Code for Sustainable Homes elevates Uk above European partners, though implementation throughout Europe is slow, report finds

The UK is in the top tier of EU countries in the applying the Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD) thanks to its commitment to zero carbon homes by 2016, a report out today indicates. As a whole, however, Europe is making slow progress towards implementation of the directive and lacks financial and legislative incentives for those seeking to improve energy use within buildings.

‘Implementation of the EU Energy Performance Directive – a Snapshot Report,’ published by the European Energy Network (EnR) surveyed 23 national energy agencies about their progress.

The report found:

  • Implementation of all aspects of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) has been disappointingly slow.
  • Only 20% of countries have Energy Performance Certificates fully operational and even then only for new build homes.
  • Two thirds have met article 3 and have a calculation methodology in place for new buildings and for renovation of existing buildings. In the residential sector this rises to three out of four Member States for new build residential properties.
  • 80% have energy performance standards in place for new build in the residential and public sectors. For existing residential and public buildings this decreases to 67%. Commercial buildings (new or existing) lag behind – these are in place in 71% and 62% (respectively).
  • 71% have met article 5 (energy performance requirements for new build).
  • 67% have met article 6 (energy performance requirements for large existing buildings that are subject to major renovations.
  • The EnR made several recommendations to Europe including,
  • Setting out a time frame by which all new buildings will be required to have net zero energy requirements or net zero emissions
  • Encourage member states to incentivise new builds or renovations that come in above their target
  • Ensuring that effective enforcement systems were in place for compliance.

Interestingly, many respondents to the survey wished to see the EPBD applicable to buildings below the current 1,000 sq m threshold.

“The UK seems to be leading in several ways,” said Zoltan Zavody, strategy manager at the Energy Savings Trust, which is the UK’s representative in the EnR. “The Commission needs to tighten up on similar targets across Europe for new builds and existing homes.”

“However,” he added, “there are too few strategies or targets for improving the existing stock. There are a range of initiatives that could be put in place. For example, the EU could require all countries to have a 60% reduction in energy from the housing stock by 2050.”