The clean energy package by European Commission on 30 November 2016 included a targeted revision of the 2010 Directive on the energy performance of buildings to help to promote the use of smart technology in buildings, to streamline existing rules and accelerate building renovation.

The Commission also published a new buildings database – the EU Building Stock Observatory – to track the energy performance of buildings across Europe. In order to direct investment towards the renovation of building stock, the Commission also launched the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative, which has the potential to unlock an additional €10 billion of public and private funds for energy efficiency and renewable uptake in buildings.

With an obligation that all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings by 2021, although the Buildings Directive was partly designed to meet the 20% indicative target for energy efficiency improvements under the 2020 climate and energy package, it will continue to apply in the following decade and should contribute towards delivering on 2030 goals.

The proposal sets renovation targets, and minimum performance requirements for existing and new buildings. It furthermore adds provisions on energy performance certificates on inspections. A Staff Working Document linked to the proposal shows best practices of improved energy performance in buildings.

The most demanding requirement of the EPBD is that all new buildings must be nearly zero-energy buildings (“nZEB”) form 2021, and for this requirement to apply to all public buildings from 2019. Weakness in Member States’s implementation of the EPBD, including the lack of a common definition of nZEB, are analysed in a 2016 EPRS briefing.

New elements of the legislative proposal:

1. Incorporation of the provisions on long-term renovation strategies (Article 4 of the EED) in the EPBD

2. Article 10 is updated to include two new provisions on EPCs to assess savings from renovations financed with public support are to be assessed by comparing EPCs before and after renovation

3. Improved provisions on inspections of heating and air-conditioning systems (Articles 14, 15, 16), reinforcing the use of continuous electronic monitoring and building automation and control (BAC). Inspections of the H/C systems shall assess also the sizing compared to heating and cooling the requirements

4. Annex I is updated to improve transparency and consistency of energy performance definitions at national or regional level and to take into account the importance of the indoor environment

5. Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts on “smartness indicator” (Article 23).