Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Directive 2002/91/EC (EPBD, 2003) of the European Parliament and Council on energy efficiency of buildings (“Energy Performance of Buildings Directive”, EPBD) was adopted, after a lively discussion at all levels and with overwhelming support from Member States and the European Parliament, on 16th December 2002 and came into force on 4th January 2003. This Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is considered a very important legislative component of energy efficiency activities of the European Union designed to meet the Kyoto commitment and respond to issues raised in the Green Paper on energy supply security.

The EC Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (“Realising the potential“, Oct. 2006) identifies energy efficiency in the building sector as top priority. With a key role for the EPBD in realising the savings potential in the building sector, which is estimated at 28%, and which in turn can reduce the total EU final energy use by around 11%.

The Directive is set to promote the improvement of energy performance of buildings with the following requirements to be implemented by the Member States:

  • the general framework for a methodology of calculation of the integrated energy performance of buildings;
  • the application of minimum requirements on the energy performance of new buildings;
  • the application of minimum requirements on the energy performance of large existing buildings that are subject to major renovation;
  • energy performance certification of buildings;
  • regular inspection of boilers and of air-conditioning systems in buildings and in addition an assessment of the heating installation in which the boilers are more than 15 years old;
  • requirements for experts and inspectors for the certification of buildings, the drafting of the accompanying recommendations and the inspection of boilers and air-conditioning systems.

Within these general principles and objectives, it is the individual responsibility of each EU Member State to choose measures that corresponds best to its particular situation (subsidiarity principle). However, it is clear that collaboration and information exchange can highly facilitate the implementation.

The Directive is foremost a measure that concerns a very large number of participants on all levels and with different impacts and different motivations: designer, housing associations, architects, providers of building appliances, installation companies, building experts, owners, tenants, essentially all energy consumers in the European Union.

It will greatly affect awareness of energy use in buildings, and is intended to lead to substantial increases in investments in energy efficiency measures within these buildings. It presents a great challenge for the transformation of European building sector towards energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources.

The 4th of January 2006 was the official deadline by which the 25 Member States had to transpose the Directive into national law. For the two new Member States Bulgaria and Romania, this date is January 2007. Only for the 2 last requirements (certifications and inspections), Member States may, because of lack of qualified and/or accredited experts, have an additional period of three years (before January 2009) to apply fully.