Published: Tue, 17 October 2023
Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, has voiced confidence that a deal can be reached on new EU rules to improve the energy efficiency of buildings across Europe, after “significant progress” in ongoing negotiations. The EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a cornerstone piece of legislation with the aim of decarbonising Europe’s building stock. In criticising misinformation circulating about the EPBD, Kelly stressed that the EPBD will not impose mandatory home renovations.
As the lead negotiator for the largest political group in the European Parliament, the EPP, Kelly has played a central role in advancing the Directive throughout the decision-making process, winning support for the current negotiations between the EU Commission, Parliament, and Council.
Significant progress made in negotiations
“We have made significant progress in discussions related to the EPBD. It is a delicate balance between enhancing the energy performance of the built environment and recognising the challenges faced by ordinary citizens and businesses in terms of building renovations. While there are still some remaining issues to address, I believe we are heading in the right direction”, Kelly said.
The revised EU rules would introduce updated standards for energy performance with the goal of decarbonising the building sector. These changes include redefined energy performance standards, revisions to national building renovation plans, and the introduction of a new requirement for life-cycle emission calculations for new construction.
“Renovating our buildings, whenever possible, to make them more energy-efficient and capable of using affordable and eco-friendly renewable sources is a fundamental aspect of the energy transition. This not only contributes to the overall decarbonisation of the stock, but also results in reduced energy costs for individuals. Building renovations and structural improvements are crucial to progress further in the energy transition, as a substantial increase in renewable energy sources alone is insufficient and technically unfeasible”, Kelly continued.
“Buildings do not cross borders, and a one-size-fits-all approach could have unintended negative consequences. We are moving in a direction that allows Member States greater flexibility to enhance the performance of their building stock while still addressing the worst-performing buildings.
EPBD will not impose mandatory renovations
“The revised architecture is a major change to the initial Commission proposal and importantly ensures a district approach can be utilised, something I have been advocating for since the start of this process. There has been a lot of misinformation reported about the EPBD, often political opportunism, which needs to be counteracted. The EPBD will not impose mandatory renovations, but instead sets targets for energy savings over the whole building stock. Measures to achieve energy savings will ultimately be up to Member States. However, the EPBD aims to provide the necessary tools for people to undertake renovation initiatives such as ensuring more one-stop-shops”, Kelly added.
Kelly remains “committed and hopeful for the successful conclusion of the EPBD by the end of the year”, recognising its significance in promoting sustainable and energy-efficient buildings across the European Union.