On 18 May, MEPs adopted the EU's new directives on energy-efficiency legislation for buildings and labeling. According the adopted legislation on buildings, member states will have to alter their building codes so that all new buildings constructed from the end of 2020 meet high energy-saving standards and, to a large extent, use renewable energy.
Existing buildings will have to be upgraded where possible during major renovations. When renovating, owners will be encouraged to install "smart meters" and replace heating, hot-water plumbing and air-conditioning systems with high-efficiency alternatives such as heat pumps. Regular inspections of boilers and air-conditioning systems will be required. Public authorities' building projects are to lead the way two years earlier. Part of the funding for these changes will come from the EU budget.
As for the label, the Parliament approved a new layout of the EU energy-efficiency label introducing additional "plus" classes to the familiar color scheme. Under the new legislation, the layout of the energy-efficiency label will allow up to three new energy classes, to reflect technological progress, but will still limit the total number of classes to seven. The labeling color scheme ranging from dark green for most energy-efficient products to red for least energy-efficient ones will be adjusted accordingly, so the highest energy-efficiency class will remain dark green and the least energy-efficiency one will be red. A commission working group will determine the energy classes and the specific products that must be labeled.
The council is expected to rubberstamp the adoption of both directives during the Competitiveness Council of 25 May 2010.
Sources: ENDS, DODS, European Parliament