Contributing to 40% of total energy consumption in the EU, improving energy efficiency in the building industry is a key focus for the European Commission.
With the EU saving £22 billion on energy imports last year, the European Commission plan to continue this trend and focus on improving energy efficiency in sectors where most energy is consumed.
The European Commission have identified the building industry as having a large scope for improvement in its energy efficiency. Updates are planned to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) legislation which it hopes will drive this improvement.
Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the EU, which includes heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.
Processes are already in place to enhance energy efficiency in the building sector. For example, new developments are being built to a highly energy efficient specification and so are compliant with Part L of the Building Regulations.
Older buildings, however, require on average circa 5 times more heating oil per square meter per year than new buildings. As 35% of the EU’s buildings are over 50 years old, improving the energy efficiency of these older buildings has assumed equal importance.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in the ‘Residential and commercial buildings’ section of their Climate Change Assessment Report that “over the whole building stock, the largest portion of carbon savings by 2030 is in retrofitting existing buildings and updating the energy use equipment”.
The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy recently revealed that an update to the EPBD legislation is soon to be put forward. Currently, there are four key parts to the EPBD; Air Conditioning Inspections, Energy Performance Certificates, Minimum Energy Performance Requirements and Calculation Methodology.
This focus on improving the energy efficiency of buildings within the EU could mean that legislation may tighten and potentially even change. Property owners who believe they may be affected by this should therefore plan to take steps to ensure that they maintain their compliance in the face of these potentially tighter controls.