Commission seeks to improve Energy Efficiency of Buildings

The European Commission released on 30 November a new package of measures designed to keep the European Union competitive as the clean energy transition changes global energy markets. The "Clean Energy for All Europeans" legislative package includes nine legislative proposals along with seven non-legislative communications and reports, in which the EU commits to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030, and sets a target of at least 27% of all energy consumed to come from renewable sources.


The new proposals cover energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, security of electricity supply and governance rules for the Energy Union. In addition, the Commission proposes a new way forward for Eco-design as well as a strategy to renovate Europe's buildings.

For instance, in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) the Commission proposed changes to speed up energy-efficient renovation in the EU from the current, annual 0.4-1.2% rate. The EPBD proposal requires member states to produce a strategy on how to decarbonise their housing stock by 2050, with interim goals by 2030. It also calls for the introduction of a smartness indicator, rating the readiness of a building to adapt to the needs of the occupant and the grid and to improve its performance, and building automation and energy monitoring systems as an alternative to inspections. The EPBD also aims to boost electric vehicle uptake by requiring the installation of recharging points at buildings with more than ten parking spaces.

Other proposals relevant to buildings include the Eco-design working plan 2016-2019 setting out the European Commission's priorities, including reviews of existing measures and studies such as the Building Automation and Control Systems; proposals for a Governance of the Energy Union Regulation, comprising requirements for Member States' Integrated National Energy and Climate plans for 2021 to 2030, including planning and reporting on measures under the EED and EPBD (including national renovation strategies); and a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive, including obligations for renewable energy use in heating and cooling.

Relevant measures are also tabled in a Communication on accelerating clean energy in buildings that addresses the issue of skills in the construction sector, and emphasizes the importance of smart financing for smart buildings which sets out the European Commission's intentions to:

  • Ensure more efficient use of public funding, through developing financing models, platforms and templates
  • Support aggregation and provide assistance for project development
  • Improve understanding of the risks and benefits of energy efficiency investments, through launching the De-risking Energy Efficiency Platform (DEEP), the largest pan-EU, open-source evidence-base for energy efficiency investment performance monitoring and benchmarking, with 7,800+ industrial and building-related energy efficiency projects.

Last but not least, the Communication on accelerating clean energy innovation highlights the need for more energy storage solutions, faster adoption of existing energy efficiency technologies in buildings, and the empowerment of consumers.

The EC foresees that by mobilizing up to €177 billion of public and private investment per year from 2021, this package can generate up to a 1% increase in GDP over the next decade and create 900,000 new jobs.



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