New Energy Performance Directive for Buildings in EU

Posted on December 6, 2010 by

European Union began the process of improving energy efficiency in buildings by introducing minimum energy performance requirements with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2002. This directive is being replaced with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive of 2010, which has come into force in July 2010. The new directive has extended the requirements of establishing energy performance standards and has also made a number of changes to the energy performance certificate regime.

The earlier directive required the EU members to impose energy performance requirements on new buildings, the strength of the requirements was left to individual nations. The new directive has more prescriptive requirements, introducing two new concepts: “Cost optimal levels” (COLs) and “nearly zero-energy” (NZE) buildings. The earlier threshold of 1000sq m for energy performance requirements to apply to new and existing buildings subject to renovation has been removed.


New Buildings

New buildings are subject to the following new requirements:

  • Starting July 2013, new buildings will need to meet energy performance standards that comply with COLs. The COLs are defined as the the levels of energy performance which require the lowest financial cost during the economic life-cycle of a building. European Commission will design a framework methodology for defining these COLs, for various classes and sizes of buildings.
  • Starting December 2020 – all new buildings must be NZE buildings. NZE is defined as a building with “very high energy performance” requiring nearly zero energy (or a very low amount) which will mostly be satisfied by renewable energy.

The above requirements will be imposed on public sector buildings earlier that others – from January 2013 and December 2018 respectively.


Existing Buildings

The Directive has clarified the extent of improvements in energy performance when buildings are subject to renovation. It also imposes a new requirement for heating, hot water, air-conditioning and large ventilation systems (known as “technical building systems”). EU members will be required to establish system requirements for the installation of such equipment in existing buildings.


Energy Performance Certificates

The 2002 Directive had introduced Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), which were required to be available on construction, sale or letting of a building to prospective tenants and buyers. The 2010 Directive has made a number of changes to the existing provisions – to come into force from January 2013 including:

  • EPC ratings must be displayed the in advertisements for buildings on sale or for let.
  • Where private sector buildings of over 500 sq m are frequently visited by members of the public, an EPC must be displayed if one has already been prepared.
  • EPCs will need to contain additional detail such as recommendations for the cost-optimal or cost effective improvement of the energy performance of a building.
  • Public sector occupied buildings will now need to have an EPC even where there is no construction, sale or letting to trigger one.
Posted in: Sustainability