Content updated 21 February 2023.

The Energy Performance of Building Directive 

The Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) is the main legislative instrument regulating buildings across the EU. It aims at fostering energy efficiency and to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources in the building sector.  The Directive is under revision and the recast negotiations are approaching conclusion. Trilogues negotiations are ongoing.

View more about the recast here

The 2018 EPBD (in force)

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2018/844/EU) that is currently in force, introduced new elements to the former 2010/31/EU Directive and sends a strong political signal on the EU’s commitment to improve the energy performance of the buildings sectorand increase the rate of renovation.

Since the introduction of energy performance rules in national building codes, new buildings today consume only half as much energy as typical buildings from the 1980s.

Minimum energy performance requirements

Member States must establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of building energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings.

‘Nearly zero-energy buildings

The Directive required Member States to ensure that by 31 December 2020 all new buildings are so-called nearly zero-energy buildings'.It also introduced the concept of cost optimality, requesting that Member States ensure that minimum energy performance requirements for buildings are set ‘with a view to achieving cost-optimal levels’. The cost optimum level shall be calculated in accordance with a comparative methodology. The calculation methodology was provided by the Commission.

Replacements and renovations

The proposal includes minimum requirements for components for all replacements and renovations.

A harmonised calculation methodology to push-up MS minimum energy performance requirements towards a cost-optimal level is set out in the Directive in a definition and an annex.

Support of EED

The energy performance of buildings was also supported by elements of the Energy Efficiency Directive that promotes the renovation of public buildings and the development of long-term renovations strategies.

EU countries must make energy efficient renovations of the total floor area of buildings owned and occupied by central governments to at least 3%  per year. National governments are recommended to only purchase buildings that are highly energy efficient.

Other provisions under the EPBD include:

  • EU countries must establish strong long-term renovation strategies, aiming at decarbonising the national building stocks by 2050, with milestones for 2030, 2040 and 2050. This should contribute to achieving the national energy and climate plans (NECPs) energy efficiency targets.
  • EU countries must set cost-optimal minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, for existing buildings undergoing major renovation, and for the replacement or retrofit of building elements like heating and cooling systems, roofs and walls.
  • Energy performance certificates must be issued when a building is sold or rented, and inspection schemes for heating and air conditioning systems must be established.
  • Smart technologies are promoted, including requirements on the installation of building automation and control systems, and on devices that regulate temperature at room level.
  • Provisions of health and well-being of building users is addressed, for example consideration of air quality and ventilation.
  • Member states must draw up lists of national financial measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Energy performance of buildings standards

The European Commission has established a set of standards and accompanying technical reports to support the EPBD called the energy performance of buildings standards (EPB standards). These are managed by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN/CENELEC).