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Sustainable Energy Week 2013: Energy efficiency: Europe lagging behind on low-energy buildings

The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requiring all new buildings to consume ‘nearly zero-energy’ from 2021 and those owned and occupied by the public sector organisations to comply by 2019 is not going well. Fewer than half of the 27 member states met the transposition deadline last summer and of them only 14 have submitted national plans stipulating how the nearly zero-energy definition is applied according to local conditions. The plans must also provide a performance indicator expressed in kilowatt hours per square metre and list relevant policies such as financial incentives and building standards. Of those 14, plans from Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK are still incomplete with few providing a national definition of nearly zero-energy, not providing an indication of how many buildings might meet this definition and an absence of information on support policies that might complement the directive’s objectives. DG ENERGY is concerned that many of the other member states have not even begun to implement the directive’s requirements on nearly zero-energy buildings. An EU consultancy report published recently concluded that methods for calculating the energy performance of buildings differ significantly throughout Europe and are not necessarily in line with CEN standards underpinning EPBD. The report suggests that primary energy should not be the only performance indicator used in national plans and that a total emissions indicator covering greenhouse gases, air pollutants particulate matter, acidification and ozone depletion also be included. READ MORE

Issue 25