European Commission starts legal steps against several EU member states for failing to comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

At a time when we have to pull out all the stops to achieve our long-term low-carbon energy and climate objectives, it is discouraging to see that the European Commission is having to take legal steps against some of the EU’s member states in order to ensure that the Energy Performance of Buildings directive is implemented fully. It is explained in a news item on the Energy Industry Review website.

EC opens infringement proceedings against Romania on energy efficiency in buildings

On January 24, the European Commission decided to refer Czechia and Slovenia to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Directive 2010/31/EU).

Under this Directive, Member States must establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for all buildings, ensure the certification of buildings’ energy performance and require the regular inspection of heating and air conditioning systems.

In addition, the Directive requires Member States to ensure that all new buildings are so-called nearly zero-energy buildings by 2021. The Directive also requires Member States to ensure that energy performance certificates are displayed in certain buildings frequently visited by the public. This rule should create public awareness of the importance of efficient energy consumption and provide incentives for renovations. The Commission drew the attention of the national authorities to the incorrect transposition of this requirement in 2015 and sent official letters to both Member States in the course of 2017 and 2018. However, to date the Member States legislation on this issue have not been brought in conformity with the Directive.

In addition, the Commission decided to open European Union infringement proceedings against Croatia and Romania as both Member States have failed to submit progress reports in reaching cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements for buildings and its elements.

The European Union is aiming for a 20% cut in Europe’s annual primary energy consumption by 2020. Buildings account for about 40% of the European Union total final energy consumption and more than one third of its CO2 emissions. By properly transposing and implementing the legislation on energy efficiency in buildings, Member States can achieve a significant amount of cost-effective energy savings and avoid related greenhouse gas emissions.

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