REHVA Journal – August 2012

A provisional deal on the proposed new EU energy efficiency directive was struck by MEPs and Council negotiators of the European parliament and the Council on Thursday 14 June. This directive would require EU Member States to save energy in specific ways, e.g. by renovating buildings and stipulating the size of energy savings to be delivered by utilities. The EU has set itself the target of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 (from 1990 levels), but the European Commission estimates that the EU will achieve only half that improvement unless it takes specific measures. The proposed directive establishes a common framework for these measures. EU Member States would have to set themselves national energy efficiency targets, and by June 2014, the Commission would have to assess the progress achieved to date. The proposed directive would replace two existing directives - the Energy Savings Directive (ESD), and the Cogeneration Directive. It aims to fill gaps where measures are lacking, improve the effectiveness of existing ones, and in doing so, to provide a boost to the economy. The European Parliament believes that energy efficiency can help drive the EU by reducing dependence on imports, creating jobs, freeing up financial resources, enhancing industrial competitiveness, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The following summarizes the measures that would be required by the directive. In the negotiations several exemptions were added into the final text to be able to reach the consensus. These exemptions weaken the impact of the directive.

Renovating public buildings

The directive would require EU Member States to renovate 3% of the total floor area of "heated and/or cooled buildings owned and occupied by their central government". This would apply to buildings with a "total useful floor area" more than 500 m², and as from July 2015, of more than 250 m². However, Member States would also be able to use alternative means to achieve equivalent energy savings, such as thorough renovations.

Long-term strategy for national building stocks

In order to capture growth and job opportunities in the skilled trades and construction sectors, as well as in the production of construction products and professional activities such as architecture, consultancy and engineering, each Member State would need to establish a long-term national strategy (by January 2015), to "mobilise investment" in the national stock of residential and commercial buildings, both public and private.

This strategy would have to include:

(i)    an overview of the national building stock based, as appropriate, on statistical sampling,

(ii)   an identification of cost-effective approaches to renovation, relevant to the building type and climatic zone,

(iii) policies to stimulate cost-effective "deep" renovations of buildings, including those done in stages,

(iv) forward-looking guidance for investment decisions by individuals, the construction industry and financial institutions, and

(v)   an indicative estimate of expected energy savings.

The strategy would have to be submitted to the Commission, published by 1 January 2015 and updated as appropriate thereafter.

Public procurement

Member States would be required to ensure that "central governments" purchase only goods, services and buildings with high energy-efficiency performance, insofar this is consistent with cost-effectiveness, economic feasibility, wider sustainability, technical suitability, and sufficient competition

Energy audits

All large enterprises would be required to undergo energy audits. These would need to start within three years of the directive's entry into force and be carried out every four years by qualified and accredited experts. Households and small and medium-sized enterprises would be excluded from this requirement.


Large companies which are already implementing an energy or environmental management system that is certified by an independent body according to the relevant European or international standards would be exempted from this requirement, provided the management system includes an energy audit.

Smart metering and new buildings

EU countries would need to ensure that, in so far as it is technically possible and financially reasonable, final customers for electricity, natural gas, district heating, district cooling and domestic hot water are provided with competitively-priced individual meters that accurately reflect the final customer's actual energy consumption and that provide information on actual time of use.

New buildings

When a new connection is made in a new building or a building undergoes major renovations, as set out in the EPBD Directive 2010/31/EU, such competitively-priced individual meters would always have to be provided.

Individual consumption meters in multi-apartment buildings

In multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings with a central heating/cooling source or supplied from a district heating network or from a central source serving multiple buildings, individual consumption meters would have to be installed by 1 January 2017 to measure the consumption of heat or cooling or hot water for each unit where technically feasible and cost efficient. Where the use of individual meters is not technically feasible or not cost-efficient, to measure heating, individual heat cost allocators would have to be used to measure heat consumption at each radiator, unless it is shown by the Member State in question that the installation of such heat cost allocators would not be cost efficient. In such cases, alternative cost-efficient methods of heat consumption measurement could be considered.

Billing and consumer information

Member States would be required to ensure, by 1 January 2015, that billing information is accurate and based on actual consumption, in order to enable final customers to regulate their own energy consumption. Billing would take place on the basis of actual consumption at least twice a year, or quarterly, upon request. Where billing is done electronically and without request, it would be quarterly. When sending customers contracts, contract changes or bills, including through those sent through websites addressing customers individually, energy distributors, distribution system operators and retail energy sales companies would have to inform them, in a clear and understandable manner, of the contact details of independent consumer advice centres, energy agencies or similar institutions, including their internet addresses, where they can obtain advice on available energy efficiency measures, benchmark profiles for their energy consumption and technical specifications of energy-using appliances that could help to reduce energy consumption.

Assessing scope for high-efficiency district heating and cooling

Member States would need to carry out and notify to the Commission by December 2015 a "comprehensive assessment" of the scope for applying high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling. For the purposes of this assessment, Member States would need to carry out a cost-benefit analysis ‑ a proposal introduced by MEPs ‑ covering their territory based on climate conditions, economic feasibility and technical suitability.

Cost-benefit analysis

The cost-benefit analysis would have to be capable of facilitating the identification of the most resource and cost-efficient ways to meet heating and cooling requirements. Where the assessments identify potential for applying high-efficiency cogeneration and/or efficient district heating and cooling whose benefits exceed the costs, Member States would have to take appropriate measures for efficient district heating and cooling infrastructure to be developed and/or to accommodate the development of high-efficiency cogeneration and the use of heating and cooling from waste heat and renewable energy sources.

Risk of carbon leakage and Emissions Trading System

The European Commission would monitor the directive's impact on industry sectors, and particularly those exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage, so as to ensure that the directive's provisions promote, rather than impede, the development of these sectors. The draft directive includes a written statement by the Commission referring to Phase 3 (2013‑2020) of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS - which is to deliver two-thirds of the 20% emissions reduction target

Next steps

The provisionally agreed text will be put to an Energy Committee vote, probably in July, and then a plenary one in September (provisional timetable). – OS





European Commission DG Environment with help of the Joint Research Centre, Seville, is developing an EU Ecolabel that awards the best environmental performance buildings and GPP (Green Public Procurement)  criteria to promote an environmentally-friendlier public consumption. The EU Ecolabel for buildings will allow consumers to identify the officially kinder environmental products easily and manufacturers to show and communicate to their customers that their products respect the environment. In addition, the EU Ecolabel will not create barriers to trade, just on the contrary, it can give a competitive advantage.

This study is being carried out by the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS). The work is being developed for the European Commission's Directorate General for the Environment.

The process can be followed  through the project website ( . Stakeholder involvement is a crucial part of this study. Byregistering ( as a stakeholder, you can stay informed of latest additions to this site and engage in the consultation.

The EU Ecolabel and GGP criteria for Buildings will consist on environmental criteria. The criteria will be based on scientific assessment studies of the environmental impacts of the building for each part of its life cycle (e.g. LCA studies) and consider different environmental aspects such as air quality, water quality, soil protection, waste reduction, energy savings, natural resource management, GWP, ozone layer protection, environmental safety, noise and biodiversity. Moreover, the EU Ecolabel and GPP criteria should be agreed at European level, following wide consultation with experts. An updated summary of the discussion held during the 2nd AHWG for EU Ecolabel criteria for Office building and the summary of the 2nd meeting for the development of GPP criteria for this product group that took place on Wednesday 18th January 2012 in Brussels  were recently made available at the project website.

Key Environmental Impacts Included in the Criteria

The key environmental impacts from office buildings are strongly associated with the consumption of energy in the use phase. Further, significant environmental impacts are associated with: a) energy consumption in the production and construction phase, b) use of hazardous constituents and materials that coming from no sustainable sources, c) consumption of water and generation of waste (along all the phases of the office building). Other impacts are related to the indoor air quality and the well-being/comfort of the employees.


European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.

C/ Inca Garcilaso 3, 41092 Seville, SPAIN; Tel.: +34 954 48 8318, Fax: +34 954 48 8300. © 2010


More information :alicia.boyano@ec.europa.euand



Intelligent Energy – Europe II (IEE II) is one of the three pillars of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the main EU instrument for non-technological support in the field of energy. Its objective is to contribute to removal of market barriers that hamper the efficient use of energy and increased use of renewable energy sources.

As the Intelligent Energy-Europe II (IEE II) programme (2007‑2013) draws to a close, options for following it up with a successor need to be considered.

The programme is playing a key role in EU efforts to meet the EU 2020 targets. It has enabled more efficient implementation of a number of Directives and other policy initiatives such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Eco-design Directive, the Energy Labelling Directive4 and Renewable Energy Directive. With the new Energy Efficiency Directive as a regulatory backbone, the Programme will in its last year (2013) start to create the institutional and knowledge base for closing the energy efficiency gap.

With a budget of €730 million during the period 2007‑2013, IEE II has supported more than 300 actions in all relevant sectors of the EU economy, striving to improve market conditions, to develop the skills of professionals, to define and implement legislation, to raise awareness of successful solutions through knowledge-sharing and by promoting best practices, and stimulating investments in sustainable energy. Most of the EU projects REHVA has participated have been funded from the IEE-II programme, see

In the Commission’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020), it has been proposed that the successor to IEE II (IEE III), will continue in the under the Energy Challenge of the future EU programme for Research and Innovation ´Horizon 2020´. This public consultation will provide an important contribution for shaping IEE III in Horizon 2020.

The Commission proposes that IEE III should address the following three main areas:

a)    Policy implementation support, focusing on technical support for specific activities to promote efficient development and implementation of policies and legislation at EU, national and local level, on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources;

b)    Capacity-building, addressing public acceptance, knowledge transfer and skills improvement; and

c)    Financing to mobilise investments and make energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy projects bankable, via provision of project development assistance, ‘business’ and ‘investments’ capacity building and dialogue with project promoters, policy makers and investors/financiers. Specific attention will be given to the retail financial institutions and market-based financing mechanisms.

The Commission has opened the public consultation process for the IEE III programme. The Commission invites stakeholder to reply to this public consultation by answering the IPM on-line questionnaire by 5 September 2012 at the latest.

Received contributions will be published on the Internet. It is important to read the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with. Non-registered organization responses will be published separately.

For more information on the Commission Public Consultation Paper and Online Questionnaire please visit

Pages 48 - 57

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