EU warned against watering down climate ambition in buildings law

(EurActiv, 13 Dec 2021) There are growing concerns that the European Commission is considering to water down a key piece of legislation that would drive emissions reductions in buildings ahead of its publication this week.

The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is due to be proposed on 14 or 15 December as part of a decarbonisation package aiming to bring Europe’s gas sector in line with its climate goals.

But while many praised a draft version of the text which circulated last month, EURACTIV has learnt that a new draft has lowered the ambition, including on minimum energy performance standards and renovation plans EU countries would need to create.

“This is so watered down. It’s really unambitious, and it’s going to make our life in the Parliament really hard. It essentially means we’ll have an uphill battle,” a European Parliament source told EURACTIV.

Pushback on renovating existing buildings

Existing buildings have proven the most difficult to decarbonise, with only 1% of them undergoing renovation on average every year.

To boost renovation rates, the EU executive planned to introduce minimum energy performance standards that would require buildings sold or rented to reach the energy efficiency class E for a transaction to take place after January 2027 and class C by January 2033.

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EurActiv, 13 Dec 2021: EU warned against watering down climate ambition in buildings law