EU politicians back improved building energy requirements

February 23, 2023|Written by |European Central Bank

A European parliamentary committee has adopted a position on the energy performance of buildings which goes beyond measures set out by the European Commission.

In a vote on the proposed buildings energy performance directive, the industry, research and energy committee backed several key provisions which are stronger than those put forth by the commission.

For example, under the committee’s position, all new government buildings would be zero-emission from 2026 and all new buildings from 2028, whereas the commission’s proposal is 2030 and 2027 respectively. Similarly, the committee wants to see residential buildings achieve an energy performance rating of E by 2030 and D by 2033, while the draft proposal settles for F and E by the same dates.

The proposed directive aims to reduce energy consumption in the building sector to help meet the EU’s commitment to be net zero by 2050. The proposal would, among other things, remove barriers to building renovations and set energy efficiency targets for new construction.

In order to meet those targets, the committee would oblige member states to “facilitate the access to affordable bank loans, dedicated credit lines, or fully publicly financed renovations”. It would also require member states to develop mortgage portfolio standards, in line with those proposed by the Unlock coalition of climate organisations.

These standards would ensure that banks provide funding to energy-efficient developments and renovations, and would require the commission and the European Investment Bank to introduce a guarantee fund to make renovation loans more affordable and accessible to households.

Stan Jourdan, head of policy for Positive Money EU, called the inclusion of mortgage portfolio standards “a victory for campaigners and economists who believe that the EU’s Renovation Wave strategy cannot be achieved without the full involvement of the banking sector”. He also said that finalised portfolio standards “will offer a strong basis for the European Central Bank to apply incentives through their refinancing operations.”

This draft legislation will be voted on by MEPs in March and, if approved, will become the parliament’s negotiating position with the European Commission and Council.

This page was last updated February 23, 2023

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