Legislative framework

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/31/EU (consolidated version of the EPBD) received its last update under amending Directive 2018/844/EU setting a more ambitious framework to improve the energy efficiency of EU buildings. Currently the EU insitutions are negotiating a new revision of the EPBD, based on the Commission proposal that was released in December 2021 COM/2021/802 as a part of the Fit for 55 package to accelerate the energy transition in buildings. 

The EPBD is the main legislative instrument at EU level to achieve energy performance in buildings. The revised Directive requires Member States to establish "National Renovation Plans" outlining how they aim to achieve a decarbonised building stock by 2050; follow a set of requirements for the cacluation of the energy performance of buildings; and ensure that from the end of the decade only "nearly zero energy buildings" (NZEBs) are built. 

Find more information on REHVA advocacy inputs about the EPBD revision

Revised Energy performance of buildings directive (EPBD)

Revised Energy performance of buildings directive (EPBD)

As part of the second part of the Fit for 55 package the European Commission released a new comprehensive revision of the EPBD (recast) on 15 December 2021 to further accelerate the decarbonisation of the EU's building stock. REHVA published an overview of the proposal in the REHVA Journal in early 2022. ‘Zero-Emission Building’ (ZEB) is introduced as a new definition, replacing  Nearly-Zero Energy Building (NZEB) as the standard from 2030 onwards for new buildings or those undergoing deep renovation. A ZEB, in the current Commission proposal, is a building with a very high energy performance and where any energy needs are covered by renewable sources generated on-site and they will need to have IAQ monitoring devices installed. From 2030 this will correspond with EPC class A.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are introduced with the objective to transform the building stock to zero-emission by 2050 through a progressive timeline for different types of buildings. In the Commission's proposal, publicly owned building and non-residential building need to have EPC class F by 2027 and E by 2030. Residential buildings need to have EPC class F by 2030 and E by 2033.

Among the other manjor changes, there's a mandate for the Commission to publish a Union-wide scheme to implement the Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) by 2025; Member States are not allowed to provide financial incentives to fossil fuel boilers from 2027 onwards; introduction of a Renovation Passport through a common European framework that has to be setup by (the end of) 2023; and HVAC systems with an effective rated output of more than 290 kW shall be inspected at least every 2 years.

The negotiations are currently in inter-insitutional dialogue between the European Parliament and Council of the EU, who both are looking into amendments to the Commission's proposal and will negotiate the final outcome with each other. 

Key new elements of the revised EPBD relating to HVAC sector

Article 2: Definitions

Zero-Emission Building’ (ZEB) is introduced as a new definition where a building with very high energy performance any energy needs are covered by renewable sources generated on-site. Requirements regarding total annual primary energy use for ZEBs are laid down in Annex III.

Article 6: Calculation of cost optimal minimum energy performance requirements

By 30 June 2026, the EC shall revise the comparative methodology framework for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements in existing buildings undergoing major renovation. 

NEW Article 9: Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for existing buildings

With the goal to transform the national building stock to zero-emission by 2050 a progressive MEPS timeline has been set for different types of buildings to be achieved in the coming decade.

NEW Article 10: Renovation Passport

A new article introduces the Renovation Passportas a document that provides a tailored roadmap for the renovation of a specific building in several steps. By 2023, the EC shall establish a common European framework in a delegated act. 

Article 11: Technical building systems

MS shall require the installation of IAQ monitoring devices in new zero emission buildings and where technically & economically feasible, in existing buildings undergoing deep renovation as well.

Article 13: Smart readiness of buildings

By the end of 2025, EC shall publish a delegated and an implementing act on a common Union scheme for rating the smart readiness of non-residential buildings above 290 kW effective rated output.

NEW Article 15: Financial barriers

From 2027, MS shall not provide any financial incentives for the installation of fossil fuel boilers.

Articles 20-21: Inspections & reporting on heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems

HVAC systems with an effective rated output of more than 290 kW shall be inspected at least every 2 years.

Annex III: Zero-Emission Building Requirements

The first part of Annex III lays down the requirements for ZEBs, both new and renovated. Maximum thresholds are laid down, expressed in total annual primary energy use, per climatic zone and per different building types. In addition, ZEBs shall not cause on-site carbon emissions from fossil fuels.


REHVA comments & position on the EPBD recast (2021)

REHVA actively follows policy developments linked to buildings energy efficiency, in particular the EPBD. You can find our comments and position paper on the ongoing revision process in the section below. REHVA advocacy within the EPBD revision process mainly focuses on:

  1. Apply the holistic energy efficiency first principle, starting with energy savings in the building fabric, using efficient technical systems as heat pumps and renewable energies renewable energies as a following step to ensure the lowest possible energy use;
  2. Consider that buildings are no longer only energy consumers but also energy producers (“energy positive” buildings), mainly based on PV production which could be exported;
  3. Buildings exist to provide a comfortable environment for people and to protect them from different types of weather circumstances, meaning that the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle cannot apply without the clear setting of targets which aims to improve the IEQ and health requirements in buildings.

Subscribe to our Knowledge Hub for continuous updates and insider knowledge on the EPBD. All public updates about EU policy developments are regularly published in the REHVA Journal, Newsletter and Supporters’ Bulletin. This activity is supported by the TRC that coordinates the development of position papers and technical comments supporting evidence based European policy development.


Smart Readiness Indicator

Smart Readiness Indicator

REHVA has been closely following the development of the SRI methodology. REHVA Office and Technology and Research Experts informed continuously in the REHVA Journal, Newsletter and website about updates and developments of the study preparation during 2018 and presented the SRI at several REHVA events and seminars.

TRC members provided inputs in the consultation process during the first SRI study (February 2017- August 2018) and are committed to have a stronger involvement in the second SRI study (December 2018).

In 2019, the REHVA advocacy group will further elaborate the REHVA position on the SRI methodology, exploiting synergies with the Smart Buildings Task Force to ensure active contribution and influence the 2nd SRI study.

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