ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS DIRECTIVE NEGOTIATIONS IN THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
MINIMUM ENERGY PERFORMANCE STANDARDS (Article 9)
- An escalating MEPS trust issue
In our report on the last Czech Presidency draft (epf22-43 of 27.09.2022), we wrote “Council’s shift back toward tougher MEPSs for residential after having previously watered it down suggests that this is starting to look like the end game.” But that didn’t take account of certain complications hinter den Kulissen.
The end game seemed simple:
- Non-residential: the 15% worst performing buildings to be renovated to a superior EPC class by 2030; the 25% worst performing by 2034
- The whole residential building stock must reach, on average:
- EPC ‘D’ class by 2033
- ‘B’ class by 2040
However, a major political issue is emerging over the use of EPCs for triggering such important obligations.
The problem is that, despite progress in the EPC article of the Commission’s proposed recast of the Directive, the 27 national EPCs are still largely not harmonised. Worse, slowly but surely, Council has whittled away some of the EPC harmonisation in the Commission Proposal:
- ‘A’ class has to be zero-emission in all member states
- And ‘G’ class is the worst-performing buildings, although Council deleted ‘15%’ (as in “the 15% worst-performing buildings”)
Article 16(2) Energy performance certificates
- In EPC Art. 16(2) Council deleted the Commission’s “Member States shall ensure that the remaining classes (B to F) have an even bandwidth distribution of energy performance indicators among the energy performance classes.”
- And in MEPS Art. 9(2), whereas the Council presidency draft of 13 July had laid down that the MEPSs for residential “shall be based on a national linear trajectory for the progressive renovation of the building stock”, by the 14 September draft, “linear” had disappeared.
In other words, by combining an uneven EPC class bandwidth distribution with a non-linear renovation trajectory, a government can delay pain and political risk that other governments are facing up to.
Result: in a ‘non paper’ (a common position paper aimed at the other member states), France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands want to replace EPCs by something more objective and reliable:
“However, this* should be proven by equal and verifiable parameters (increase energy performance, reduction of direct greenhouse gas emissions) and not the EPC classes anymore, because these classes have different meanings in each country today and will lead to an uneven renovation effort in each MS.”
- the average national residential energy performance in 2033 and 2040
The Czech working party president had to refer the dossier to the Permanent Representatives.
The solution proposed by the Dutch, French, Germans and Luxembourgeois etc. is not ideal either. EPCs have the advantage of easy recognition by market players, for example valuers trying to incorporate energy efficiency into their determination of the property’s market value.
- Breakthrough for countries having lots of green energy supply
Experts will have to decide if the vocabulary is good enough, but it looks as if one of the few remaining big unresolved issues in the EHH-ELO-EPF-TEGOVA Position has been settled:
The MEPS Art. 9 text in underlined bold italics is new
2a. Member States may choose to treat single family houses on a separate basis while ensuring that at least those which are sold, rented, donated or whose purpose is changed within the cadastre or land registry towards residential buildings after 1 January , achieve at least energy performance class [D] or higher within [five] years of the above mentioned triggers where necessary through renovation by the acquirers or owners.
3. In addition to primary energy use referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, Member States may define additional indicators of non-renewable and renewable primary energy use, and of operational greenhouse gas emissions produced in kgCO2eq/(m2.y).
Does this not go a long way to addressing what we had identified as the third of four structural flaws in the recast of the Directive, i.e. that it no longer accommodated both energy efficiency renovation and green energy supply?
We see the “where necessary through renovation” part of the preceding paragraph as also having relevance to this.
Full EPF Secretariat report and texts of Non-paper, paper for Permanent Representations and latest Czech Presidency draft under epf22-45 of 14.10.2022