The building sector in the EU is the largest single energy consumer in Europe, absorbing 40% of final energy, and about 75% of buildings are energy inefficient. Likewise, and depending on the Member State, only 0.4-1.2% of the stock is renovated each year.
This opens a vast potential for energy efficiency gains in Europe as well as economic opportunities: the construction industry generates about 9% of European GDP and accounts for 18 million direct jobs. Construction activities that include renovation work and energy retrofits add almost twice as much value as the construction of new buildings, and SMEs contribute more than 70% of the value added in the EU building sector.
The European Parliament has voted to approve a revised version of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). It aims to increase the number of building renovations and drive the market for smarter energy systems for new buildings. Officials want the changes to address the fact that almost 75% of buildings in Europe are considered ‘energy inefficient’.
The revised directive calls for the wider use of smart technologies to increase the market penetration of automation and control systems, supports the introduction of new infrastructure for e-mobility in new buildings, and establishes a path towards zero-emissions buildings by 2050.
Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said:
By renovating and making buildings smart, we are catching several birds with one stone – the energy bills, people’s health, and the environment.
The European Commission said the revision would also introduce mechanisms to deliver the high level of investment needed to carry out the many building renovations envisaged.