Greening real estate in the EU: the road to zero-emission buildings
As a part of the "Fit for 55" package for a climate neutral Europe by 2050, a recast of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is currently being adopted. Although still in the legislative process, the new EPBD clearly will impose stricter requirements for energy efficiency of buildings, with the plan to achieve zero-emission and fully decarbonised building stock by 2050. The three main aspects of the revised legislation are described below.
Stricter energy efficiency targets
The energy efficiency standard for new buildings will be updated from near zero-energy to zero-emission (ZEB). ZEB will be defined as a building with very high energy performance, where the very low amount of energy consumed is covered by energy produced by the building itself or from locally produced renewables. This standard will apply to new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities from 2027 and to all new buildings from 2030. Member States will have to adopt a national building renovation plan implementing a step-by-step roadmap for all buildings to achieve the ZEB standard by 2050.
Push for renovations
The recast EPBD will introduce minimum energy performance standards to accelerate the rate of renovation, with a focus on deep renovations of the worst performing buildings. Public and non-residential buildings will have to improve their energy performance from class G (lowest) to class F by 2027 and class E by 2030. Residential buildings will have to achieve class F by 2030 and class E by 2033.
New energy performance certificates
The new energy performance certificates will be more comprehensible, reliable and comparable across the EU. All energy performance certificates will be accessible in a public national database. On-site visits and quality control will be required when issuing the certificates to increase their quality and accuracy.
Impact of the recast EPBD
Although the recast EPBD will increase the costs of construction projects, the plan is to accelerate renovation and enhance the incorporation of renewable energy sources and sustainable design features in buildings. Besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the impact of rising energy prices and improving the comfort of older buildings, the recast EPBD should create new business opportunities in sustainability and energy efficiency services.