It is now up to the ITRE Committee to ensure the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive contributes to the decarbonisation of transport

Last week saw a bit of drama in the European Parliament, as the Transport Committee rejected its draft report on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). This means that it won’t be issuing any opinion on this Directive, leaving the Energy Committee sole responsible for this file.

Indeed, the EPBD proposal includes provisions for the decarbonisation of transport by ensuring that buildings are ready for electric vehicles and especially for their charging infrastructure. Hence, while the Energy Committee is the lead on this file, the Transport Committee was supposed to have an equal say on e-mobility provisions.

With this setback, it is now up to the Energy Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure that buildings can be ready to accommodate charging infrastructure for the increasing share of EVs in European parking lots. With the phase out date of 2035 for combustion engines, buildings falling under the revised EPBD must all be EV-ready.

In this regard, EuropeOn has 2 main recommendations:

  1. Emphasise pre-cabling. Some stakeholders and MEPs are very wary of increasing costs for buildings or building owners. While we believe it is important to ensure EV users can charge their vehicles as easily as possible, going strong on pre-cabling instead of directly mandating the installation of actual charging points would provide for a compromise as pre-cabling is rather cheap and still ensures buildings are future-proof by making sure prospective EV users won’t have to tear down walls or do major renovations (possibly in common areas) to install their EV charger. We believe all parking space should be pre-cabled in new and renovated buildings at the very least. 

Very importantly, the dimensioning of pre-cabling (including the electrical installation) is crucial as it is an integral part of the “future-proofness” of buildings. With an increasing rate of electrification, electrical systems in buildings are more important than ever and should be dimensioned accordingly.

  1. Guidelines are necessary to facilitate the installation of charging infrastructure in underground parking lots, especially to address fire safety concerns that some national stakeholders may have. Indeed, our members report lots of uncertainty from local authorities about how to handle the fire safety of underground EV chargers, resulting in undue bans on installations in some areas. It seems there is a lack of clear information and recommendations that could be addressed at EU level (e.g. by the Commission through guidelines). 

We look forward to the Energy Committee’s work on this file and hope that MEPs will be able to find an agreement that will prepare buildings for the decades to come.