Europe takes the first step to make solar energy mandatory in all new buildings. The European Commission has approved a proposal, which is now beginning its journey, so that from 2030 all new buildings incorporate photovoltaic panels to operate 100% with clean energy. The new standards will materialize through an update and revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
According to the proposal, from 2027 all Administration buildings must be emission-free and two years later, in 2030, this requirement must apply to all newly built buildings and homes. However, adaptations are also planned for existing buildings. The goal is for all buildings in the EU to be energy neutral by 2050.
In this way, the aim is to give a new twist to the decarbonisation of homes, and all of this is in line with the global objectives of avoiding a global rise in temperatures above 1.5ºC compared to the pre-industrial era in 2100.
For existing buildings, mechanisms are also provided for them to adapt and improve their overall energy efficiency rating.
Specifically, from December 31, 2026, every new government building or private office building over 250 square meters must be equipped with photovoltaic panels. Two years later, it will be mandatory to renovate existing office buildings with more than 400m2 to install photovoltaic panels. Y, Starting in 2030, these panels will be mandatory in every new home that is built.
The new standards for existing buildings provide for their progressive improvement in the field of sustainability. Specifically, the proposal agreed by the EC foresees that 15% of commercial buildings with the worst energy rating are renovated by 2030, in order to improve their conditions. That percentage should become 25% in the year 2034.
The Executive Vice President of the EC, Frans Timmermans, has stated that a “renovation passport” of buildings will be made available to homeowners as a tool to facilitate the conversion of buildings.
Mobilizing money to implement the measure
doThis new rule will entail more expenses for owners?
“Energy renewal will pay for itself over time, as it will mean savings on the energy bill,” he declared. According to the EC, the amount of these savings will be much greater than the investment required to adapt the building to the new requirements.
The proposal seeks, in fact, to reduce these costs to the maximum for the owners and it does so prioritizing the reconversion of those buildings whose rehabilitation is more profitable and represents greater savings in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. An energy class G home consumes an average of 10 times more energy than a building with almost zero energy consumption or zero emissions. Upgrading these buildings through renovation to class F will deliver between 4.6 and 6.2 Mtoe per year in energy savings across the EU, according to a Commission statement. And an upgrade to E-class will deliver about 2/3 more energy savings, says an EC statement.
According to the Commission proposal, renovation from level G to F on the Energy Performance Certificate scale would apply to about 30 million buildings. The Commission is preparing to mobilize up to 150,000 million euros from the community budget to meet the costs initial investment.
Funding will come from various sources, including the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The new Social Fund for Climate that the EC has proposed will also mobilize 72,200 million euros from the EU budget for the period 2025-2032 to support households, in particular those located in buildings with poorer energy performance.
The agreement reached by the EC is nothing but the first step on a long road to make this standard a reality and be transferred by all member countries to their respective national legislation. For now, it is expected that in a few days the European Parliament will set its position on this proposal. Subsequently, the europarliament and the member states must define the content and execution framework.
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