Update on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EU)

The ITRE Committee, in its first working session of the new Parliamentary term, discussed the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). With over 50% of members being new to the committee, the rapporteur Romanian Socialist Silvia-Adriana Ticau spent some time giving a progress report on the debate and the negotiations with the council.

The Swedish presidency and the commission were also present. Both the Parliament and council hope to get a first reading agreement by the end of the year but both groups recognize the challenges facing them, including financing issues and the common methodology on optimum cost.

Claude Turmes, Green Luxembourgish MEP, raised some interest in his request for a document outlining best practice examples for energy-saving technologies. Turmes also called for legislation that encourages deep renovation at low cost. He acknowledged that windows greatly contribute to energy efficiency but pointed out the need for integration of other parts of the building (eg, heating systems) as well to ensure higher efficiency. Turmes also stressed the fact that central and eastern European countries have low energy prices, even without good insulation practices, which might impede incentives for renovation.

Fiona Hall, British Liberal, insisted on the need to set a deadline for all new buildings to be "zero emission buildings" and to establish a road map for the existing buildings to become low energy. She also highlighted the importance of public procurement to lead the way.

Finally, Matthias Ruete, Director General of DG TREN, stressed the necessity to consider the impact that such a revised directive will have on EU citizens and asked MEPs to distinguish between public buildings and private housing. As regards the methodology, Mr Ruete argued for a common methodology in order to properly underpin the law. He also emphasised that while the recast exercise needs to be very ambitious, council must also agree, so, the Parliament must respect and accept the differences among member states.

Both the MEPs and council presidency have emphasised their will to reach an agreement on 7 December with a view to send a signal on energy-efficient commitments at the Copenhagen climate talks. In the meantime, discussions between the Parliament and council will resume at the end of September.

Source: European Parliament

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