7 January 2022
On 15 December 2021, the European Commission published its proposal for a revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The main objective behind the review is to align this key regulation with the EU’s goal of reducing GHG emissions by 50% by 2030. The proposal translates the Commission’s RENOVATION WAVE STRATEGY from October 2020 into legislative action by introducing new energy performance standards for buildings with the worst energy performance and new constructions.
Renovation of buildings with a low energy performance
The proposal focuses on the worst performing buildings and intended to prioritise the most cost-effective renovations as well as helping to alleviate energy poverty.
The proposal also provides a definition for high-quality Energy Performance Certificate and a harmonised approach to EPC scales. An EPC grade G, the lowest grade, now indicates that the building is within the lowest performing 15% of the Member State’s building stock. At the other end of the scale, an EPC of A indicates a net-zero building.
The new standards require that public and non-residential buildings reach EPC grade F by 2027, which is tightened to EPC E by 2030; while all residential buildings are required to attain EPC F by 2030, and EPC E by 2033.
The new Directive will also require member states to publish National Building Renovation Plans by 2025. These plans should spell the strategy for achieving a net-zero building stock by 2050 and phase out fossil fuels from heating and cooling by 2040.
All new buildings to be net-zero by 2030
Under the new proposal all new builds should be net-zero (EPC A) by 2030. In practice, this means that all on-site energy consumption must be powered by renewable energy where technically feasible.
The Commission has prioritised the phase-out of fossil fuel powered heating systems in new buildings and has proposed that no public financial support should be provided for the installation of fossil fuel boilers by 2027. In recognition of the varying levels of reliance upon gas boiler systems across EU Member States, it does not introduce an EU-wide ban but provides the legal basis for Member States to introduce bans on fossil fuel use in buildings.
Furthermore, it proposes that new builds must display their global warming potential based on Life Cycle Analysis of the construction materials within their EPC. However, critics of the proposal have pointed to the fact that no limits on life cycle emissions have been set in the proposal. Given the known impact of emissions from non-use phases of a building’s lifetime, caps on whole life carbon emissions from new construction are to be expected in the near future.
The Commission’s proposal will now go through the EU legislative process with view of being adopted within the next 2 years. Member states will then be required to transpose measures into national law.
Longevity’s experts are closely monitoring trends in the EU policy framework for the energy performance of buildings. Our team can support you in understanding the specific implications these developments may have on your operations.