Heating and cooling

02 Mar 24

Milestones achieved: EU adopts crucial building law for energy transition

In a long-awaited step, The EU Parliament has voted to adopt the negotiated text on the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), signaling a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change and building-related emissions in Europe. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomes this significant milestone while stressing the critical role of Member State implementation and EU monitoring in delivering tangible results.

The EPBD revision introduces sweeping changes aimed at slashing EU building emissions. Notably, the directive mandates governments to assess and limit all new buildings’ emissions as of 2030, including a focus on upfront embodied carbon from construction materials. The climate impact reduction targets will promote the adoption of low-carbon materials and renewable energy solutions across the continent.

However, the flexibility in renovation strategies for existing buildings complicates EU oversight, placing the onus on individual countries to set their ambitions.

Laetitia Aumont, Policy Officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:

“This law is a milestone climate moment. EU countries must now keep up the momentum. Targeting renovation for the worst-performing homes is vital—it’s a smart investment which unlocks high energy savings, emission reductions, as well as combats energy poverty and boosts employment.”

The EPBD also addresses the urgent need for a fossil fuel phase-out. Yet, the directive’s effectiveness hinges on clear definitions and interpretations by the EU Commission and Member States. If the Commission defines fossil boilers as any technology partially or entirely running on fossil fuels, public support for fossil heating could end by 2025. Member States are also urged in the current text to transition to renewable heating “in view of a phase out of fossil boilers by 2040”.

Davide Sabbadin, Acting Policy Manager at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:

“The inclusion of a phase-out date for public support and usage delivers a clear message: fossil heating is on its way out. This should embolden countries and the EU Commission to set even higher phase-out ambitions, swiftly reducing energy bills and climate impacts. With a strong political commitment, a fossil-free future for our homes is within reach.”

In addition to emissions reductions, the directive introduces groundbreaking measures to enhance energy communities’ roles, prioritise funding for vulnerable households, and establish One-Stop-Shops for easier access to information and cooperative models.