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25th Feb 2024

EU pushes electric car charging-point rollout

  • Effectively, only a few buildings will be obliged to actually install a charging point (Photo: American Tobacco Campus)
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The European Commission announced on Wednesday (15 December) that some new and renovated buildings in the EU will need to be equipped with charging points for electric cars - or the necessary infrastructure to install them.

The proposal is part of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which aims to improve energy efficiency of buildings to reduce the sector's emissions.

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EU standards for the design of buildings can boost the rollout of recharging infrastructure in car parking of both residential and non-residential areas, supporting the transition towards cleaner mobility, the commission said.

Under the new rules, new residential buildings and those undergoing a major renovation, with more than three parking spaces, must have pre-cabling installed for every parking spot in order to allow owners to easily set up a charging point at a later stage.

For new and renovated non-residential buildings, such as offices or shopping centres, with more than five parking spots, EU member states must ensure the deployment of at least one recharging point and the installation of pre-cabling for every parking spot.

Existing buildings with more than 20 parking spots are required to have one recharging point for every ten parking spaces by 2027 and pre-cabling of one in two parking spaces by 2033 if the building is occupied by public authorities.

In addition, national authorities have been told to remove all administrative barriers and provide technical assistance to ensure that owners can install a recharging point in their parking space whenever they want.

And all charging points will be required to have smart charging functions – which is key for an integrated energy system and stable grid.

While these targets have been welcomed as a step on the right direction, green groups have raised concerns over the lack of requirements to install charging points in most residential and existing buildings.

"This means that the 'right to plug' will remain theoretical for many, particularly given the low renovation rates in the EU," said the NGO Environmental Coalition on Standards.

EU climate targets would require three percent of buildings to undergo deep renovations by 2030. However, the current rate is only 0.2 percent – meaning that only a few buildings will be obliged to actually install a charging point.

Zero-emissions buildings

In the EU, buildings consume 40 percent of the bloc's energy and are responsible for 36 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions.

But the commission has put forward a series of initiatives to improve energy efficiency of buildings – including new rules to make all new buildings zero-emission as of 2030, and the phase-out of fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040.

Additionally, all the worst-performing buildings – with a "G" energy certificate – will have to be renovated before 2030.

In practice, this means that millions of buildings would need to be upgraded using solutions like insulation, heat pumps, or efficient glazing.

Having less energy-intensive buildings is also particularly important since energy prices reached record levels in October.

But the renovation is also expected to reduce energy poverty in the bloc, which today affects some 34 million Europeans who are unable to warm their homes adequately.

"This proposal will bring real solutions. It will help to end energy poverty and end the cycle of subsidising energy consumption, which throws a lot of money at a problem without actually solving it," said EU commissioner for the Green Deal Frans Timmermans.

Likewise, more funding will become available to member states - who are encouraged to put in place financial instruments to support the most vulnerable families, Timmermans said.

Based on EU countries' current plans, the cost of the 'renovation wave' up to 2030 is estimated at €2.75 trillion – which makes it the largest climate investment of any sector.

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