The Commission recommended today that building energy performance standards be aligned with the European Green Deal, with the goal of decarbonizing the EU’s building portfolio by 2050. This plan would make it easier for Europeans to renovate their houses, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and other facilities in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and energy expenses, increasing the quality of life for millions of people. The Commission’s Renovation Wave Strategy is being translated into tangible legislative action with today’s amendment of the energy performance of buildings regulation.
“Stimulating rehabilitation of houses and other structures boosts economic recovery and offers new job prospects,” stated Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. Furthermore, energy remodeling results in decreased energy costs, so the investment pays for itself in the end. Today’s proposal on building energy performance aims to enhance the pace of energy renovation across the EU by focusing on the barriers to renovation and providing financial support for the necessary upfront expenditure. Its emphasis on the worst-performing structures prioritizes the most cost-effective upgrades and aids in the battle against energy poverty.”
“Buildings are Europe’s single greatest energy user, utilizing 40% of our energy and emitting 36% of our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy. Because most buildings in the EU are inefficient and still run on fossil fuels, this is the case. We must act quickly since over 85 percent of today’s buildings will still be standing in 2050, when Europe must achieve carbon neutrality. Improving our houses is also a good way to combat rising energy costs: the EU’s worst-performing buildings use many times as much energy as new or properly refurbished structures. And it’s usually the most vulnerable who live in the least energy-efficient homes and hence have the most difficulty paying their bills. Renovations minimize buildings’ energy footprints and family energy expenses while simultaneously stimulating economic activity and employment development.”
According to the Commission, all new buildings must be zero-emission by 2030. To take use of the public sector’s potential for speedier action, all new public buildings must be zero-emission by 2027. This implies that buildings must use minimal energy, be powered as much as feasible by renewables, generate no on-site carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and report their global warming potential on their Energy Performance Certificate based on their whole-life cycle emissions.
When it comes to renovations, new EU-wide minimum energy performance criteria are being suggested, requiring the worst-performing 15% of each Member State’s building portfolio to be upgraded from Grade G to at least Grade F by 2027 for non-residential buildings and 2030 for residential structures. This first concentration on the worst-performing buildings achieves the twin goals of boosting decarbonisation potential and alleviating energy poverty.
Energy performance certifications are crucial guidelines for investing, buying, and renting decisions since they make information about energy use publicly available. Energy Performance Certificates will be clearer and contain more information as a result of today’s recommendations. Buildings undergoing substantial renovations, buildings for which a rental contract is renewed, and all public buildings are now required to get an energy performance certificate. All buildings or building units for sale or rent must have a certificate, and the energy performance class must be disclosed in all marketing. By 2025, all certificates must be graded on a standardized A to G scale.
National Energy and Climate Plans will be completely linked with National Buildings Renovation Plans. This will provide comparability and progress tracking, as well as a direct relationship to finance and triggering the necessary changes and investments. These plans will need to include timelines for phase-outs of fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040 at the very latest, as well as a path to convert the whole national building portfolio to zero-emission buildings by 2050.
Consumers benefit from easier access to information and reduced costs, which helps to encourage refurbishment. The current proposal proposes a ‘Renovation passport’ for buildings, which gives owners a tool to help them plan and renovate their buildings step by step toward zero-emissions status. The proposal defines’mortgage portfolio standards’ as a method to encourage potential customers to make their properties more energy efficient while also incentivizing lenders to enhance the energy efficiency of their portfolio of buildings. The Commission further encourages Member States to explore renovations in public and private financing policies and to provide suitable tools, particularly for low-income households. As of 2027, no financial incentives should be granted for the installation of fossil fuel boilers, and Member States should have the legal authority to prohibit the use of fossil fuels in buildings.
The new standards call for the creation of digital building databases and encourage the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and smart technologies to guarantee that buildings run efficiently. In terms of transportation, the idea encourages the installation of electric car charging infrastructure in residential and commercial buildings, as well as additional dedicated parking space for bicycles.
The Commission’s “Fit for 55” recommendations to deliver on the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law include a reform of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. It complements the other elements of the July 2021 package, which established the goal of having a zero-emission building stock by 2050. It is a critical legislative tool for achieving the 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation targets: buildings consume 40% of the energy consumed in the EU and account for 36% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions; heating, cooling, and domestic hot water account for 80% of the energy consumed by households.
The Commission is adamant about reducing energy poverty. In the EU, about 30 million building units consume excessive energy (at least 2.5 times more than normal structures), driving increasing household energy expenses. In the present climate of high energy prices, the advantages of lower energy bills are even more important. People who live in the worst-performing buildings and those who are experiencing energy poverty would benefit from refurbished and improved structures, as well as lower energy bills and protection from future market price hikes and volatility.
The amended directive’s provisions will increase the rate of refurbishment, resulting in more local jobs and support for innovation diffusion and SMEs. Increased remodeling intensity need enough capacity and a qualified team.
A Staff Working Document describing alternative possibilities for a transition road toward a more resilient, greener, and digital construction environment has been issued alongside today’s package. The Commission is inviting Member States, industry stakeholders, and all other relevant actors to participate actively in co-creating a vision for the future of the construction ecosystem via this paper. An EU Survey, which is available until February 28, 2022, can give further information, thoughts, and proposals for tangible actions, commitments, and investments.