Building owners and developers will need to provide energy performance certificates for buildings.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The European Union has published a directive aimed at improving building energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. EU Member States are required to transpose the directive (Directive (EU) 2018/844) by March 10, 2020.

The directive, published on June 19, 2018, replaces the previous directive on the energy performance of buildings, which was first introduced in 2002 and then recast in 2010. The directive, forms part of the Clean Energy for all Europeans legislative package and is designed to promote energy efficiency in both old and new buildings as well as encourage building renovation. The revised directive is one of the EU’s eight proposals to achieve the Energy Union targets.

Currently, almost three quarters of buildings in Europe are not energy efficient, and collectively, European buildings consume nearly 40% of all energy consumed in the EU and generate 36% of the EU’s CO2 emissions.

The new directive:

  • Requires Member States to publish long-term strategies setting out the ways in which they will achieve a “highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock” by 2050. These strategies must be submitted to the European Commission after consultation.
  • Requires long-term renovation strategies to include indicative milestones for 2030, 2040, and 2050.
  • Encourages the use of smart technology (such as automation and control systems) to make buildings operate more efficiently.
  • Requires Member States to ensure that new or renovated non-residential buildings with more than 10 car parking spaces have a minimum of one electric-vehicle charging point. These buildings must also have ducting infrastructure which would allow electric-vehicle charging points to be set up for 20% of available car parking spaces. For new or renovated residential buildings with more than 10 car parking spaces, Member States are required to ensure there is ducting infrastructure which would allow electric-vehicle charging points to be set up for all available car parking spaces.

In 2017, the Spanish government approved the Movea Plan (also known as the 2017 Movalt Plan) under which significant incentives are offered in order to support the transition to the use of sustainable vehicles. Under this initiative, subsidies of €1,000 are offered to those who build conventional electrical charging points, while those who build fast charging points can receive €15,000.

Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President of the European Commission, who is responsible for the Energy Union, noted that “[b]y renovating and making our buildings in Europe smarter, we are attaining several simultaneous objectives: lower energy bills, better health, protection of the environment and reduction of our emissions in the EU, given that over a third of these are produced by buildings.”

This post was prepared with the assistance of Olivia Featherstone in the London office of Latham & Watkins.