STRASBOURG – In the spirit of the EU Energy Union, Members of the European Parliament meeting for the plenary session in Strasbourg set a goal of creating near zero-energy buildings in the EU by 2050.

EU member states must develop national long-term strategies to support cost-saving renovation of public and private buildings, with a view to reducing emissions in the EU by 80-85% compared to 1990 levels, MEPs said, noting that these long-term goals to renovate the existing building stock ensure investment certainty and new financing tools for citizens and businesses.

The updated legislation was voted through with 546 for, 35 against and 96 abstentions.

Danish MEP Bendt Bendtsen, who is the rapporteur of the updated legislation, said the successful revision of the buildings directive is a clear signal that the EU is serious about our international climate commitments and about completing the Energy Union.

“Buildings have a fundamental role to play in these efforts: we set a clear direction for improving our buildings in Europe. We will give investors certainty that energy renovation is an area of priority for the future,” he said.

According to the European Parliament, the national strategies will provide roadmaps to a highly decarbonised national building stock by 2050, with indicative milestones for 2030 and 2040, and measurable progress indicators will have to be put in place to monitor the implementation of the national strategies.

The new directive will introduce electro-mobility requirements for new buildings and those undergoing major renovations, such as the location of at least one recharging point for electric vehicles in buildings with more than ten parking spaces, the MEPs said, adding it will also require the installation of cabling infrastructure for recharging electric vehicles.

The text introduces the “smart readiness indicator”, a new tool to measure the ability of buildings to improve their operation and interaction with the grid while adapting energy consumption to the real needs of the occupant.

The European Commission will have to develop this concept by the end of 2019.

According to the European Parliament, new and existing buildings where heat generators are replaced must have automated devices to regulate temperature levels, while rules on the inspection of heating and air conditioning systems and building automation are to be tightened.