The new European Performance of Buildings Directive: homes with energy class F and G shall disappear from the market by 2033.

5 July 2022

Photo by Emily Campbell on Unsplash

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the European Performance of Buildings Directive directive in December 2021. One of the most innovative measures: the worst performing residential buildings in each country – homes with F and G energy label – will have to disappear from the real estate market by the year 2033.

The European Union has ambitious climate targets. It wants to have a zero-emission building stock by 2050. The revised European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) contains a set of new ambitious measures that should help its Member States to get there.

One of the most remarkable proposals is to introduce mandatory “Minimum Energy Performance Standards”. All residential buildings will have to reach energy class F by 2030 and class E by 2033. In practice it means that in a 10-years-time it will be impossible to sell or rent the F or G energy class homes on the real estate market. In the European Union about 30 million building units have G energy label. Residential buildings will follow the example of public and non-residential buildings that will have to be renovated even earlier – to at least energy performance level F by 2027, and to at least level E by 2030. After this first step, the EU Member States should propose National Building Renovation Plans with timelines for achieving zero-emission building stock by 2050.

The European Commission wants to first get rid of its most energy consuming buildings with the highest energy saving potential. The jump from G to E class can reduce energy consumption by about 60%. In comparison, a G-home consumes 10 times more energy than a zero-emission building. Another reason is to protect the most vulnerable homeowners of the targeted buildings whose energy bills are high and who are also more sensitive to rapidly increasing energy prices.

This is one of the major regulatory and policy changes. So far, the European Union and its Member States were reluctant to impose this kind of obligation on homeowners, fearing in particular to put an extra burden on low income households. Often, they cannot afford to renovate or move to a more energy efficient home, taking a risk of falling to energy poverty. This is why the Commission also foresees a set of supportive measures that should facilitate the implementation of the directive in the Member States. For example:

  • Make Energy Performance Certificates clearer, reliable and visible; introduce Building Renovation Passports and link them to national databases.
  • Mobilise finance for the upfront investment costs with up to €150 billion from the EU budget until 2030 (The Cohesion policy funds, Social Climate Fund, etc.), from the national budgets and private financiers.
  • Revise the State aid framework so that it betters serves the energy renovation of buildings.
  • Provide technical support and information to homeowners, for example via one-stop-shops.

Indeed, the European Commission explicitly mentions and encourages the one-stop-shop creation in the EPBD, Energy Efficiency Directive and other recent related policies. This new regulatory framework would give a big boost to existing and future one-stop-shops for home energy renovation whose role is precisely to provide high quality and impartial technical assistance and, eventually, upfront financing to homeowners who wish to renovate.

The proposed measures have higher level of ambition comparing to the previous version of the directive amended in 2018. The hope is that the adopted version of the EPBD, expected in 2023, will be even more ambitious, reflecting the urgency of climate action.

For more information: European Commission Press Corner