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The European Parliament has adopted legislation to speed up the renovation of buildings in the EU

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The European Parliament, during a vote in Strasbourg, adopted a draft regulation to accelerate the pace of renovation of buildings. This is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by the building sector by 2030.

The revision of the directive on the energy performance of buildings is intended to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by the building sector by 2030. By 2050, this sector is to become climate-neutral. The revision of the directive is also intended to accelerate the pace of renovation of energy-inefficient buildings. In addition, it aims to improve the exchange of information on energy performance. From 2028, all new buildings are to be zero-emission. By 2026, buildings occupied or operated by or owned by public authorities are to become zero-emission. By 2028, all new buildings should be equipped with solar energy technologies, if technically and economically feasible. For residential buildings undergoing major renovation, the deadline is 2032.

Energy class for buildings

By 2030, residential buildings will have to have at least energy class E, and by 2033 – class D. The energy class is determined on a scale from A to G, where 15% of the energy belongs to the latter. the worst energy performing buildings in a Member State’s national stock of residential buildings. Non-residential and public buildings will have to have the same energy rating as residential buildings by 2027 and 2030 respectively. Improvement of energy performance (through insulation or improvement of the heating system) would take place when the building is sold or when it is thoroughly renovated. In the case of rented buildings, this would take place when a new lease agreement is signed. EU countries will set out measures in their national renovation plans to achieve these objectives.

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“This means a huge wave of energy renovation of buildings in the coming years. Member States would have an obligation to support compliance in this area, including by providing adequate financial resources for renovations to building owners, in particular to vulnerable households” – we read in the Reform Institute study on the details of the REPowerEU programme.

EU countries are to develop building renovation programmes

National Renovation Plans should include support measures to facilitate citizens’ access to grants and co-financing. Member States are to set up information points where citizens can find out more about it free of charge. They are also to develop building renovation programs that will not affect their maintenance costs.

Financial resources should primarily be allocated to major renovations, especially in buildings with the worst energy performance. Targeted subsidies and allowances should be provided to households in difficulty.

Monuments with one exception

Monuments will be excluded from the new regulations. EU countries may also exempt buildings that are protected for their architectural features or historic character. Exclusions may also apply to technical buildings, buildings used temporarily and places of worship. EU countries may also exempt public social housing from the new rules if refurbishing it would lead to rent increases that cannot be offset by energy savings. MEPs also want Member States to be able to adapt the new targets to national circumstances for a limited number of buildings. This would depend on the economic and technical feasibility of the renovations, as well as the availability of skilled workers. The EP adopted the position by 343 votes to 216; 78 Members abstained from voting. MEPs will now start negotiations with the Council to agree on the final wording of the rules. According to the European Commission, buildings in the EU account for 40% of total energy consumption, as well as for 36 percent. greenhouse gas emissions. On December 15, 2021, the European Commission adopted draft regulations amending the Directive on the energy performance of buildings. It is part of the “Ready for 55” package. Thanks to the new Climate Law (July 2021), the 2030 and 2050 targets have become binding EU legislation.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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