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Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) - Recast 2008-2010

Updated: May 2010

Index of this Page:

· Recast of the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (2002/91/EC), May 2010. Read

· Compromise on “Building” Directive, November 2009. Read

· Recast Negotiated in Trialogue, October 2009. Read

· Public Consultation of EPBD, June 2008. Read
· Background Read

Recast of the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (2002/91/EC) adopted

In mid-May 2010 the recast of the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) was adopted. The Directive is expected to be published in the Official Journal in June.

This adoption happened after that the EU countries, the EU Parliament and the Commission agreed on compromise. And after a 5-year process of review and evaluation. There was also a consulting period during 08/06/2009 - 03/08/2009 in the internet. The consultation aimed to collect views from interested parties on the effectiveness and results of the Action Plan, and on how best the EU may identify and initiate improved policy actions and measures which contribute to a maximum extent to the EU's energy saving targets.

The Directive is the main legislative instrument at EU level to achieve energy performance in buildings. Under this Directive, the Member States must apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings.

The Directive seeks to enable the European Union
- to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 20 %,
- to reduce energy consumption by 20 % and
- to increase to 20 % the share of renewable energies in energy consumption
by 2020.

November 2009
Compromise on “Building” Directive

In mid-November 2009, the EU countries, Parliament and Commission agreed a compromise on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The main new elements are:

• Energy requirements for renovations, including those of smaller buildings.

• National requirements for “technical building systems” such as heating & ventilation systems as well as for components of the building envelope such as windows.

• New buildings shall be ”near zero energy buildings” after 2020, with energy coming mainly from renewables. Until then the countries shall make national plans for construction of new zero energy buildings. Starting in 2019, new public buildings shall be “near zero energy”.

• Harmonized methodology with a common framework for calculation of energy demands, with a view to reach cost-optimal levels. By June, 2011, the EU Commission shall establish a framework for calculating cost-optimal levels of energy requirements.

• After 2012 the countries shall strengthen energy requirements if they are significantly below cost-optimal levels.

• For new buildings, the feasibility of renewable energy, cogeneration, district heating and heat pumps shall be taken into account. This is also the case for buildings undergoing major renovations. In practice, a builder who does not want to choose any of these options must justify his/her choices.

• The countries shall encourage the use of intelligent metering systems.

The rules shall apply 2 1/2 years after the directive is finally approved.
The final approval is expected in the first half of 2010, in which case the new rules shall apply in all EU countries in the second half of 2012. The compromise retains some improvements over the existing directive, but it also misses some crucial opportunities. The strong requirements of “near zero energy buildings” are postponed to 2020, industrial sites and workshops are exempted, and the support schemes for energy efficiency that were proposed by the EU Parliament are only included as a recommendation.

October 2009

Recast Negotiated in Trialogue

In the negotiations between EU Parliament, Commission and the countries, the countries are reluctant to agree to many of the proposals of the Commission (the original proposal) and Parliament. Even simpler issues are difficult to solve: for instance an agreement on how countries can set higher requirements than the EU minimum for building systems (heating systems, ventilation systems etc., article 8 in the draft) ) have been discussed between the Parliament and the countries for weeks.
A big issue is the Parliament's demand that all new houses should be built as zero-energy houses by 2019. This is still far from being resolved. The countries want to exchange "zero-energy houses" with low-energy houses and the definition of low-energy houses is not very good. There are still hopes for a compromise before the end of this year 2009. Also the proposal of a common methodology for calculating heat consumption is questioned by the countries, as well as the proposal to have building codes to achieve cost-optimal houses. Instead the countries want to see the level to be cost-efficient. The plan of the Swedish presidency is still to have an agreement by the end of the year, but it might not be possible.

April 2009: The update of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive was voted by EU Parliament in April. The Parliament proposed to strengthen a number of elements including a requirement that new buildings become net-zero-energy buildings by 2019, stronger requirements for public authorities to lead in energy efficiency, introduction of smart meters, removal of legal and market barriers for energy efficiency, obligation of EU countries to have incentives for energy efficiency in buildings, and better information for building users.

November 13, 2008, the EU Commission launched its proposal for a new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as part of the Energy Security and Efficiency Package & Second Strategic Energy Review. The main changes of the new proposal (COM 2008/780) compared with the EPBD from 2002 are:
National promotion and national plans with clear targets for increasing the number of buildings with low CO2–emissions and primary energy consumption low
or equal to zero. Public authorities shall take a leading role with the buildings they occupy.
• Minimum energy performance for new and renovated buildings. National minimum energy performance requirements of buildings shall gradually approach cost-optimal levels in four steps. First the countries shall set cost-optimal requirements using their own methodology. Then the Commission will develop a comparative methodology and countries shall take part in a comparison. From 30 June 2014, countries shall only provide incentives for the construction or renovation of buildings which comply with minimum energy performance requirements based on harmonised calculation methods (as far as countries give such incentives). Finally, from 30 June 2017, reviews of minimum energy performance requirements shall include that these requirements are cost-optimal using the results of the harmonised calculation methodology.
• The obligation to consider renewable energy systems and district heating for new buildings is extended to all new buildings (now it is only required for buildings above 1000 m2).
• The threshold of 1000 m2 is deleted for meeting the national/regional minimum energy performance requirements when the buildings undergo major renovation. A major renovation is a renovation above 25% of the building value or with structural renovation of more than 25% of the building envelope.
• Minimum energy performance requirements for the installation of new or the replacement/major retrofit of technical installations (boilers, heat distributions systems, ventilation, etc.)
• Energy performance certificates: strengthened and clarified roles of their recommendations and the information they shall contain .Certificates shall be provided every time there is a property transaction and the prospective buyer or tenant must be informed of the energy performance of the building/flat in an early stage (advertisements etc.)
• Clarifications on the frequency and reporting for inspections of heating systems and air conditioning. This applies to boilers above 20 kW including solid fuel boilers, heating systems above 100 kW that are to be expected at least every second year, and air-conditioning above 12 kW. After an inspection, a report must be handed over to the owner or tenant of a building with recommendations for cost-effective improvements.
• Requirements for skills and independence of experts for building certificates and inspections of technical installations
• Independent control systems for the energy performance certificates and the inspection reports.
• National information campaigns on the use of building certificates and inspection reports.
• Penalties if the countries do not implement the provisions, depending on the size of the energy consumption
• The new directive shall be included in national legislation 31 December 2010 and fully implemented 31 January 2012 (if the directive is adopted in 2009).

The new provisions are expected to reduce the entire EU energy consumption with 6-8% in 2020, and reduce CO2 emissions similarly (if the Directive is adopted in 2009).

INFORSE-Europe welcomes the recast of the EPBD and is in favor of a rapid adoption and implementation of the new directive. With the adoption, the EU countries and Parliament must consider a few issues, including the treatment of heat pumps that should not be treated equal to other renewable energy sources because of their high electricity consumption.

Read the full directive text and introduction from the EU Commission here.

Public Consult
ation of EPBD
As a first step in the recast of the EPBD the EU Commission launched a public consultation until June 20, 2008.
Read INFORSE-Europe's contribution (pdf file 34kB) (June 2008)
Read the consultation and its background paper on the EU Commission’s web site.

Member States states had to implement the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive - EPBD (Directive 2002/91/EC) until January 2006, but first assessments in 2007-2008 showed many gaps. By April 2008, the EU Commission had initiated 17 infringement cases against Member States that have failed partially or completely to implement the Directive. Consequently, and the EU Commission decided to recast the Directive. The aim of the recasting is simplifying and clarifying the current Directive, strengthening certain requirements, redefining minimum thresholds for the implementation of the Directive, and making the role of national public sector and EU policies clearer.

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