This article deals with the Energy Performance of Buildings and the Energy Efficiency Directive, directives which were not much debated among construction & building stakeholders. The aim of this article is to summarise the content of this two directives that are going to change how Europe refurbish and builds its building. It would be naive to suppose that this is definitive guide but at least it will help you to understand some important bullets about it. Let's start with the EPBD.

The EU roadmap for 2020

The "Europe 2020" strategy, adopted at the European Council in June 2010, is the new framework for the coordination of economic and employment policies of the EU Member States until 2020. The strategy presents a new vision of Europe and a series of ambitious objectives in the following areas are defined: employment, research and development, climate/energy, education, social integration and poverty reduction.

In a context of widespread recession, the strategy "Europe 2020" stands as a new roadmap and proposes structural reforms with the objective of "shaping a more competitive Europe", aiming for a "deepening of the single market “for economic recovery and job creation.

These reforms will have to be underpinned by "national efforts but built on EU assets and policies". This is that the decisions emanating from the European Union and embodied by the various Directives must be implemented by each Member States from adapting their national legislation. Otherwise, and based on the breach of the deadlines set, Member States may be subject to sanctions.

In regard to the building sector, all Member States must be transposed the legal framework, the Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency in buildings.

Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings 2010/31/EU (recast of the original Directive 2002/91/EC)

Minimum energy efficiency requirements

  • Member States should set minimum requirements for the energy performance of new buildings, for renovation of buildings and for the replacement or modernization of building components (heating and cooling systems, roofs, walls, etc.)

Energetic certification

National authorities should have an energy performance certification system.

  • The certificates provide information for prospective purchasers or tenants of a building’s energy rating and recommendations for cost-effective improvements. They must be included in all commercial media advertisements when the premises are offered for sale or rent.
  • Schemes are in place to inspect heating and air-conditioning systems.

Nearly zero-energy building

“A building that has a very high energy performance. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby."

  • 31 December 2020: All new buildings.
  • 31 December 2018: new buildings owned and occupied by public authorities

Directive on Energy Efficiency 2012/27/UE

Renovation of heating and/or cooling in public bodies’ buildings

  • By 31 December 2013, all buildings with a total useful floor area over 500 m2 
  • As of 9 July 2015, all buildings with a total useful floor area over 250 m2
  • From 1 January 2014: 3 % of the total floor area is renovated each year to meet at least the minimum energy performance requirements

Strategy for cost-effective approaches to renovations

  • Establish a long-term strategy for mobilising investment in the renovation of the national stock of residential and commercial buildings, both public and private
  • A first version of the strategy shall be published by 30 April 2014 and updated every three years thereafter
  • Stimulate cost-effective deep renovations in building stock
  • in order to capture the growth and employment opportunities in the skilled trades and  construction sectors, as well as in the production of construction products and in professional activities such as architecture, consultancy and engineering, for mobilising investment in the renovation of residential and commercial buildings with a view to improving the energy performance of the building stock.

Energy audits and Energy Management System 

  • To tap the energy savings potential in certain market segments where energy audits are generally not offered commercially (SMEs)
  • Programmes:
    • to raise awareness among households about the benefits of such audits through appropriate advice services
    • to encourage SMEs to undergo energy audits , including possible support schemes for SME
  • Enterprises that are not SMEs are subject to an energy audit carried out in an independent and cost-effective manner by qualified and/or  accredited experts or implemented and supervised by independent authorities under national legislation by 5 December 2015 and at least every four years from the date of the previous  energy audit 

Energy services

Member States shall promote the energy services market and access for SMEs to this market and support their proper functioning with the following methods and actions

  • To set up an arbitration system
  • To disseminate clear and easily accessible information on available energy service  contracts 
  • To inform about financial instruments, incentives, grants and loans to support energy efficiency service projects;
  • To develop quality labels
  • To make publicly available and regularly updating a list of available energy service providers who are qualified and/or certified 
  • To support the public sector in taking up energy service offers, in particular for building refurbishment providing model contracts for energy performance contracting and best practices
  • To provide a qualitative review regarding the current and future development of the energy services market
  • To put in place or assigning the role of an independent mechanism, such as an ombudsman, to ensure the efficient handling of complaints and out-of- court settlement of disputes arising from energy service contracts;

Metering and billing

  • Obligation to have individual meters that accurately reflect the final customer’s actual energy consumption
  • In multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings with a central heating/cooling source or supplied from a district heating network or from a central source serving multiple buildings, individual consumption meters shall also be installed by 31 December 2016. Where the use of individual meters is not technically feasible or not cost-efficient, to measure heating, individual heat cost allocators shall be used for measuring heat consumption at each radiator


Cofinanced project by

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.


This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Blesil is a Erasmus+ KA2 project (2014 - 2016).

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