New EPBD sets bold standards for energy efficiency in constructions

May 26, 2009 at 8:00 am | Posted in General, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment

Significant market shifts are expected to happen in the green building sector with the new Energy Performance in Building Directive (EPBD) being approved by the European Parliament, earlier this April. Following a likely adoption by the Council of Ministers, each Member state must transpose the directive into national legislation and draft new laws, action plans, and strategies to accomplish the set targets. The goal is having all Member states ensure that all new buildings are at least “net zero energy” buildings by 31 st of December 2016. In order to accomplish that goal, member states shall set targets for the minimum percentage of buildings, which will be, by 2015 and 2020 respectively, net zero energy buildings, measured as a percentage of the total number of buildings and as a percentage in relation to the total useful floor are.

In addition, separate targets should be set for buildings occupied by public authorities – that should be at least three years before the above mentioned targets. The Directive also addresses the need of a common methodology for calculating energy performance in buildings. Therefore, it requires all Member states to draft such a methodology by March 31st, 2010. As a background information, currently there are significant differences between the different calculation methodologies from different member states that make possible that in some countries – ex. Germany, Austria – the energy certificate is stronger because it imposes higher standards than in other countries.

Also, the Directive suggests that the Member states apply both technical and financial measures. First, the member states should encourage the usage of high efficiency alternative systems based on energy from renewable sources, cogeneration, district or block heating or cooling, heat pumps, and ICT equipment for monitoring and control purposes. Second, the should reduce existing legal and market barriers and develop existing and new financial and fiscal instruments to increase the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. The latter should be set by all Member States, by June 30th, 2011.

The EPBD is the major piece of legislation whose implementation has a direct effect on creating the market conditions that are relevant for the development of green buildings in Romania.

The text of the directive, in its EP approved form is available for further study here.

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