EPBD Directive revision: an overview of the most important changes

The review of the European Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD) officially entered into force in July 2018 after a legislative procedure of about one and a half years. In this article we highlight the main measures.

Download the revised EPBD Directive

The EPBD Directive lies at the basis of requirements for Member States to have an energy performance methodology for buildings. With the revision the Directive now also includes the requirement to have a renovation strategy and energy performance certification regulation for buildings. The revised EPBD Directive is the first officially approved legislative proposal from a package of measures, which was presented by the European Commission as the 'Clean Energy Package' at the end of 2016. This package serves to create a stable legislative framework for the realization of a clean energy transition. Other guidelines included in this package are the revisions of the Directives on Renewable Energy (RES) and Energy Efficiency (EED).

Why an evaluation?

The revised EPBD is the result of an evaluation of the experience gained and the progress made with the EPBD Directive of 2010 and the EED of 2012. The evaluations evaluated the extent to which the Directives achieved their objective of realising a sustainable, competitive, reliable and carbon-free energy system in the European Union by 2050. This objective has been quantified by Europe as a reduction in greenhouse gases of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990. Buildings are an important factor in the realisation of this objective with a share of around 36% in the total CO2 emissions. Member States are asked to draw up a clear vision that allows for a cost-efficient consideration between the decarbonisation of the energy supply and the final energy consumption.

Impact of the revised EPBD implementation on Belgian legislation

In Belgium, the transposition of the EPBD Directive is mainly a regional responsibility. The revision will therefore have an impact on the regulation for the energy performance of new constructions, major energy renovations and the inspections of building technology systems. The energy performance regulation is currently managed by the EPB platform, a joint venture of the 3 regions Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels; although each region has their own EPB regulation, approximately 90% of the calculation method is the same between the three regions. Differences are for example the set final energy performance requirements, which are defined per region. In addition to new constructions, the revised EPBD is now also requesting Member States to draw up a clear renovation strategy and an energy performance certification method for existing buildings. These requirements were previously part of the EED. Energy performance certification requirements in Belgium are currently transposed into the EPC in Flanders, la certification PEB in Wallonia and the EPB certificate in Brussels.

Member States have until 10 March 2020 to implement the necessary requirements from the EPBD revision. Below an overview of the key points:

1. Develop a clear vision towards low and zero emission buildings

The Directive requires Member States to set a clear path towards low and zero building emissions in the EU by 2050 by defining energy efficiency milestones and actions on the short (2030), medium (2040) and long term (2050). This includes a vision on the mobilisation of financial institutions and the private sector to realise energy efficiency investments.

2. Introduction of e-mobility

The Directive states that buildings have great potential as leverage in the mobilisation of infrastructure developments necessary to charge electric vehicles in both new and renovated buildings. Measures included are the equipment of parking spaces with gutters for electric cables and a minimum number of charging points defined for specific types of buildings.

3. Adjustments to technical building system inspections

Inspections must be adjusted in accordance with the Directive to ensure that the energy performance of technical systems is better attuned to the real energy consumption. For example; verifications are requested on the extent to which the efficiency and dimensioning are in accordance with the capacity of specific heating and air-conditioning systems.

 4. Introduction of smart technology

The Directive considers smart technology to be an important vehicle in the valorisation of new energy saving opportunities. Examples include the installation of self-regulating equipment for individual room control in existing and new buildings and the replacement of physical inspections with building automation and electronic supervision of technical building systems for specific types of buildings.

5. Introduction of the smart readiness indicator (SRI)

The Directive introduces a Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI), which aims to raise the awareness of building owners and occupants on the value of building automation and provide more certainty on their actual savings. The purpose of the SRI is to improve the overall energy performance and to provide insight into the extent to which information and communication technology can be applied in buildings. The European Commission has been asked to propose an European definition and methodology for the SRI by 31st of December 2019.

6. Introduction of comfort and an healthy indoor climate

The Directive emphasizes the importance of realising a comfortable and healthy indoor climate. Particularly stressed is the importance of the role played by building technology; for example standards for the optimization of health, indoor air quality and comfort must be taken into account in the energy needs calculation for building technologies.

7. Relocation of the obligation for having a renovation strategy

With this revision, the obligation for Member States to develop a long-term renovation strategy has been moved from the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) to the EPBD. The strategy now needs to meet a number of minimum requirements and a central role for the mobilization of financial institutions is required. In addition, the Directive requires a link between financial measures and the quality of renovation work on the basis of a number of criteria. Member States are obliged to organize a public consultation on the long-term renovation strategy.

8. EPC improvements and the introduction of a building passport

The Directive recognises the need to improve the quality of the energy performance certificate (EPC/ la certification PEB / EPB certificate in Belgium) and wants to achieve this through creating more transparency, stronger independent control systems and an optional database. Also, the importance of documenting the performance of installed, replaced or upgraded technical building systems is emphasised. The development of building passports, an (online) collection of the available building data (e.g. soil certificates), is encouraged.

9. Points of attention regarding the EPB calculation method

The Directive tries to strengthen the link between the building standards and the EPB calculation method by stressing the importance of its application. In addition, Member States are obliged to write down their calculation method according to the template provided in Annex A of the standards ISO 52000-1, 52003-1, 52010-1, 52016-1 and 52018-1. The Directive also requires the numerical indicator for the primary energy consumption of a building to be expressed in kWh / m2 per year.

Next steps

The European Commission has indicated that it will support the Member States in the coming months in the transposition of the revised Directive to the relevant legislation by the 10th of March 2020. The Commission is responsible for the realisation of the following requirements defined in the Directive:

  • By the 31st of December 2019, a common Union scheme on the valuation of the extent to which buildings are ready to apply smart applications must have been adopted.
  • By 2020 the European Commission must have carried out a feasibility study on the options for introducing certification of autonomous ventilation systems and a voluntary building renovation passport.
  • By the 1st of January 2023, the Commission must inform the European Parliament and the Council on the way building policy can contribute to the promotion of e-mobility.
  • Finally, the European Commission will have to carry out an evaluation of the revised EPBD Directive by the 1st of January 2026.


Download the revised EPBD Directive