New Europe-wide legislation to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and encourage building renovation has been approved by the European Parliament and the European Council.

The updated legislation amends the 2010 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which set minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings and major renovation projects. So what’s new?

National renovation roadmaps

Member states are required to develop long-term renovation strategies to achieve an energy efficient and decarbonised European building stock by 2050. The strategies must set mid-term goals for 2030 and 2040 and define milestones with measurable progress indicators.

According to the Commission's impact assessment, renovation at an average rate of 3% annually is needed to accomplish the Union's energy efficiency ambitions in a cost-effective manner.

As a matter of priority, national renovation strategies should address financial mechanisms, incentives and the mobilisation of financial institutions for energy efficiency renovations in buildings. This could include:

  • Encouraging energy efficient mortgages for certified energy efficient building renovations;
  • Promoting investments by public authorities in energy efficient building stock, for example through public-private partnerships or optional energy performance contracts, reducing the perceived risk of the investments;
  • Providing accessible and transparent advisory tools and assistance instruments such as one-stop-shops that provide integrated energy renovation services.

The need to alleviate energy poverty must also be taken into account. Member States should provide clear guidelines and outline measurable, targeted actions as well as promote equal access to financing, including for the worst performing segments of the national building stock, energy-poor consumers, and social housing.

Smart readiness and e-charging

The proposal also aims to future-proof Europe’s building stock in the face of rapidly changing digital and energy landscapes.

To encourage the uptake of smart technologies the European Commission will establish a ‘Smart Readiness Indicator’ for rating the adaptability of individual buildings.

Concretely the indicator will consider the readiness of buildings to integrate devices such as smart meters, building automation and control systems, self-regulating devices for indoor temperature, built-in home appliances, recharging points for electric vehicles, and energy storage.

Further specific obligations were included for recharging points for electric vehicles: from 2025 onwards, all non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces will be required to install a minimum number of recharging points.

First of many…

The revised directive is the first of eight proposals in the Clean Energy Package proposed by the Juncker Commission. Directives on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will be adopted in the coming months.

More information

Read the updated directive in full.

Read our new Policy Brief on Governance Change for Energy Efficiency in Buildings