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Political agreement reached on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD2) recast

17th November 2009
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In November 2008, the European Commission adopted the proposal for a recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Throughout 2009, the proposal has been going through the approval process of the European Parliament and Council. The recast proposal confirms the importance of effective implementation at the Member State level, the importance of Community-wide co-operation and the strong long-term commitment and role of the Commission itself to support such effective implementation.

As the November 2008 Commission Communication states, buildings have significant untapped potential for cost effective energy savings "which, if realised, would mean that in 2020 the EU will consume 11% less final energy". The magnitude of the potential savings is such that every effort must be made to achieve it.

The first proposal is that Energy Performance Certificates will be required for public buildings over 500m2. This is likely to be implemented in the UK by reducing the threshold for Display Energy Certificates from 1000m2 to 500m2. This would then reduce to 250m2 after five years. Meaning a further 22,000 public buildings would be affected by the DEC regulations.

Also it is proposed that any building larger than 250m2 which is visited by the public, should display its EPC, if it has one. This would extend the display requirement to retail outlets - significantly expanding the number of buildings affected. The hope here is that competitive pressures would lead to an increase in the numbers of "voluntary" EPCs or DECs. This proposal is supported by the Government.

The main provisions of the revised Directive are planned to come into force by 31 December 2010, where they relate to public buildings and by 31 January 2012 for all other buildings. The Government feels this timescale is too challenging and are pressing the Commission for more time.
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