Despite the recent EU agreement to transform the building sector with the adoption of ambitious energy efficiency legislation, practical barriers remain in Europe, according to the latest RICS report "Towards an Energy Efficient European Building Stock".
The third edition of the RICS report outlined that though in all EU member states, with the exception of Greece and Latvia, the current European Directive on Energy Efficiency of Buildings (EPBD) have been fully transposed into national law, many countries still face significant problems to implement it on the ground.
RICS recognizes the progress made in the last months by many countries including Germany, Ireland, the Benelux and the Scandinavian countries in order to tighten their minimum energy efficiency requirements; at the same time, strict controls to ensure a full implementation of the legislation has been adopted in Belgium, Germany and Portugal.
However, according to the report, many member states are still struggling to carry out the inspection regimes into practice. One of the major problems that most countries are facing is the lack of qualified and accredited experts, such as the energy inspectors in charge of the certification of buildings.
In particular, ensuring trainings and licensing of independent qualified professionals proves to be a considerable practical challenge for countries such as Romania, the Baltics, Slovenia, Greece and Italy. In addition, in some Member States, such as Spain and Cyprus, the market access for energy assessors is restricted to certain professions.
Moreover, the report reveals that energy certification is often perceived by consumers as a burden, rather than an opportunity to save energy and improve their quality of life.
Zsolt Toth, RICS EU Public Affairs officer and author of the report commented: "While most countries transposed the Directive into national law, the successful work on the ground is not necessarily ensured, as some of the new member states are still facing substantial problems. At the same time, most EU governments have been reasonably successful in their recent awareness raising campaigns aimed at improving the energy performance of buildings; however efforts have not been perceived as meaningful for householders. To tackle this situation, governments have to make the right financial incentives available, and communicate how people can take advantage of energy performance certificates."