Our position paper on the EPBD revision is out: the new EPBD will be a defining moment of the EU’s climate strategy

The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) comes at a critical time with recently increased climate goals further bolstered by the urgency of phasing out Russian fossil fuels. With this political momentum, there is an opportunity to ensure our building stock can be set on the right track to become climate neutral and future-proof.

EuropeOn represents electrical contractors in Brussels, who are increasingly solicited to respond to our citizens’ desire to reduce their climate impact and, if possible, take an active part in the energy transition with prosumer technologies. Building on this expertise, EuropeOn has released a new set of recommendations for policymakers and especially Members of the European Parliament to convey our members’ on-the-ground feedback to the EU decision making process.

Our recommendations are articulated around 5 key asks:

  1. Address skills and workers shortages to turn this threat to mass renovations into an opportunity for our economy, in line with our Skills4Climate campaign. This starts by analysing the gap between needed and available professionals to reach the aims of this Directive, and following this analysis with suitable action to scale up the workforce to the appropriate level.
  2. Ensure Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) reflect the intrinsic energy performance of buildings. EPCs are currently expressed in primary energy, a concept that is not well-understood by consumers and having the perverse effect of favouring fossil fuels. Expressing the energy performance of buildings in final energy will redress these inconsistencies.
  3. Duly consider electrical installations, as they are the backbone of decarbonised buildings. Electrical installations enable renewable and clean solutions (such as heat pumps, EV chargers, solar panels) to function and to be integrated in a building’s energy system. In many cases, they are outdated and need to be renovated to accommodate these new electric devices.
  4. Ensure buildings are fully charging-ready. Electric vehicles keep increasing their market share at a dramatic pace, fuelled by regulatory push such as the 2035 phase out date for combustion engines. Supporting this shift requires ubiquitous charging opportunities, meaning that every car space newly built of renovated should be at least charging-ready and pre-cabled.
  5. Fully harness the efficiency potential of BACS. More can be achieved with BACS through the EPBD, notably by extending more requirements to residential buildings with over 70kW of heating and cooling power.

We are confident that this favourable momentum will keep pushing this debate in the right direction. Indeed, EuropeOn’s Secretary General was recently invited at a panel debate in the European Parliament with MEP Sean Kelly, who showed great acumen in his understanding of the electrical contractors’ observations concerning EPBD. He specifically outlined the need to address the necessary workforce with appropriate action, at both EU and Member State level. MEP Kelly highlighted that, while the issue with skilled workers seems to be understood, there is a lack of concrete action to tackle this shortcoming. In this regard, he pointed to quantitative and qualitative assessments of the needs for workers in the construction sector. Sean Kelly also touched on another critical issue, the need to properly consider electrical installations. He hit the nail on its head by mentioning the effectiveness of inspections and of integrating them in EPCs as well as the validity of including electrical installations in the definition of Technical Building Systems.

Further, the European Parliament’s environment committee’s recent work on the EPBD again shows that MEPs such as Radan Kanev or Marcos Ros Sampere have an understanding of the needs to better address workforce issues and pay more attention to electrical installations.

However, more can be done to ensure this EPBD is indeed conducive to our climate neutrality goal, to rolling out zero-emission buildings and ensuring the intentions of the REPowerEU plan can materialise (see other news).

We look forward to a constructive dialogue with the relevant policymakers to provide the electrical contractors’ perspective on the decarbonisation of our building stock.

Read our full position paper.