Objective zero emissions? The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

Brussels, 6 February 2008 – In its last report on the implementation of the EU Energy Performance of Building Directive, published on Monday, the European energy network (ENR) underlined the necessity for the EU to set out a deadline by which all new buildings should be required to have zero net energy demand and carbon emissions.

The authors formulate several other recommendations to enhance the impact of the directive, but also confirm that its application by governments has so far been “disappointingly slow”, particularly when it comes to energy performance certificates; such certificates are fully operational in a few member states, and only for new build homes.

Far from being over-pessimistic, the report also highlights the progress achieved in the member states, saying that two-thirds of EU countries have now put in place a methodology for calculating the energy performance of new and renovated buildings, as required under the directive. In addition, 80 per cent of them have energy performance standards in place for new build in the residential and public sectors.

According to the report, commercial, small and existing buildings still lag behind in the implementation of the directive, leading the authors to recommend extra efforts in these sectors, asking for example the EU to lower the size threshold under which renovated building are not subjected to minimum performance requirements, or urging the member states to “establish effective enforcement systems to ensure that the building regulations on new build and major refurbishment of existing buildings are actually met”. 

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