction in the EU by 80-95 % compared to 1990 and cost-efficient contribution to the energy efficiency targets in Europe by ensuring a highly energy efficient and decarbonised national building stock.
The roadmap shall include indicative milestones for 2030, 2040 and 2050, the negotiators further agreed, and those strategies must be used to address issues such as health and indoor climate and obstacles to renovations and provide access to financing assistance.
At least one in every five parking spaces will have to be equipped with basic electrical infrastructure for vehicles in all new non-residential buildings and those undergoing major renovation, with more than 10 parking spaces. In addition, at least one recharging point has to be provided.
As regards the residential buildings, the provisional agreement requires the installation of cabling infrastructure necessary for the installation at a later stage of recharging points for electric vehicles.
Monitoring energy performance
By the end of 2019, the European Commission will have to develop a concept for a common European Union scheme for rating the smart readiness of buildings and a method to calculate and introduce it. This would be a measuring tool to help manage and reduce the demand of energy in buildings, while adapting the building to the needs of the occupant.
“We take an important step to ensure that our buildings contribute to a decarbonised and energy efficient economy – to the benefit of both the climate and the wallets of European citizens and businesses,” rapporteur Bendt Bendtsen, a Member of the European Parliament from Denmark, said.
“We have agreed using the Directive as a driver for rolling out infrastructure for electrical cars, and made sure to safeguard the incentives to renovate, keeping the cost of electro-mobility at a reasonable level and limiting the burdens on our smaller households and SMEs,” he added.
The provisional agreement needs to be formally approved by the Parliament and the Council before entering into force.
The European Commission welcomed the agreement. Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič noted that the fight against climate change starts “at home”, given that over a third of EU’s emissions is produced by buildings. “By renovating and making them smart, we are catching several birds with one stone – the energy bills, people’s health, and the environment. And as technology has blurred the distinction between sectors, we are also establishing a strong link between buildings and e-mobility infrastructure, and helping stabilize the electricity grid. Let’s stay on high gear,” he said.
For his part, European Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added that as the first agreement on a proposal of the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package, this is a step in the right direction. “But I would have preferred to see a more ambitious commitment to e-vehicles charging points for non-residential buildings,” he said. “This would have been more consistent with our commitments under the Paris Agreement and the European clean mobility strategy. But the new buildings directive will help create local jobs, save consumers money and improve our quality of life. I now call on the European Parliament and the Council to show ambition and complete the rest of the proposals of the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package,” Cañete added.