Friday

20th Apr 2018

Lower energy bills promised after EU buildings deal

  • According to the European Commission, only 0.4% to 1.2% of building stock undergoes renovations annually, while energy savings can be made in 75% of them (Photo: H E N G S T R E A M)

EU negotiators agreed on Tuesday (19 December) that each member state should set up national plans to make buildings almost carbon neutral by 2050.

The new rules should also lead to lower energy bills, according to Estonia's economic affairs minister Kadri Simson.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Estonia's economic affairs minister Simson (r) hailed the deal reached. EU commissioner Canete also called it a 'step in the right direction', but said it could have been more ambitious (Photo: Council of the European Union)

"Increasing energy-efficiency is a no-brainer: it's one of the cheapest and most effective ways of reducing our energy consumption and contributing to our climate goals," said Simson, whose country chaired the Council of the EU, where national governments meet.

"Considering how much energy is consumed in buildings, getting this element right is crucial," she added.

The European Commission has calculated that the building sector uses around 40 percent of the EU's energy. It estimated that energy savings can be made in 75 percent of buildings, but each year only between 0.4 percent and 1.2 percent of building stock undergoes renovations.

"By renovating and making them smart, we are catching several birds with one stone – the energy bills, people's health, and the environment," said EU commissioner for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic in a statement.

The details of the new EU directive were agreed by representatives of the commission, the council, and the European Parliament, although the final agreed text is not yet made public.

The council and parliament still need to approve the rules in a vote, which will be done in the new year.

As a result, national governments will have to draw up long-term renovation strategies for their building stock.

According to a council press statement the use of smart technologies in buildings is "encouraged", but apparently not made obligatory.

"Buildings would be required to be equipped with automation and control systems by 2025 only when considered technically and economically feasible," the council said.

Parking and charging

The 'energy performance of buildings directive', as the legislation is called, will also introduce some rules requiring additional charging points for electric cars to be built in non-residential buildings.

However, the requirements have been watered down significantly.

The commission had initially proposed that in new non-residential buildings – or old ones undergoing major renovations – with more than ten parking spaces, 10 percent of the parking spaces should have a charging station for electric cars.

The commission introduced this feature to help solve the 'chicken-egg' problem: when there are not enough charging stations, people will be reluctant to buy electric cars, which prevents the large-scale roll-out of charging stations.

Instead, the negotiators agreed that in those buildings, "at least one" charging station is built, if there are more than twenty parking spaces.

In addition, one in every five parking spaces should have the "ducting infrastructure to enable the installation of recharging points for electric vehicles".

These requirements will apply from 2025 onwards.

"I would have preferred to see a more ambitious commitment to e-vehicles charging points for non-residential buildings," said EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete in a statement.

Nevertheless, the commission embraced the compromise as "a step in the right direction".

Centre-left Finnish MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri was also involved in the negotiations.

"To bring down transport emissions we need electric cars," she said in a statement.

"With this directive we are building European infrastructure for e-cars in the most cost efficient way."

"I'm glad that the European Parliament obtained that the Member States will have to make sure that the national building stocks become nearly zero energy level by 2050," her Green colleague Florent Marcellesi, a Spanish MEP, told EUobserver in an e-mailed statement.

"The deal includes also policies and actions targeting worst performing buildings which will help to fight energy poverty. These are concrete measures allowing citizens to have a healthier buildings to live in,"said Marcellesi.

Focus

Indoor air quality on EU building agenda for first time

MEPs will debate amendments to new EU building regulations next week, intended to improve energy efficiency but which could also see indoor air quality become a mandatory criteria for the first time.

Magazine

Bioeconomy is a win-win strategy for Finland

"The big problem in the world today is a lack of resources and a lack of bio-diversity," says Finnish environment minister Kimmo Tiilikainen. His country plans to produce what the world needs the most.

Merkel: Nord Stream 2 is 'political'

Germany has for the first time acknowledged concerns on the "political" and "strategic" aspects of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  2. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  3. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  4. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  5. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  6. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  7. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  8. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights