17 March 2021
Our Business Development teams have joined forces to offer you a short legislative update on all countries Longevity Partners has offices in. Discover the latest and most important environmental regulations, as well as upcoming regulations, in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany and the US
United Kingdom (by Amedeo Musini)
The European Green Deal is the new EU roadmap to achieve your climate and sustainability goals by 2050. It is still undergoing review and debate in the European Commission. The UK has made separate commitments and passed a net-zero regulation for when they leave the EU. Most notable for energy efficiency and the building sector, this Green Deal provides the opportunity for consumers to take out loans for energy efficiency property improvements via repayments on their energy bills.
In the updated Environment Bill, there are many changes to the waste regulatory landscape to transition the UK’s economy to become a circular economy. The Government will be including new extended producer responsibilities for the producers of plastic products to ensure that they are properly recycled.
This new Bill also seeks to provide more resilient water services across the UK. The Bill requires water companies to have longer time scales for planning water systems and wastewater systems. It also strengthens Ofwat’s powers to influence this future planning by modifying companies’ license to operate.
The Environment Bill also helps deliver commitments in the 2017 Litter Strategy to promote proportionate and effective enforcement against littering. It will provide powers to issue legal guidance to litter authorities while extending government’s existing powers to impose conditions to be met by those authorised to carry out enforcement activity.
The UK Government recently announced plans to make TCFD reporting mandatory for UK based companies. Mandatory reporting requirements are slated to be phased in over 2021-2025, starting with premium listed companies in 2021 (though it will initially be done on a comply-or-explain basis). This is more ambitious than EU regulations, where TCFD reporting is still voluntary under the NFRD guidelines.
France (by Bernard d‘Arche)
Règlementation Environnementale (RE 2020) – Environmental Regulation
RE2020 replaces RT 2012 and applies to all buildings. It stipulates that all new housing built from 2020 will necessarily generate more energy than they consume. The Regulations introduce for the first time a maximum threshold for carbon emissions, with the aim of eliminating gas and fuel oil uses from new buildings.
Loi relative à l’énergie et au climat (8/11/2019) – Energy-Climate Law
This law frames the government’s Net Zero Carbon objective for 2050. It includes the obligation for an asset (warehouse or shopping centre) to install solar panels on 30% of the roof surface. The Energy-Climate Law imposes works for inefficient buildings by 2028 and also requires that from 2022, the DPE of inefficient buildings will be supplemented by an energy audit.
Décret Tertiaire, 2020 – Elan law
This decree imposes a reduction in the energy consumption of the French commercial park. All existing buildings for tertiary use of more than 1,000 sqm are covered under this decree, including offices, shops, hotels, education, etc. Final energy consumption reduction targets are ambitious with -40% for 2030, -50% for 2040 and – 60% for 2050, applying to any tertiary building of more than 1000 sqm.
The Netherlands (by Olaf Amersfoort & Ralf Van Santen)
Office label C requirement
By 2023, every office building with a floor area larger than 100 m2 must have an energy performance certificate label C or higher. If an office does not meet the requirements by then, it may no longer be used for office purposes. In 2020, only a third of the office buildings were found to meet this standard. This means that substantial investments are required in the near future to ensure that the remaining 42,000 offices also comply.
Stricter requirements for all new developments were included in the Buildings decree on 1 January 2021. The BENG requirements focus on energy efficiency and decarbonisation. As a result, construction costs are estimated to increase by up to 16%. Among others, new builds will not be connected to the gas grid anymore. The BENG requirements do not cover existing buildings but future minimum energy performance standards can be expected, similar to the Office label C requirement.
Without a gas connection, buildings are bound to become more reliant on electrical heating solutions, thereby increasing electricity demand. Therefore, many subsidies and tax benefits were introduced in the past couple of years to make solar panels financially competitive. In the coming years, the subsidies will be less extensive while the ‘salderingsregeling’ will be phased out, e.g. crediting electricity supplied to the grid. As a result, the payback period for solar panels will increase, necessitating a stronger business case.
LP assists its clients by conducting energy & sustainability audits while, through the Longevity Power subsidiary, we conduct PV feasibility studies to provide turn-key solutions. With the recently published BREEAM In-Use Residential scheme, we can now also certify residential assets next to commercial assets.
On future legislations:
Phasing out fossil fuels under the BENG requirements is part of a broader plan of the Dutch government to reach net-zero by 2050. Consequently, stricter and more comprehensive legislation can be expected within this decade. Meanwhile, legislation at European level, e.g. the EU Taxonomy, the SFDR, and the Renovation Wave Strategy, will also transpire into Dutch legislation.
Germany (by Julian Marwitz)
,,Bundesförderung für effiziente Gebäude“ (BEG).
Around 35 % of all energy consumption within Germany is used for heating and warm water in buildings. The government wants to achieve carbon zero in all buildings in Germany by 2050. To reach this goal, you need energy-efficient buildings and a higher percentage of renewable energy. From 2021 onwards, the government has newly structured its funding for energy in buildings with the so-called „Bundesförderung für effiziente Gebäude“ (BEG).
All former existing programmes in this sector (CO2-refurbishment programme for buildings, incentive for using renewable energy in the heating market) will be bundled in the new regulation BEG. It consists of three parts that will be offered either in a grant function or in a debt function. It can be used for refurbishment and new construction of residential (BEG WG) or non-residential (BEW NWG) and single measures for residential and non-residential (BEG EM).
In November 2020, the new „Gebäudeenergiegesetz“ (GEG) was introduced. The fomer regulations EnEG, EnEV and EEWärmeG will be replaced by this new regulation, simpliyfing the requirements for energy effiency and the use of renewable energy in new construction/refurbishment.
The GEG defined the requirments for energy quality in buildings, the creation and usage of energy certificates and usage of renewable energy for heating and cooling. Hereby it is also implementing the European directive for energy efficiency in buildings and is determining the requirements for a passive house. The new rule embraces economic considerations and openness for technology.
United States of America (by Anneli Tostar)
Local Law 84: NYC Benchmarking Law – New York City, NY : Requirement for all buildings > 25,000 sq ft to post their energy efficiency score, based on Energy Star rating. More information here.
Building Energy Performance Standards- Washington, D.C : Requirement that owners of buildings > 10,000 sq ft meet energy efficiency thresholds. More information here.
Numerous cities in California have also passed electrification initiatives, meaning that natural gas lines are banned in all new construction (of certain property types).Requires all-electric space and water heating in new residential buildings, accessory dwelling units, and major remodels. More information here.
San Mateo – Requires new residential buildings and buildings with office-use to be all-electric. Adds additional requirements for rooftop solar and electric vehicle charging. More information here.
San Luis Obispo – Requires additional energy efficiency and electrification readiness for all newly constructed buildings and adds a small fee for new mixed-fuel buildings based on expected gas consumption. More information here.
Santa Cruz – Requires all electric new construction with exemptions for projects that are deemed to be in the public interest and for restaurant cooking. More information here.