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EU Energy Policy:
Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

Updated: December 2014

The EPBD require countries to gradually increase energy efficiency requirements for buildings, leading to requirements for near zero energy buildings in 2020. These requirements are introduced in national building codes in the 28 EU countries.

Index of this Page:

· Overview of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) Read

· Implementation of the EPBD Read

· The EPBD Can Boost Energy Efficiency. Read
· INFORSE Recommendation for Implementation Read  
· A Bit of History Read

Overview of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD)

The main elements of the EPBD, Directive 2010/31/EU, are:
Energy efficiency requirements should be set to cost-optimal levels.
· Energy efficiency requirements shall be gradually increased to reach " near zero energy houses" for all new buildings in 2020 and for public buildings in 2018.
· Countries shall set energy efficiency requirements for technical building systems, such as heating systems, ventilation, windows, and other building envelop parts. This can be requirements for condensing boilers, high-efficiency heat pumps, low-energy windows, and energy eficienchy ventilation
· With major renovations of buildings, the renovated parts of the building shall be energy efficient, also when renovating small buildings
· Renewable energy and district heating shall be used, when it is cost-effective.
· Buildings shall be certified regarding energy efficiency when sold, and for larger buildings at regular intervals.

Read EU infomation on EPBD.

Implementation of the EPBD
The provisions of the EPBD are primarily implemented ny the EU countries via the national building codes. Implementation was in general done in 2013.
A major element of the implementation is to set efficiency requirements on cost-effective levels.To assist this, the EU Commision adopted a regulation with a Comparative Methodology Framework for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements for buildings and building elements (Regulation 244/2012. Read it here)

The EU Commission is evaluating the implementation of the EPBD. In 2013 it found that progress was insufficient for the work towards near zero energy buildings, but in 2014 it found that several cuntries have improved on this. In 2013 it also found the the energy certificates are valued by consumers, as houses with good enrgy certificates sell at higher prices.

The EPBD can Boost Energy Efficiency
In countries that have implemented the EPBD in ambitious ways, this will lead to large increase of energy efficiency, and large large volumes of imported energy as well as monetary savings.

INFORSE Recommendation for Implementation
Given that energy efficiency standards in national building codes have been one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of raising energy efficiency in EU countries, this Directive is very important for future increase in energy efficiency. The effect of it is, however, crucial dependant on the implementation in national legislation.

It is important that there are national debates about the implementation with focus on how to maximize the benefits of building regulation, Historically building codes have included relatively low requirements for energy efficiency and renewable energy in many EU countreis, leading to much higher energy consumption than the cost-effective level. Because most houses are built according to the standards, the users are trapped with these unnecessary high costs. New, stronger building codes can correct this problem.

In the implementation, the countries should give priority to passive solar energy above what is proposed in the Directive. Passive solar energy use should be taken into account in planning, orientation and positioning of houses; as well as in use and heating control of houses. There is also a need for inclusion of passive solar concepts in education. Furher the countries should give priority to micro-CHP, i.e. building-integrated CHP.

It is proposed that the limit for renovation of buildings to require current energy efficiency standards is set to renovations that costs above 10% of the value of the building.

Read INFORSE-Europe's proposals for implementations of the recast of EPBD in 2008: INFORSE on EPBD in 2008 (pdf file).
INFORSE-Europe Positions to Energy Service Directive and EPBD in 2007:
NFORSE on Energy Service and EPBD in 2007 (pdf file).

A Bit of History
Building regulation have historically not been part of EU regulation, as the EU started as a free market, and since building "does not ross boerder" they were not regulated by the EU. This changed when climate change became subject of EU regulation in the 1990's. Then the EU started to work for reductions of fossil fuel use, and since buildings in the EU are responsbile for some 40% of the energy use, they also became subject of the regulation. The EU regulation of buildings was further promoted with the conclusions of the European Climate Chnge Programme in 2000.
With this background the EU Commission proposed a directive that was adopted as the EPBD in 2002 and implemented in the EU countries until 2006. It required that energy efficiency requirements were included in building codes, that larger buildings had energy certificates, and others, but it did not mandate any specific level of requirements
In 2008, statred the recast of the Directive, leading to the more effective current EPBD.

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