In December 2017 the EU Council, Parliament and Commission agreed the contents of the revision of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD 2010). The changes were published in January 2019. They still need the formal approval by the EP which is scheduled for April 2018, then the final directive will be published in the Official Gazette. The transposition period for Member States is 20 months, which is very short period and will keep the energy legislators busy in all member stated in the near future and beyond.
In my previous blog in spring 2017 I described the background and principles presented in the first draft of the directive proposed by the Commission. The negotiations between the Parliament, Council and Commission took the whole year 2017. The final agreement was achieved during the last days of the presidency of Estonia, most likely the agreement would have delayed more if transferred to the Bulgarian presidency in 2018. The interpretation of the document is a little difficult as the published document presents only the changes, which are no yet integrated with the EPBD 2010.
The problems/disagreements in the negotiation were the same as usually. Even though the proposal followed the consensus on the EU energy policy and agreed targets for reduction greenhouse gas the Member States objected the points/articles which would have needed investment efforts and which they did not considered cost effective.
Background to the revision of the EPBD 2010 is that the Commission realised that the goals set for reduction of primary energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2020 and 2030 may not be met. The implementation of nearly zero energy buildings has been slower than expected in the Member States and the targets set by Member States have not been very ambitious. More legislative actions are needed.
The major impact of the revised directive on energy use are the requirements dealing with the existing building stock. The objective is to renovate Europe’s entire building stock by 2050 so that it becomes “nearly zero emissions”. The directive sets the goal for reduction of emission to 80-95 % from the 1990 level. National plans will have to include milestones for 2030 and 2040 and define “measurable progress indicators” such as renovation rates or a cap on energy consumption per square meter. The actual measures will be entirely up to national governments. This will be a challenge in all Member States. The directive outlines, however, type of actions needed in several areas: legislation, revision of building codes, financing of the renovations, and technology. Innovative solution are required for all areas. The directive required actions in some specific areas focusing on renovation, building energy managements and automation systems, smartness of the buildings, electrical mobility, energy certificates, and energy inspections. The scope of the revised directive is expanded to cover also the energy production on the site.
Indoor air quality and climate issues have a little more attention than before is but not at all enough. Only a general remark is given: Member States shall encourage in the buildings with major renovation to address also healthy indoor climate conditions.
During the negotiations the original requirements for the energy management systems and automation were opposed by the Member States. In the final text many of them are omitted. The final document has only requirement for room temperature control and some additional mandatory requirements set for the non-residential buildings with thermal capacity over 290 kW (heating or air-conditioning systems). These buildings have to be equipped with building automation and control system by 2025.
Another topic for long discussions during the negotiations were the inspections. Many Member States considered them not cost effective, and the inspections were proposed to be left out, however, many experts, like REHVA, considered them useful. The revised directive requires inspections for the heating and air conditioning systems with capacity more than 70 kW. An alternative methodology for the inspections is also accepted. There has been discussions do the inspections cover also ventilation systems. It is not clear in the revised directive either to what extent ventilation systems are included, directive uses the wording “the combined air-conditioning systems and ventilation system”. The Commission has to conclude a feasibility study on the inspections of stand-alone ventilation systems by 2020. Hopefully the Scandinavian (particularly Swedish) experience on these inspections will be used.
Revised directive shows that EU believes in electric cars. Several new articles set requirements for the charging possibilities of electric vehicles. One idea behind those requirements may be that batteries of the electric car could be integrated with the electric network for the building for the electrical storage. Articles dealing with charging of electrical vehicles are much more detailed than many others, more like building codes.
A completely new topic/idea “Smartness indicator” of a building was launched in the first draft of the directive. The idea of this indicator was to develop a single number which could tell to the stake holders how well a building can 1) control and optimise its energy use, 2) serve the occupants regarding indoor environment and 3) adapt its energy use to the requirements of the energy grid. The topic was not well prepare and it was not accepted into the directive yet, however, the Commission has to develop a delegated act by stablishing an optional common EU scheme for rating the smart readiness of buildings by the end of 2019. The new name of the indicator “Smartness Readiness Indicator” reflects also the changes in the thinking. Development of the indicator is going on as a consulting work. Some results of this work have been available for review already. I will return to the contents of the proposal and other issues in the directive in my following writings.
Brussels has realised that the current measures to reduce the CO2 emissions and to reduce the energy use are not adequate to reach the goals set for 2020 and 2030. One step towards to goal is to further improve the energy efficiency of buildings. The most important tool for the improvements in EU is Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD).
Now when the majority of EU member countries have implemented the EPBD from the year 2010 it is time to consider the next steps. The major requirement in the EPBD 2010 was the demand for nearly zero-energy buildings. The question now is how to improve further the energy efficiency. One of the major ideas in the draft proposal for the improvement in EPBD requirements is to make building better to match to the user behaviour and demands and on the same time integrate better with the energy systems. This kind of smartness of buildings is in the major focus of the proposed revision of EPBD 2010, however, the draft proposes also many other changes. The main points of the proposed revision of EPBD are shortly summarised in this article.
Justification of the revision – energy targets are not met
The EU energy system projections indicate that the current national and European energy efficiency framework would not lead to projected energy efficiency improvements (30% in 2020 and the new 40% target established in 2015). One of the ways to improve energy efficiency is to tap the huge potential for efficiency gains in the building sector. One tool for the improvement of energy efficiency is the EPBD from 2010. The EPBD review is based on a broad public consultation, studies, and meetings with stakeholders and is supported by an evaluation and an impact assessment.
The proposed amendments address the problem that if no changes are made large amounts of cost-effective investments in energy efficiency in buildings would not take place. This is damaging in its own right, given the benefits for security of supply, the environment, reduced energy costs for households and businesses and potential for increased jobs, economy-wide economic activity and mitigation of energy poverty
A draft proposal was made unofficially available in August 2016. The proposal is focusing on a few articles in the current Energy Performance Buildings Directive from 2010.
The objective of the proposal is to make current directive stronger and simpler with some changes. The commission has deleted some requirements which have proven to be difficult to implement, and have been also evaluated not to be cost effective. The scope of directive has been expanded by redefining the technical building system to include also building automation, on site generation of energy and the renewable sources.
The scope of directive is expanded
Technical building system is defined now as “technical equipment for space heating, space cooling, ventilation, domestic hot water, built-in lighting, building automation and control, on-site electricity generation, on-site infrastructure for electro-mobility, or a combination of such systems, including those using energy from renewable sources, of a building or building unit”.
More focus on indoor environment
A significant change is also that the directive has now more emphasis also on indoor environment. The draft now states “The energy needs shall be calculated in order to ensure minimum indoor environmental levels that shall be defined at national or regional level”. The indoor environmental levels are currently defined in many countries including the Scandinavian countries, but not in all Member States.
Long term targets required
The commission also requests the Member States to set a roadmap with clear milestones and measures to decarbonise the national building stock by 2050 with specific milestones in 2030. The long term strategy shall also contribute to alleviate of energy poverty which is coming common in many countries due to high cost of energy for everyday life. The draft also includes several point with objective to increase the investments in energy projects.
Buildings to be integrated with energy networks
Innovation and new technology also make it possible for buildings to support the global decarbonisation of the economy. For example, buildings can leverage the development of the infrastructure necessary for the smart charging of electric vehicles and also provide a basis for Member States, if they choose to, to use car batteries as a source of power.
Member States shall ensure that all new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovations include infrastructure for recharging points for electric vehicles for every parking space without re-intervention on the building structure.
10% of parking spaces shall be equipped with recharging points of vehicles which can be controlled from distance to make maximum benefit of capacity of the electrical network (and changes in prices) by 2013.
Building automation and smart buildings
The digitalisation of the energy system is an area where developments are quickly changing the energy landscape, from the integration of renewables to smart grids up to smart ready buildings. In order to digitize the building sector, smart ready systems and digital solutions within the built environment need to be promoted by providing targeted incentives.
Building automation and smart buildings have an important role in the draft directive. Thinking behind this may be “what to do more to improve the energy efficiency when all building are already nearly zero-energy buildings”. The answer is: let´s make them smart to be able to respond better the user needs in the building and the national or regional energy systems. These “smart building” issues include:
All buildings with total primary energy use over 250 MWh/a have to be equipped with building automation and control system by 2023.
Residential buildings with centralised technical building systems of a cumulated effective rated output of more than 100 kW are equipped with electronic monitoring and effective control functionalities by 2023.
Smart buildings in focus
The commission is also empowered to develop and adopt a Smartness Indicator and provisions on use and ways to convey this information to prospective new tenants and buyers. This indicator shall cover flexibility features, enhanced functionalities and capabilities of a building resulting from more interconnected and built-in intelligent devices being integrated into the conventional technical building systems. The smartness indicator should be used to measure a building's capacity to use ICT and electronic systems to optimise operation and interact with the grid. The Smartness Indicator is not yet defined but the background document outlines that “It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level”.
Extensive databases required
Member States shall make compulsory the inclusion in the national database information on the actual energy consumption of public buildings where the total useful floor area is over 250 m².
Member States have to also develop financial incentives so that they respond to the actual energy savings (energy certificates before and after the renovation).
No more technical inspections
The Commission has also evaluated the cost effectiveness of various measures stipulated in the EPBD 2010 particular focus on inspections. The conclusion was that the inspections are not cost effective and as a consequence Articles 14 “Inspection of heating systems” Article 15 “Inspection of air-conditioning systems” and Article 16 “Reports on the inspection of heating and air-conditioning systems” are deleted in the proposal.
Annex I of the directive dealing with the calculation methods is also amended with the following:
The energy performance of a building shall be expressed by a numeric indicator of primary energy use in kWh/(m²a) in a transparent manner and harmonised for the purpose of both energy performance certification and compliance with minimum energy performance requirements.
The calculation of primary energy shall be based on primary energy factors per energy carrier, which may be based on national or regional annual weighted averages. Primary energy factors shall discount the share of renewable energy in the energy carrier while preventing double counting, e.g. through certified share with a guarantee of origin.
Member States shall transparently describe their national calculation methodology following the national annex framework of related European standards.
Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, August 2016
ANNEX to the Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings
Olli is the former Secretary General of REHVA and editor-in-chief of the REHVA Journal. He was REHVA president from 2005 to 2008. He has served as the professor of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning at Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and supervised over 250 Master´s Theses and 20 PhD-level theses.