Published: Wed, 20 September 2023
Seán Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, has emphasised the importance of the proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The proposed changes to the EPBD aim to set new energy performance standards and decarbonize the building sector, with a particular focus on revising national building renovation plans.
Kelly underscored the significance of the EPBD in the broader context of Europe’s energy transition, stating, “The uncomfortable truth is that other pieces of legislation aiming to decarbonise the building sector are simply not enough. The EPBD is needed. The deployment of renewable energy at full scale will not be enough as it would be either too expensive or technically not feasible. We need the combination of both net zero energy and energy efficiency.”
While acknowledging that some have highlighted the Emissions Trading System (ETS) as a solution, Mr. Kelly pointed out, “The ETS can only address economic and financial barriers, but only partly. However, there are other well-known barriers to renovations that cannot be addressed effectively by the ETS and by increasing the energy bill of households.”
Addressing concerns and misinformation surrounding the EPBD, Kelly emphasised the need to get the legislation right, saying, “I appreciate that this is a difficult piece of legislation as it hits at the heart of everyday life of citizens, and that’s why we need to get it right. However, this should not be just about playing the politics of today, while ignoring our needs in the future. The do nothing approach helps nobody.”
Kelly has actively engaged with his constituents on this issue, stating, “I have had many conversations with constituents and have held several meetings on this topic. What’s clear to me is that people want to renovate their homes. They do not want to be exposed to energy price hikes, and we should help them by providing the tools and supports.”
He also countered claims that the EPBD would negatively impact citizens, saying, “The EPBD targets worst-performing buildings, but to say it would endanger social peace is ridiculous in my view. Low EPC rated buildings will be less valuable regardless of the EPBD. Instead, without it, we would make it harder for people to renovate.”
Regarding the ongoing negotiations, Mr. Kelly expressed optimism, saying, “We are still in negotiations, which I feel are moving in the right direction. I have advocated for a flexible approach, and when it is all said and done, I believe that citizens will be able to see through the populist political rhetoric and realize that this piece of legislation primarily is about enabling renovations.”
Kelly concluded by stating that “safeguards and financial supports will be put in place, one-stop-shops will help people find the most cost effective solutions and issues of skills shortages will have to be addressed. It is important to note that the EPBD will have a positive impact on the building value chain and job creation”.