The European Commission's proposal to extend energy efficiency standards to all buildings within the EU could not come soon enough if countries are to maximize the enormous untapped energy performance potential embedded in existing buildings, says RICS' (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) latest Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) position paper.
With over half the existing building stock in Europe being constructed prior to 1970 and most likely to remain standing for at least the next 50 years, RICS believes the removal of the 1000 m² threshold for major renovations of existing buildings is an essential step in the reduction of energy consumption and carbon emissions across the EU.
Along with extending the requirement to publicly display energy certificates to a wider number of buildings, the introduction of mandatory random control measures regarding certificates and strengthening public information at national level will go some way to building greater general consumer awareness.
In addition, the requirement of making energy certificates available at the time of marketing for either sale or rent will not only alert consumers to the respective energy performance of a property but will also lead to estate agents recognising this as an important feature of the transaction process.
Ursula Hartenberger, Head of RICS EU Public Affairs comments: "Although the majority of member states have fully implemented the current Directive, EU member states are still facing considerable practical difficulties. This is due partly to the fact that the current directive deals with a very complex sector, and also due to vague provisions in the actual legislation. RICS strongly supports the recast of the Directive as it will play a vital role in ensuring clarity, practicality and consumer buy-in for the upcoming political debate. The Commission is taking the right steps into this direction."