The European Parliament has taken a significant step towards sustainable construction and green buildings by adopting energy efficiency regulations for upcoming constructions and buildings under renovation. The already agreed plans were adopted by MEPs upon consultation with Council, in order to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions from the buildings sector.

This revision of the proposed Energy Performance of Buildings Directive intends to effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption in the building sector of the European Union, and make it net-zero by 2050. The proposal also aims to renovate the more worst-performing buildings and enhance information-sharing on energy performance.

The revised proposal also focuses on new emissions-reduction targets which define that, “All upcoming buildings should be zero-emission as of 2030; new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities should be zero-emission as of 2028. When calculating the emissions, member states will take into account the life-cycle global warming potential of a building, including the production and disposal of the construction products used to build it.” stated a press release on the European Parliament.

On the other hand, as far as residential buildings are concerned, member states will have to put up measures to ensure a reduction in the average primary energy use to as low as 16% by 2030 and at least 20 - 22% by the year 2035.

Based on the technical and economic feasibility, member states would also be required to deploy solar installations gradually in public and non-residential buildings, depending on their size, and in all new residential buildings by 2030. Apart from this, measures to decarbonise heating systems and moving away from fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040 is also listed in the press release.
Despite that the revision encompasses most of the constructions in the union yet it exempts agricultural buildings and heritage sites from the new rules with buildings protected for their special architectural or historical merit, temporary buildings, and churches and places of worship inclusive of the exemption.

The revised rules mark the European Union’ determination to have clear guidelines for building owners and construction companies to have sustainability and net-zero as a core agenda.