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Energy efficient buildings – Presidency secures provisional deal with European Parliament

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On Tuesday 19 December 2017, the Estonian presidency reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a revised directive on the energy performance of buildings. The outcome of the trilogue will be presented to EU ambassadors on December 20, with the final analysis and approval of the agreement expected to take place at the beginning of 2018.


The directive encourages energy efficiency and will increase energy savings in the building sector. It takes into account recent technological developments, thus bringing the existing rules up to date. The new simplified framework will cover the speed, quality and effectiveness of building renovation, with the long-term aim of moving to the decarbonisation of buildings.


As a result, the energy consumption of buildings in the EU, currently accounting for 40% of total energy, will decrease, contributing significantly to reaching the EU's 2020 and 2030 energy efficiency targets.


According to Kadri Simson, Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of the Republic of Estonia "Increasing energy-efficiency is a no-brainer: it’s one of the cheapest and most effective ways of reducing our energy consumption and contributing to our climate goals. Considering how much energy is consumed in buildings, getting this element right is crucial. It also has the additional benefit of reducing people’s energy bills. I believe we have reached a deal that will deliver the savings we need in a realistic way and I hope the member states can endorse the agreement next year"


Member States (MS) are now required to establish long-term renovation strategies to focus building renovation investment on highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050. To guide investment decisions, MS will have to pay particular attention to mechanisms aimed at involving SMEs, target the worst-performing building stock and reduce the perceived risks of energy efficiency operations for investors.  


A new feature compared to the existing regulation is that the revised directive promotes electro-mobility by setting minimum requirements in buildings with more than ten parking spaces to roll out recharging points for electric cars. In new non-residential buildings and non-residential building undergoing major renovations, the installation of at least one recharging point, and ducting infrastructure to enable the installation of recharging points for electric vehicles, will be required for at least one in every five parking space. MS will set up the requirements for the installation of a minimum number of recharging points to all non-residential buildings with more than twenty parking spaces by 2025.


In order to assess the readiness of buildings to adapt their operation to the needs of the occupants, a voluntary Smart Readiness Indicator will be developed by the Commission.


The revised directive will clarify the setup of energy performance databases, should MS decide to voluntarily use them. Data collection will be limited to public buildings for which an energy performance certificate has been issued and data protection will be ensured by making anonymised data available solely for research purposes and to the building owner.


Inspections of heating and air conditioning systems in buildings are simplified. The new legislation recognises member states' competence to establish the appropriate inspection measures and the frequency of inspections. The uniform threshold for all inspections will be 70 kW. In addition, a feasibility study would be carried out to possibly introduce inspections for stand-alone ventilation systems. To simplify the process of increasing energy efficiency and rationalise the costs of inspections, effective alternatives, such as advice, can be put in place.


Buildings would be required to be equipped with automation and control systems by 2025 only when considered technically and economically feasible.


The digitalisation of the energy system is transforming and modernising the energy landscape at a fast pace. To make sure buildings operate efficiently, the new directive is aligned with the aims of the Digital Single Market and the Energy Union. The use of smart technologies and the integration of renewables to adjust and reduce energy consumption is encouraged as an integral part of future smart buildings.


Timeline & Next Steps


On 26 June 2017, the Council reached a general approach at the Council. The European Parliament endorsed the amendments to the proposal on 11 October 2017 in the ITRE Committee and during the plenary of 25 October 2017.


On 7 November and 5 December, two trilogues took place. Following this third and conclusive trilogue, the co-legislators will need to confirm the deal. EU ambassadors will be debriefed today, with a view to analysing and agreeing the provisional text in January.


Once formally adopted, the directive will be published in the Official Journal of the EU will follow, and the legislation will enter into force twenty days later. The transposition period for this legislation is 20 months.


For further information, please visit the relevant European Council webpage at the link below.