European Commission: New rules for greener and smarter buildings will increase quality of life for all Europeans

The new rules for smarter buildings were shaped by the contributions of thousands of citizens, organisations and public authorities across the EU. Thanks to the updated rules, the buildings of the future will be greener and more comfortable, and they will consume less energy.

On 9 July 2018, as part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, new rules for energy performance in buildings came into force (Directive (2018/844/EU, amending existing Directive 2010/31/EU).

These new provisions will make the buildings of the future greener and more comfortable, making them consume less energy. Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Currently, about 35% of the EU’s buildings are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient, while only 0.4-1.2% (depending on the country) of the building stock is renovated each year. Therefore, more renovation of existing buildings has the potential to lead to significant energy savings – potentially reducing the EU’s total energy consumption by 5-6% and lowering CO2 emissions by about 5%.

In addition, investments in energy efficiency can also stimulate the economy, in particular the construction industry, which generates about 9% of Europe’s GDP and directly accounts for 18 million direct jobs. The new rules support the mobilisation of investments in renovations and it is expected that SMEs will particularly benefit from a boosted renovation market, as they contribute more than 70% of the value added in the EU building sector.

Moreover, better performing buildings provide higher levels of comfort and wellbeing for their occupants, and improve health by reducing illnesses caused by a poor indoor climate. This has a major impact on the affordability of housing and reduces energy poverty throughout the EU.

These new rules for better performing and smarter buildings were shaped by the contributions of thousands of citizens, organisations and public authorities across the EU.

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