EU energy certification for buildings

A new directive on the energy performance of buildings will come into force in 2006, requiring buildings to be certified for their energy efficiency, with regular inspections of air conditioning and heating systems.

The directive, now in force following its publication in the latest issue of Official Journal of the European Communities, warns that buildings account for up to 40% of the EU’s energy consumption, and are likely to demand more energy in the future.

Southern European countries are buying more air-conditioning units, which “create considerable problems at peak load times, increasing the cost of electricity and disrupting the energy balance in those countries,” according to the Commission. The directive calls for priority to be given to passive cooling techniques that chill the inside and outside of buildings.

The new legislation will require building projects to consider measures such as a decentralised energy supply system based on renewable energy, or a link to district or block heating or cooling where available, before construction begins. Existing buildings will also be required to update their energy installations during major renovations.

Member States will set minimum standards of energy efficiency, and large public buildings will have to display their energy certificate to the public.

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