"Green" obligations regarding constructions

2019 | academic and other publication

The fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy dependency requires the application of additional obligations for new constructions. From this perspective, starting from 31 December 2020, building permits for new constructions in the private sector will be issued only if their energy consumption is close to zero.

Also, with respect to residential and non-residential buildings, new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovation, real estate developers must newly consider obligations to install recharging points for electrical vehicles.

These additional obligations will directly impact the cost of construction and will certainly influence real estate prices.

1. Buildings with close to zero energy consumption

At the European Union level, buildings are responsible for about 40 % of final energy consumption and 36 % of greenhouse gas emissions1. In terms of energy consumption at the national level, the residential and tertiary sector (office buildings, commercial spaces and other non-residential buildings) together account for 45 % of total energy consumption2. Considering the expansion trend in this sector, it is obvious that both energy and raw material consumption will increase, which will also lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

1.1 Applicable legal framework

From the perspective of EU legislation, energy efficiency is regulated mainly by Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council from 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings ("Directive 2010/31/EU").

Law No. 372/2005 on the energy performance of buildings ("Law 372/2005") fully transposes Directive 2010/31/EU into the national legislation, aiming to promote measures for increasing the energy performance of buildings by:

  • designing new buildings with low energy consumption;
  • thermal rehabilitation of existing buildings; and
  • correctly informing the owners/managers of the buildings about the energy performance certificate.

1.2 New energy consumption obligations

In line with the new legal obligations regarding energy consumption, the following aspects should be considered:

  • new buildings in the private sector, for which construction works are approved on the basis of a building permit issued starting 31 December 2020, will be buildings with almost zero energy consumption;
  • new buildings owned/administrated by public administration authorities, for which construction works are approved on the basis of a building permit issued after 31 December 2018, will be buildings with almost zero energy consumption.

Therefore, starting on 31 December 2020, building permits for new buildings in the private sector will no longer be issued unless the buildings have almost zero energy consumption.

A building with almost zero energy consumption is a building that meets all the following conditions:

i. Very high energy performance, with almost zero or very low energy consumption

The "energy performance" of a building means the amount of energy calculated or measured to ensure the energy demand under normal use of the building, which includes the energy used for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water, lighting and so on.

ii. Energy consumption is at least 10 % covered by energy from renewable sources produced either on-site or nearby

Renewable energy is the energy from non-fossil renewable sources, namely wind, solar, aerothermal, geothermal, hydrothermal, ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewerage treatment plant gas and biogas.3 Unfortunately, the legislator did not expressly define the proximity, leaving this assessment for the authorities and/or investors. However, we consider de lege ferenda that it is necessary to regulate this aspect in a future amendment to the law.

The level of energy required for buildings of which energy consumption is almost zero is set by technical regulations. This level is differentiated in areas with renewable energy potential and is periodically updated/supplemented according to technical progress.

By city planning certificate issued in order to obtain the building permit, it will be necessary for the energy requirements of the buildings to be limited to the specific technical regulations.

A city planning certificate issued without observing the provisions for the energy demand of buildings to be limited to the levels provided in the specific technical regulations will be considered. In this respect, the building permit issued under an incomplete city planning certificate is invalid.

1.3 Consequences of noncompliance with the new energy performance obligations

For new buildings in the private sector or owned/managed by the public administration authorities who do not observe the above-mentioned obligations, namely that do not have almost zero energy consumption, the reception of the construction works will not be approved, according to the provisions of the Regulation for the reception of construction works.

Without the reception protocol, the respective building cannot be commissioned and cannot be registered in the corresponding Land Book.

Therefore, such constructions shall not be eligible for transfer of possession procedures and shall not be transferred in the civil circuit.

Also, unfinished constructions registered in the corresponding Land Book that do not have a reception protocol at the end of the construction works cannot be subdivided into apartments.

2. Installation of electrical recharging points

2.1 Applicable legal framework

With respect to the new obligations regarding electrical recharging points, we call attention to the provisions under Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency ("Directive 2018/844").

Directive 2018/844 entered into force on 19 June 2018 and the deadline for transposition into the national legislation is 10 March 2020.

2.2 Applicability

2.2.1 Non-residential buildings

New non-residential buildings and buildings undergoing major renovations that have more than 10 parking places[4] must have at least one recharging point and ducting infrastructure installed, namely conduits for electric cables, for at least one in every five parking spaces to enable the installation at a later stage of recharging points for electric vehicles where:

  • the parking space is located inside the building, and, for major renovations, the renovation measures include the parking space or the electrical infrastructure of the building; or
  • the parking space is physically adjacent to the building, and, for major renovations, the renovation measures include the parking space or the electrical infrastructure of the car park.

Also, the requests for the installation of a minimum of recharging points for non-residential building that have more than 20 parking spaces shall be determined by the Member States until 1 January 2025. Therefore, they have time to conduct studies and analyses for the elaboration and implementation of corresponding regulations, adapted according to each Member State.

2.2.2 Residential buildings

New residential buildings and residential buildings undergoing major renovations that have more than 10 parking spaces must have ducting infrastructure installed, namely conduits for electric cables, for every parking space to enable the installation, at a later stage, of recharging points for electric vehicles where:

  • the parking space is located inside the building and, for major renovations, the renovation measures include the parking space or the electrical infrastructure of the building; or
  • the parking space is physically adjacent to the building, and, for major renovations, the renovation measures include the parking space or the electrical infrastructure of the parking space.

3. The impact of "green" obligations on the real estate market

The implementation of technical solutions regarding (i) the performance of buildings with almost zero energy consumption and (ii) the installation of electrical recharging stations will most likely involve additional costs for investors and real estate developers. It is expected that these additional costs will be reflected in the final selling price of the buildings, namely the cost of rent (both in the residential and non-residential sectors).

Although needed over the long term, these environmental protection measures will be a challenge to implement.

 

This article was first published in the report Residential Market Genome 2019, edited by SVN Romania (https://svn.com/).


Footnotes:

  1. ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings
  2. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/2014_article4_ro_romania.pdf
  3. Directive 2010/31/UE
  4. For each type of construction, namely for the counties and the Bucharest Municipality, there are strict regulations regarding the minimum parking places that must be built by a real estate developer in order to obtain the building permit.
Simona Chirică

Simona Chirică

Local Partner

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s.chirica@schoenherr.eu

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Mădălina Mitan

Mădălina Mitan

Senior Attorney at Law

T: +40 21 319 67 90
m.mitan@schoenherr.eu

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Oana Sarbu

Oana Sarbu

Attorney at Law

T: +40 21 319 67 90
o.sarbu@schoenherr.eu

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SVN Romania | Residential Market Genome 2019