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Comprehensive study of building energy renovation activities and the uptake of nearly-zero energy buildings in the EU

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Final report

Within the 2030 climate and energy framework, the European Union (EU) has committed to several key targets for 2021-2030. The overall target for 2030 is to cut the energy system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% as compared to the 1990 levels. Furthermore, the Renewable Energy Directive requires a binding minimum share of 32% of renewable energy for final energy use as EU-average.  The Energy Efficiency Directive sets an indicative target of at least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030 at EU level versus the projections.


A key measure to achieve these goals is the improvement of the energy performance of buildings. Therefore, energy renovation needs to be implemented to shift a low carbon building stock.


The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is the main policy instrument to tackle this challenge within both existing and new buildings. According to the EPBD, all new buildings are required to be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) from 2021 onwards (public buildings from 2019 onwards). The EPBD was revised as part of the “Clean Energy for all Europeans” package with two complementary objectives: (i) to accelerate the renovation of existing buildings by 2050; and (ii) to support the modernisation of all buildings with smart technologies and make a clearer link to clean mobility.


The objective of this study is to deliver a comprehensive analysis of the renovation activities and NZEB uptake in the EU from 2012 to 2016. Data was obtained through extensive desk research and three large-scale surveys with consumers, architects, and main contractors and installers in the EU28. The findings will be used to inform the design, monitoring and evaluation of energy efficiency policies.

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