How the EPBD connects to the EU PEERS Community for Integrated Home Renovation Services - an Interpretation

June 10, 2024
12
min read

The European Union has been at the forefront of crafting policies addressing the built environment's environmental impact. An example of this is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) first enacted in 2002. A key instrument in the effort to address climate change. Through the Directive, Europe recognizes the responsibility of buildings for a significant portion of total energy consumption.

Understanding EPBD

The EPBD is a legislative framework to improve the energy performance of buildings within the European Union to achieve a zero-emission and fully decarbonised building stock by 2050. It outlines guidelines for Member States to enhance energy efficiency in both new and existing buildings. 

As part of the Fit for 55 package, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal to revise the EPBD on 15 December 2021. The EPBD has been under review (from December 2021 and expected to be officially approved in Q1 of 2024) to align with the EU's climate and energy targets and to introduce new provisions such as minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), solar energy installations, voluntary scheme of renovation passports, introducing a new definition of zero-emission building and refining definitions such as 'deep renovation'. The revised EPBD contains measures to improve both the strategic planning of renovations and the tools to ensure such renovations will happen. 

However, the EPBD alone is insufficient to ensure the successful and widespread implementation of building renovation in the EU. The renovation rate in the EU is still low. Moreover, many building owners, occupants, and technicians face multiple barriers and challenges to undertake renovation, such as lack of information, technical expertise, financing, quality assurance, and monitoring. This is where the EU PEERS Community for IHRS project comes in. 

Understanding IHRS and EU Peers Community for IHRS Relationship

IHRS are One-Stop-Shops that provide comprehensive solutions for residential energy renovation, such as information/marketing, detection, simplified diagnosis and recommendations, project design, selection of companies, financing plan, financing solutions, renovation work, worksite supervision and quality assurance. IHRS offer holistic solutions for home renovations and are part of the enabling framework breaking barriers to renovation. They are key instruments to accelerate the renovation rate and quality in the EU, and to help achieve the EPBD’s objectives. 

EU PEERS, the Community for Integrated Home Renovation Services, brings together  practitioners and stakeholders who support the development and implementation of IHRS in the EU. It invites IHRS providers and supporters to share best practices, knowledge, and experiences, and fosters collaboration and innovation in the field. The EU PEERS Community for IHRS project  is made available by the LIFE EU Peers initiative, funded by the EU's LIFE programme. In September 2023 Climate Alliance invited its 10 partners (from 7 countries) for the kick-off. 

Relationship between EPBD and EU Peers Community for IHRS

According to the Commission’s proposal, existing provisions on renovation will be complemented by the introduction of minimum EU-level efficiency standards, triggering an increase in the renovation rate of the worst-performing buildings. According to the new proposal for the definition of 'deep renovation', from the still-to-be-approved EPBD revision,”deep renovation” means a renovation in line with the energy efficiency first principle, which focuses on essential building elements and which transforms a building or building unit: (a) before 1 January 2030, into a nearly zero-energy building (nZEB); (b) as of 1 January 2030, into a zero-emission building  (ZEB). Requiring a mandatory renovation of the existing building stock. 

One of the agreed provisions in the revised EPBD is that Member States will establish One-Stop-Shops for home-owners, SMEs, and all actors in the renovation value chain, to receive dedicated and independent support and guidance.

The relationship between the EPBD and the EU PEERS Community for IHRS is that they both aim to improve the energy performance of buildings in the EU, and that the latter supports the implementation of the former. The EPBD sets the EU’s goals and standards for the energy performance of buildings, while the EU PEERS Community for IHRS brings together practitioners and stakeholders who provide and promote IHRS, which are One-Stop-Shops for residential energy renovation. The EU PEERS Community for IHRS helps to accelerate the renovation rate and quality in the EU, and to achieve the EPBD’s objectives, it also serves as a bridge between policy frameworks like the EPBD and practical implementation on the ground.

Conclusions

The key aspects of the EPBD that can facilitate IHRS are: 

  • Defining  ZEB and refining the existing definitions such as nZEB and ‘deep renovation’. This can provide a common vision and create ambition for building renovation across Europe. 
  • Establishing MEPS for existing buildings in each country (achieving cost-optimal levels and, where relevant, more stringent reference values such as nearly zero-energy building requirements and zero-emission buildings requirements) can create a more favourable environment for building renovation and trigger the demand of IHRS.
  • Promoting smart technologies and digitalization in the building sector, to monitor the energy and comfort performance of the building. This can help people to realise their situation and evidence the benefits of renovating existing buildings for their health, safety, and economy.
  • Enhance  quality and reliability of energy performance certificates (EPCs), to provide reliable and comparable information of the energy performance of the buildings, as well as recommendations for cost-effective improvements measures, serving as a basis for IHRS.
  • Encouraging  the use of renewable energy sources to limit the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling, can help the integration of buildings with the new energy system, creating new opportunities for IHRS.

The EPBD defines a regulatory framework that Member States must achieve. Initiatives such as the EU PEERS Community for IHRS must be created to boost the energy performance of buildings in the EU, and contribute to the EU's commitment to sustainable and energy-efficient building practices. The EPBD supports the development of IHRSs by providing a clear and harmonised framework for the energy performance of buildings, as well as incentives and requirements for building renovation. The development of IHRS can help increase the rate and quality of building renovation in the EU but it needs the transposition of this ambitious EPBD, especially regarding building standards, to create a more favourable environment for dEEp building renovation, and deliver the cascade of  benefits for the environment, the economy, and society which Energy Efficiency First principle can deliver at scale.

EU Peers Consortium
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