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EU parliament passes EPBD update

EUROPE: The European Parliament has voted in favour of the trilogue deal of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which seeks to deliver a climate-neutral building stock by 2050.

The update of the EPBD, passed in Strasbourg by 370 votes in favour, 199 against, and 46 abstentions, is seen as a major boost for the adoption of heat pumps and more energy efficient air conditioning and refrigeration.

The EPBD is the main EU-level legal instrument for decarbonising building stock, providing a framework to achieve 2050 targets. It sets minimum energy performance standards in the non-residential sector and commits member states to renovating at least 16% of the worst performing buildings by 2030 and 26% by 2033.

It requires reducing the average primary energy used in residential buildings but without obliging individual homeowners to renovate.

Kadri Simson, the European Commissioner for Energy, said that the agreement presented a good balance between ambition, flexibility, and feasibility.

Speaking before the vote, she said: “With the provisional agreement, we have the right measures to boost the energy performance of the worst-performing buildings, but without obliging individual homeowners to renovate. In the non-residential sector, minimum energy performance standards will trigger the renovation of the worst-performers, where it is most cost-efficient.

“District renovations will promote more energy efficient, liveable, and cohesive housing on a large scale. And innovative, digitalised, and net-zero technologies will be harnessed for the best results. New buildings will be zero-emission buildings, fit for a climate-neutral future, and solar installations will become the norm for new buildings.”

Russell Patten, director general of the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) hailed the vote as “a huge step” towards decarbonisation of buildings. “It will drive renovation and phase out fossil fuel subsidies,” he said.

“As manufacturers of energy efficient heat pumps, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, we want to express that our sector is ready to contribute to the decarbonisation of our homes, commercial buildings, hospitals and schools,” Patten added. 

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