New energy efficiency rules adopted to promote smart and sustainable buildings in Europe

Today, buildings represent around 36% of all CO2 emissions in Europe. To help decarbonising this sector, the Council of the European Union adopted new energy efficiency rules for buildings on 14 May, in view of meeting nearly zero energy standards by 2050 and reduce European greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990.

Promoting cost-efficient and smart renovation

Through this revised Energy Performance of Buildings’ Directive, member states are urged to develop long-term renovation strategies to achieve the European objectives in terms of CO2 emissions reductions and energy savings, promoting cost-effective renovation works through public and private financing. Moreover, the directive introduces a smartness indicator for buildings to measure their capacity to use new technologies and electronic systems to optimise their operation and interact with the grid. This new indicator will help assessing the readiness of buildings to host energy storage systems, integrate charging points for electric vehicles or participate in demand response programmes, in order to empower tenants over their energy bills through the provision of accurate information on real-time energy consumption.

Towards integrated and more efficient building systems

In addition, Member states will be required to plan for the introduction of charging points for electric vehicles in non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces to promote smart mobility in European cities. Finally, rules for the inspections of heating and air conditioning systems will be updated and simplified, in view of better evaluating their efficiency along with potential energy savings.

“Enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings is one of the most-effective ways of improving the quality of life for all of us,” said Temenukzhka Petkova, Bulgaria’s energy minister, closing the meeting of the Council of the EU on 14 May.

Within the EU-GUGLE project, smart renovation strategies to improve the energy performance of buildings are already being implemented, with up to 88% of energy savings already achieved in renovated buildings. Together with the implementation of innovative Smart City cooperation projects such as EU-GUGLE, the new rules set up in the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will foster the emergence of smart, energy-efficient and sustainable cities, boosting economic growth, investment and job creation in Europe.