EFCTC: Energy Efficiency

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of on the energy performance of buildings (2002/91/EC of 16.12.2002 )

The Directive came into force on 4 January 2003. It will greatly affect awareness of energy use in buildings, and is intended to lead to substantial increases in investments in energy efficiency measures within these buildings. Legislation must be in place by 4 January 2006, and will affect all buildings, both domestic and non-domestic. The major responsibility for practical measures to meet the requirements will fall on building services engineers. This briefing explains the main provisions of the Directive.

Why was the directive introduced?

The 160 million buildings in the EU use over 40% of Europe’s energy and create over 40% of its carbon dioxide emissions, and that proportion is increasing. Under the Kyotoprotocol, Europeis committed to reducing emissions and the Directive is intended to contribute to achieving this.

How is this energy used?

Heating fuel is the most important component (57% of domestic consumption, 52% of non-residential building consumption). Water heating accounts for 25% of domestic consumption and 9% of non-residential use. Lighting accounts for up to 25% of emissions due to commercial buildings.

How much of this energy can be saved?

According to the European energy commissioner, a cost-effective savings potential of around 22% of present consumption in buildings can be realized by 2010.

How much can this directive reduce the threat of climate change?

According to the European climate change programme, the directive could deliver up to 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide reduction by 2010. Inorder to meet the agreed Kyototargets, the European Union must implement reductions of 330 million tonnes between 1990 and 2010.

How will the directive work?

It facilitates requirements to measure energy use in buildings by:

  • introducing agreed measurements of relative energy performance
  • regular inspections and re-evaluations
  • requiring higher standards for upgrading larger buildings
  • improving standards for new buildings.

The buildings sector accounts for 40% of the EU’s energy requirements. It offers the largest single potential for energy efficiency. Research shows that more than one-fifth of the present energy consumption and up to 30-45 MT of CO2/Y could be saved by 2010 by applying more ambitious standards to new and when refurbishing buildings – which represents a considerable contribution to meeting the Kyoto targets.

The aim of improved energy efficiency has been set out in earlier existing legal instruments. Among the main Community legislation for the sector are the Boiler Directive (92/42/EEC), the Construction Products Directive (89/106/EEC) and the buildings provisions in the SAVE Directive 93/76/EEC). The Directive on the energy performance of buildings in force since January 2003 builds on those measures with the aim to provide for an ambitious step-ahead to increase the energy performance of public, commercial and private buildings in all Member States.