This week (10 March 2020) was the deadline by which Member States had to put in place new long-term national strategies for the renovation of buildings with the objective of decarbonising the existing European building stock by 2050. Member States were required to transpose the new EU rules on energy use in buildings into national law under the Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, adopted in 2018 as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” Package, with the aim of helping citizens to use less energy, save money and live in healthier buildings.
The legislation, now applicable throughout the EU, includes measures to accelerate the pace of building renovation, to improve the energy performance of new buildings and to make them smarter. It is in line with the EU’s targets for 2050, through national roadmaps for the decarbonisation of buildings. This EU legislation aims to facilitate the development of renovation strategies targeting issues such as fractional incentive dilemmas or energy poverty to reap the wider benefits of energy. In particular, it encourages:
- The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and intelligent technologies to ensure the efficient operation of buildings, for example by introducing automation and control systems;
- Long-term strategies for the renovation of buildings;
- The deployment of e-mobility infrastructure in all buildings;
- The fight against energy poverty and to reduce household energy bills by renovating old buildings; and
- An “intelligent readiness indicator” that will measure the capacity of buildings to use new technologies and electronic systems to adapt to consumer needs, optimise their operation and interact with the network.
The EU buildings sector is the largest energy consumer in Europe, responsible for 36% of the EU’s CO2 emissions. In addition to saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions, the new rules should help create jobs, fight energy poverty and improve the comfort and health conditions of homes. Studies show that for every €1 million invested in energy efficiency, between 8 and 27 jobs are created per year, while energy efficiency improvements support GDP growth rates of 0.25% to 1.1%.
In addition, by 10 March 2020, MS were also required to include details on progress in implementing the current strategy, which should have been provided to the EC in 2017. The strategy will have to be updated by June 2024 as part of the integrated NECPs.