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EU Officially Approves New Building Energy Directive


The European Union has officially approved the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), a pivotal piece of legislation aimed at cutting emissions and energy consumption in buildings. This approval, given by both the European Council and the European Commission, will see the directive soon published in the Official Journal of the Union and subsequently enacted in the weeks to follow. Member states are required to integrate this directive into their national laws.


Under the EPBD, EU countries are expected to gradually eliminate fossil fuels for building heating and increase solar power installations, while tailoring their approaches to fit national contexts. A recent announcement from the European Commission highlighted that all new buildings must be "solar ready," aligning with the EU Solar Standard that the European Parliament ratified in March.


Additionally, the directive mandates goals to diminish building energy usage throughout the EU, considering the unique conditions of each member state.


Member states of the European Union are required to implement strategies to decrease their average primary energy consumption in residential buildings by 16% by 2030 and by 20% to 22% by 2035. For non-residential buildings, the directive mandates a renovation of 16% of the least efficient buildings by 2030, and 26% by 2033. Exemptions are permitted for certain categories of buildings, such as historical structures and holiday homes.


Kadri Simson, the EU Commissioner for Energy, emphasized the importance of enhancing building energy efficiency as crucial for achieving the EU's climate neutrality goals and boosting energy independence. "Renovations are investments into a better future," Simson stated. She expressed confidence that the revised directive would drive a wave of renovations across the EU, taking into account the diversity of the region’s building stock.


The EPBD also introduces stringent regulations for new constructions and publicly owned buildings, requiring zero on-site fossil fuel emissions starting January 1, 2028. This requirement will extend to all new buildings by January 1, 2030, though there may be some exceptions. Additionally, starting next year, the EU will ban subsidies for new standalone fossil fuel boilers.


The European Commission has highlighted that the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) will assist citizens in upgrading their homes by providing accessible support and financing options. The directive mandates the creation of one-stop shops where individuals can receive comprehensive advice about building renovations. Additionally, it facilitates both public and private financing options to make these renovations more affordable and achievable.


EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Wopke Hoekstra, emphasized the directive's role in stimulating financial and construction sectors. "The new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will help mobilise additional finance and boost construction value chains," Hoekstra stated. He expressed a collaborative vision towards helping homeowners and businesses renovate efficiently, thus saving money and moving towards a net-zero future.

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