The European Commission has ambitiously set itself a target of a 20 percent energy savings by 2020 within the European Union (EU). According to EU reports, 40 percent of energy is consumed in buildings. To address these concerns, the EU adopted new legislation on energy performance of buildings that entered into force on January 4, 2006 and is currently being reviewed. The directive (law) 2002/91/EC provides for the application of minimum standards of energy efficiency to buildings in every country in the EU and the creation of a certificate to inform buyers or tenants of the energy performance of buildings. EU member states set the targets. European standards organizations develop test methods and calculation methodologies. U.S. exporters will find better market opportunities due to an increase in demand for innovative and energy efficient consumer and building products for new and retrofitted buildings. U.S. manufacturers are advised to evaluate the energy performance of their construction or consumer products in line with EU energy saving requirements
What is the directive about?
The directive on energy performance of buildings (EPBD) 2002/91/EC, which entered into force in January 2006, complements the existing construction products directive 89/106/EC (see separate market research report http://buyusainfo.net/docs/x_8600917.pdf). The latter requires construction works and their heating, cooling and ventilation installations to be designed and built in such a way that the amount of energy required in use will be low. The law addresses member states, giving them the necessary tools to develop their own framework for the following:
- a common methodology to be applied throughout the EU for calculating the energy performance of buildings
- minimum standards for energy performance to be determined by member states for new buildings and major refurbishments of existing large buildings
- a system of building certification to make energy consumption levels more visible to owners, tenants and users
- regular inspections of boilers (water heaters) and air-conditioning systems above minimum sizes to verify energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
Member states’ measures should take into account climatic and local conditions as well as indoor climate environment and cost-effectiveness. The EPBD applies to all new buildings and existing buildings subject to major renovation with a total useful floor area of at least 1000 m2 or more. Member states may decide not to set or apply the energy performance requirements for the following categories of building:
- protected building/monuments
- places of worship/religion
- temporary buildings, industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings
- residential buildings which are used less than 4 months/year
- stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m2.
As for the building certificates, several models already exist, mostly based on asset rating. There is no harmonized building certificate for all of the EU member states. The certificate will include reference values to allow consumers to compare and assess the energy performance of buildings. Inspections of boilers and air-conditioning units will be carried out by accredited and independent qualified personnel. Three-year extensions have been foreseen for member states that have not yet managed to set up a system.
The U.S. Commercial Service in each country (www.buyusa.gov) would be able to advise progress at member state level implementing and enforcing these EU requirements.
By Sylvia Mohr