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04 Nov 2022



On 25th October, under the helm of the Czech Council Presidency, the 27 Member States agreed on their position – the so-called “general approach” - to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposal for a recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The Council adopted a position that partially reflects FIEC expectations.

While the Council agreed that, from 2028, all new buildings owned by public bodies and from 2030 all new buildings should be “zero-emission buildings”, - an agreement that FIEC welcomes - and while it decided not to extend the directive’s scope to the point that it would become a “catch-all” instrument, including, for example, provisions on the mandatory use of certain construction materials, FIEC members regret that the Council failed to set clearer benchmarks in Article 9 on the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). The MEPS are at the heart of the Commission’s proposal and of the strategy “A Renovation Wave for Europe – Greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives” - also known as the Renovation Wave.

Given that the current annual renovation rate of residential and non-residential buildings in the EU will not achieve the EU Green Deal and “Fit for 55” targets, and knowing that 85%-95% of the existing buildings in the EU will still be standing in 2050, FIEC considers the Renovation Wave to be a significant opportunity to contribute to the Green Deal objectives, to the post-Covid 19 recovery, and also to help mitigating the effects of the current energy crisis.

“FIEC acknowledges that some room for design for the MEPS framework at national level is important and that the ambition of renovating tens of million public and residential buildings by 2033 at the latest – as has been proposed by the Commission - is high. But we need to keep the MEPS as the essential regulatory tool to trigger renovations of existing buildings on a large scale, in line with the Renovation Wave targets”, says Stephanos Pierides, who chairs FIEC’s sub-Commission on environmental affairs (TEC-3), commenting on the Council general approach.

“FIEC has been and will always be a strong supporter of the Renovation Wave strategy. For this strategy to remain an opportunity for our sector in terms of the creation of jobs, to respond to the energy crisis, and to help decarbonising the construction and building sector, we need an EPBD that, overall, maintains the level of ambition of the Commission proposal. Especially regarding the MEPS, the general approach is not ambitious enough to successfully launch the Renovation Wave.’’ - Pierides continues.

FIEC also notes that, in a joint statement following the adoption of the general approach, several Member States called for the MEPS to be strengthened to align the EPBD with the climate-neutrality ambition for 2050.

The discussions in the European Parliament on the EPBD are still underway. The interinstitutional negotiations between the Parliament, the Member States and the Commission are set to start in January 2023 under the Swedish Presidency of the Council. FIEC expects that these negotiations will be particularly difficult, due to their complexity and the interest they have attracted.

FIEC is the European Construction Industry Federation, representing via its 32 National Member Federations in 27 countries (24 EU & Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine) construction enterprises of all sizes, i.e., small, and medium-sized enterprises as well as “global players”, carrying out all forms of building and civil engineering activities.