On 14 March, the European Parliament adopted draft measures to increase the rate of renovations and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions in the EU building sector by 2030.
The proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive aims to make the sector climate-neutral by 2050. It also aims to increase the rate of renovations of energy-inefficient buildings and improve information-sharing on energy performance.
According to the European Commission, buildings in the EU are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.
All new buildings should be zero-emission from 2028, with the deadline for new buildings occupied, operated or owned by public authorities in 2026.
Residential buildings would have to achieve, at a minimum, energy performance class E by 2030, and D by 2033 - on a scale going from A to G, the latter corresponding to the 15% worst-performing buildings in the national stock of a member state. Non-residential and public buildings would have to achieve the same ratings by 2027 and 2030 respectively.
Rapporteur for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive Ciarán Cuffe (Greens/EFA, IE) said: “Soaring energy prices have put the focus on energy efficiency and energy saving measures. Improving the performance of Europe’s buildings will reduce bills and our dependence on energy imports.
"We want the directive to reduce energy poverty and bring down emissions, and provide better indoor environments for people’s health. This is a growth strategy for Europe that will deliver hundreds of thousands of good quality, local jobs in the construction, renovation, and renewable industries, while improving the well-being of millions of people living in Europe.”.
The European Biogas Association (EBA) praised the move, stating the European Parliament has clearly recognised the decarbonisation potential of heating technologies that are certified to run on renewable gases.
"Renewable energy sources in the heating and cooling sector are lagging behind and cover only 23% of energy consumption. In order to ensure that EU buildings are ready to positively contribute towards a carbon neutral, resilient and cost-effective energy system, all clean heating technologies will be needed," it said.
"Hybrid heat pumps and boilers running on renewable fuels are affordable, mature, and scalable solutions that can as of now complement electrification and play a fundamental role in phasing out fossil gas by 2050 and achieving the EU’s climate objectives.
"The upcoming interinstitutional negotiations within European Parliament and Council will be a precious opportunity to provide a level playing field for the further deployment of heating technologies running on renewable fuels."