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Energy efficiency of buildings: recast

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A mini-hearing in the European Parliament’s committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) was held earlier this month on the recasting of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. During the hearing Silvia-Adriana Þicãu (Socialist Group in the European Parliament, Romania) repeated her claim for more funding, and for the creation of a website to act as a ‘one stop shop’ to advise consumers on renovations to existing buildings. Alejo Vidal-Quadras (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, Spain) claimed too much attention was being given to renewables and that the focus on energy efficient buildings needed to be maintained. Fiona Hall (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, UK) supported the creation of new standards for buildings and building components. Claude Turmes (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Luxembourg) wants a more ambitious deadline for low energy buildings along with more standards for components and for the renovation of existing buildings.

In addition, a study on the energy performance of buildings, requested by ITRE, was published earlier this month. This study aims to address key issues regarding energy efficiency of buildings and make recommendations to ITRE. AEA, which produced the study, recognises that there are some countries that are already implementing above and beyond the levels of efficiency laid out in the Directive. In relation to the recommendations proposed by the European Commission, the study supports the move to clarify and add to the definitions in the text of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. It also supports the removal of 1000 m2 threshold for existing buildings when they undergo major renovation, a point long advocated by CEMBUREAU. With regard to low and zero emissions buildings, the study concludes that the recast of the EPBDi should provide at least some minimal guidance (in an Annex) with regard to criteria/ parameters etc. to be considered by Member States when attempting to define such buildings.

Under energy performance certificates AEA believes this should lead to a higher confidence of the general public regarding the information presented in the certificates and make people more aware of the possibilities for improvements and of their cost-effectiveness, leading to a higher rate of renovations, and consequently to enhanced energy savings.