Industry groups urge EU to implement energy in buildings directive

A group of seven European industry associations has called on the European Commission and European Governments to take action to ensure full implementation of the 2003 Energy Performance in Buildings Directive.

The Directive was adopted by the European Parliament in 2002 and should have been fully transposed into national law at the start of this year. However, few Member States have managed to implement any of the Directive on time, and all of them are asking for extra time to transpose key sections of it.

Now, seven industry associations including COGEN, CEETB, CECED, EREC and EuroACE, have called for full and rapid implementation by all Member States and for key amendments to widen the remit of the current Directive such as:

  • Including all existing buildings below 1,000 square metres;

  • Extending inspection requirements;

  • Raising standards for public buildings.

    The EPBD is widely acknowledged as having a crucial role to play in achieving emissions reductions targets since buildings account for over 40% of energy consumption and over 40% of CO2 emissions.

    According to estimates by the Commission, an effective legal framework for the buildings sector could lead to an annual energy saving of 70Mt CO2 or equivalent.

    “The Buildings Directive is one of the main pillars of European policy for the promotion of cogeneration. However, due to the delays in implementation, this Directive has yet to deliver any real improvements in the market”, Frank Knecht of COGEN Europe said. “In addition, due to the current limitations, four fifths of the potential market is not covered yet.”

    Technologies that would benefit from an expansion of the Buildings Directive are in the micro- and small-scale segment of the market, such as internal combustion engines, Stirling engines, micro-turbines and fuel cells.

    The public sector is in a good position to give a strong lead on sustainable energy solutions, as 16% of the EU’s GDP is spent on public sector procurement. The seven signatories to the EPBD say that all public authorities should visibly practice what they preach in order to convince citizens of the necessity and practicability of investment in energy savings.

    By David Hopkins

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