- New buildings to be zero-emission from 2030
- Measures to help lower energy bills, fight climate change
- Buildings account for 36% of EU greenhouse-gas emissions
MEPs and the Spanish Presidency of the Council informally agreed on Thursday on plans to help reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions from the buildings sector.
The proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive aims to substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption in the EU building sector by 2030, and make it climate neutral by 2050. It also aims to have more worst-performing buildings renovated and improve information-sharing on energy performance.
All new buildings should be zero-emission as of 2030; new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities should be zero-emission as of 2028. Member states will be able to take into account the life-cycle global warming potential of the building, which includes the production and disposal of the construction products.
For residential buildings, member states will have to put in place measures to ensure a reduction in the average primary energy used of at least 16% by 2030 and at least 20 to 22% by 2035.
Member states will have to renovate the 16% worst-performing non-residential buildings by 2030 and, by 2033, the worst-performing 26% through minimum energy performance requirements.
If technically and economically suitable, member states would have to deploy solar installations progressively in public and non-residential buildings, depending on their size, and in all new residential buildings by 2030.
Phasing out fossil fuel boilers
Member states will adopt measures to decarbonise heating systems and phase out fossil fuels in heating and cooling with a view to completely phasing out fossil fuel boilers by 2040. Member states will also have to stop subsidising stand-alone fossil fuel boilers as of 2025. Financial incentives will still be possible for hybrid heating systems, such as those combining a boiler with a solar thermal installation or a heat pump.
Agricultural buildings and heritage buildings can be excluded from the new rules, while EU countries may decide to also exclude buildings protected for their special architectural or historical merit, temporary buildings, and churches and places of worship.
Rapporteur for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive Ciarán Cuffe (Greens/EFA, IE) said: “We have achieved something remarkable this evening. We created a blueprint for the transition towards a zero-emission building stock. With this plan, we add an essential pillar to the EU’s decarbonisation plans and begin the long journey towards reducing 36% of Europe’s CO2 emissions".
“That journey will begin with the buildings that are wasting the most energy. Energy wasted is money wasted on bills. We must help citizens to save money, and protect them from volatile energy prices. That is why we have chosen a route that can lower energy bills for everyone, homeowners and renters alike, and addresses the root causes of energy poverty”, he added.
The informal agreement now needs to be endorsed by both Parliament and Council in order to become law. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee will vote on the text on 23 January.
According to the European Commission, buildings in the EU are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. On 15 December 2021, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to revise the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, as part of the so-called ‘Fit for 55’ package. A new European Climate Law (July 2021) enshrined both the 2030 and the 2050 targets into binding European law.