- European Parliament has cleared draft EPBD of the EC, forwarding it to the council for further negotiations
- It requires all new buildings to become solar equipped in the bloc by 2028, with public buildings reaching the milestone by 2026
- Existing residential buildings undergoing major renovation work will need to go solar till 2032
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as proposed by the European Commission (EC) has cleared one more hurdle to its full implementation after the European Parliament adopted draft measures to make all new buildings in the bloc zero emission, while ensuring all these are equipped with solar technologies by 2028.
Buildings in the EU are estimated to account for 36% of the bloc’s overall GHG emissions and are responsible for 40% of its energy consumption. As part of the Fit for 55 package, the commission proposed to revise the buildings directive to bring down this segment’s carbon footprint in December 2021.
Draft proposals envision all new buildings occupied, operated or owned by public authorities to become zero emission from 2026. If there is technical and economical feasibility, then all new buildings must have solar systems installed by 2028, while existing residential buildings undergoing major renovation can go solar till 2032.
There are other energy efficiency measures too included under the proposed draft for residential, non-residential and public buildings. However, public buildings of cultural and historical importance or those protected will not be covered under the new rules. Member states will need to set up measures to achieve these targets in their national renovation plans.
Irish politician and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ciaran Cuffe who is advocating the EPBD proceedings said, “Improving the performance of Europe’s buildings will reduce bills and our dependence on energy imports. We want the directive to reduce energy poverty and bring down emissions, and provide better indoor environments for people’s health. This is a growth strategy for Europe that will deliver hundreds of thousands of good quality, local jobs in the construction, renovation, and renewable industries, while improving the well-being of millions of people living in Europe.”
SolarPower Europe’s (SPE) Policy Advisor Jan Osenberg appreciated the progress of the directive and sees European Solar Rooftops Initiative kicking off as early as 2025 if all goes well in the next round of negotiations.
He added, “Public or non-residential buildings – like libraries, supermarkets, or warehouses – offer the majority of the EU’s rooftop space, and the highest returns for building owners. Equipping all newly constructed buildings with solar, and setting a timeline to retrofit existing ones, is a no-regret step for Europe’s energy security and green transition.”
In October 2022, SPE was part of 18 organizations that urged the EU to support the development of a strong mandate for on-site solar in the EPDB to accelerate the roll out of rooftop solar (see Demand For Rooftop Solar On All Roofs In European Union).