Efficiency directive will be considered by the European Parliament in an attempt to meet 2020 energy use targets

Demand for energy efficiency retrofit work on the UK’s public buildings could almost double if fresh European targets are agreed in Brussels.

Proposals set to come before the European Parliament next week seek retrofits to 2.5% of all public buildings by floor area, including council housing, each year.

The rate of such work is estimated to be running at between 1.2% and 1.5% a year at present.

The targets, in a proposed Energy Efficiency Directive, are needed because member states may miss a target to reduce the EU’s energy use by 20% by 2020.

Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall said she expected the measure to be a “tremendous boost” to the construction industry in the UK.

But German and Belgian politicians want to restrict the liability to central government buildings.

Hall said: “If some governments have a problem with the measures for the public sector, more must be done in the other areas such as obligations on energy companies.”