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S&Ds: Cost of improving energy performance of buildings must not be on the shoulders of vulnerable

Date

14 Mar 2023

Sections

Energy

The European Parliament voted in favour of provisions, tabled by the Group of the Socialists and Democrats, on the updated EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, which will make it possible to have a climate neutral building stock by 2050. The new rules set the so-called Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). This means that under these standards, buildings that waste the most energy will have to be gradually improved. As a result, citizens will have lower energy bills in line with our S&D #Bring the Bills Down campaign with better insulations of windows, roofs and walls, as well as more efficient heating and cooling systems. The S&Ds achieved better flexibility for the obligations of the member states when it comes to these minimum standards. National authorities will be given the right to adjust the minimum energy performance standards for residential buildings by the end of 2036. Member states will also be able to exempt publicly-owned social housing where renovation would not be cost-neutral or where rent increases are greater than energy bill savings.

Tsvetelina Penkova, MEP and S&D negotiator on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, said:

“We are aware that bringing better energy performance to residential buildings will not be cheap and, for our group, it is totally unacceptable that such a financial burden be on the shoulders of homeowners. In many member states, people do not rent their apartments but own them, while they have a rather modest income. It is for these people we included provisions that make sure renovation of their residential buildings will get priority funding with EU money. In the current multiannual budget of the EU from 2021 to 2027, it is estimated that around €110bn will be dedicated to building renovations.

“The S&Ds built a majority around provisions in the directive that will address the root cause of energy poverty and improve the well-being of citizens. Improving the energy performance of buildings will substantially reduce the heat and electricity bills, and this would lead to a significant improvement of the family budget of the most vulnerable households. Member states can adjust the standards for residential buildings if they don't have the economic and technical feasibility and lack the needed workforce. The S&D Group was successful in obtaining exemptions for specific buildings that would otherwise require a significant amount of public funding to comply with the directive's regulations. These exemptions include not only publicly-owned social housing under certain conditions, but also historic buildings among others.”

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