Brussels │‘Fit for 55’: Council agrees on stricter rules for energy performance of buildings

The Council today reached an agreement (general approach) on a proposal to revise the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The main objectives of the revision are that all new buildings should be zero-emission buildings by 2030, and that existing buildings should be transformed into zero-emission buildings by 2050.

As regards new buildings, the Council agreed that:

  • from 2028 new buildings owned by public bodies would be zero-emission buildings
  • from 2030 all new buildings would be zero-emission buildings
    Exceptions will be possible for some buildings, including historical buildings, places of worship and buildings used for defense purposes.

For existing buildings, member states agreed to introduce minimum energy performance standards that would correspond to the maximum amount of primary energy that buildings can use per m2 annually. The purpose is to trigger renovations and lead to a gradual phase-out of the worst-performing buildings and a continuous improvement of the national building stock.

For existing non-residential buildings, member states agreed to set maximum energy performance thresholds, based on primary energy use. A first threshold would draw a line below the primary energy use of 15% of the worst-performing non-residential buildings in a member state. A second threshold would be set below 25%.

Member states agreed to bring all non-residential buildings below the 15% threshold by 2030 and below the 25% threshold by 2034.

The thresholds would be set based on the energy use of the national building stock on 1 January 2020 and may be differentiated between different building categories.

For existing residential buildings, member states agreed to set minimum energy performance standards based on a national trajectory in line with the progressive renovation of their building stock into a zero-emission building stock by 2050, as outlined in their national building renovation plans.

The national trajectory would correspond to the decrease of the average primary energy use in the whole residential building stock over the period from 2025 to 2050 with two control points to keep stock of member states’ achievements. These would ensure that the average primary energy use of the whole residential building stock is at least equivalent to:

  • by 2033, the D energy performance class level
  • by 2040, a nationally determined value derived from a gradual decrease of the average primary energy use from 2033 to 2050 in line with the transformation of the residential building stock into a zero-emission building stock.

Member states agreed to add a new category “A0” to the energy performance certificates that would correspond to zero-emission buildings. Furthermore, member states will be able to add a new category “A+” corresponding to buildings, which in addition to being zero-emission buildings contribute on-site renewable energy to the energy grid. The energy performance certification for buildings, previously set by the directive, ranks buildings on a scale from A (best performing) to G (worst performing) based on their energy performance.

Member states agreed to set requirements that ensure that all new buildings are designed to optimise their solar energy generation potential. Member States agreed to deploy suitable solar energy installations:

  • by 31 December 2026, on all new public and non-residential buildings with useful floor area over 250 m2
  • by 31 December 2027, on all existing public and non-residential buildings, undergoing a major or a deep renovation, with useful floor area over 400 m2; and
  • by 31 December 2029, on all new residential buildings.

Member states agreed on requirements to make available sustainable mobility infrastructure, like charging points for electronic cars and bikes in or next to buildings, cabling to foresee future infrastructure and parking spaces for bicycles. They also introduced voluntary renovation passports for buildings.

Member states agreed to issue national building renovation plans that would contain a roadmap with national targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 as regards the annual energy renovation rate, the primary and final energy consumption of the national building stock and its operational greenhouse gas emission reductions. The first plans would be issued by 30 June 2026 and every five years after that.


Background and next steps
The agreement paves the way for the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament. Once a political agreement is reached between the two institutions, the final text will be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament.

The Commission submitted a proposal for a revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive on 15 December 2021. The proposal forms part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, that aims to put the EU on the path to climate neutrality by 2050.

The proposal is particularly important because buildings account for 40% of energy consumed and 36% of energy-related direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. It also constitutes one of the levers necessary for delivering on the Renovation Wave Strategy, published in October 2020, with specific regulatory, financing and enabling measures, with the objective of at least doubling the annual energy renovation rate of buildings by 2030 and fostering deep renovations.

The existing EPBD, last revised in 2018, lays down minimum requirements to the energy performance of new and existing buildings that are being renovated. It sets a methodology for calculating the integrated energy performance of buildings and introduces an energy performance certification for buildings.

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