EPBD review

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. Therefore, the EU's Energy Roadmap 2050 confirmed nZEB as the new standard for buildings in the EU and the key for achieving the 2050 targets. 

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).

What is the smartness indicator?

The EPBD gives the mandate to develop a smartness indicator to assess the technological readiness of the building to adapt in response to the need of the occupants’ demand, to interact with the grid and to facilitate maintenance and efficient operation. DG Energy has launched a service tender for the preparatory work, which is under contracting now. The technical specification of the tender describes the requirements that DG energy has in mind regarding he indicator. Beside the elaboration of a thorough market study and an impact assessment, the aim of the contract is to define and characterise a smartness indicator applicable for all building types and to develop a robust methodology for the calculation of such an indicator. The technical specification specifies to respect the EPBD, the related international and European standards. The impact assessment and the technical analysis should consider the wider benefits, including indoor environment and comfort aspects.

At this stage, it is not clear yet how the characteristics and calculation methodology will consider IEQ requirements. REHVA will closely follow the process and provide inputs to the work of the consortium developing the indicator. 

Smart Finance for Smart Buildings Initiative

The initiative includes specific measures to further unlock private financing and enable market actors to realise their projects through attractive and appropriate financing solutions. This initiative can unlock an additional EUR 10 billion of public and private funds until 2020 for energy efficiency and renewable. The 3 pillars of the imitative are:

  1. More effective use of public funding.
  2. Aggregation and assistance with project development.
  3. De-risking investments.

CEN Standards and EPBD

January 2017 the series of 17 EN-ISO Energy Performance Buildings (EPB) standards and 29 EPB EN-standards have been accepted. These standards passed the Final Vote last week of January 2017 and will soon be published. At ISO global level the 17 ISO standards and seven accompanied Technical Reports. At CEN level in Europe also the additional set of 31 EN standards and 23 CEN Technical Reports.

Through its members, REHVA is constantly monitoring the evolution of EPB standards and publishing related information on its free bimonthly journal.

Concerted Action EPBD

The introduction of national laws meeting EU requirements is challenging. To support EU countries in this task, the Concerted Action (CA) EPBD was launched by the European Commission to promote dialogue and exchange of best practice between them.  National authorities from 29 countries participates this forum, it focuses on finding common approaches to the most effective implementation of this EU legislation.

The CA has published in September 2015 the updated edition of its report on the progress of the implementation of EPBD in Europe. It can be downloaded here:

  1. Certification
  2. Inspections
  3. Training
  4. Energy performance requirements using Cost-optimal levels
  5. Towards 2020 – Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings
  6. Compliance and Control
  7. Effectiveness of Support Initiatives


The BUILD UP portal is the environment for building professionals, local authorities and building occupants willing to share their experience on how to cut energy consumption in buildings. BUILD UP has several expert groups where the experts can exchange information. The content is organised also by topic and more than 1200 publications related to the EPBD are available at BUILD UP portal.