EU countries want all buildings to be emission-free by 2050

New buildings should be completely emission-free from 2030 onwards, and existing buildings have to become emission-free by 2050, European energy ministers have agreed on Tuesday.

With this agreement, the member states' energy ministers are revising an existing directive on the energy performance of buildings proposed by the European Commission last December. The aim is to make all buildings in the European Union emission- and carbon-free by 2050. Higher energy efficiency should reduce emissions, combat energy poverty, protect residents from volatile energy prices and support the economy.

As always, EU countries and the European Parliament must agree on the Commission's proposal. Member states have now set out their negotiating mandates and agreed that all new buildings should be emission-free from 2030 (but public buildings as early as 2028). Existing buildings have to reach the same target by 2050. Exceptions are provided for historic buildings and places of worship, among others.

Existing buildings will have to meet gradually stricter energy performance standards. In this way, member states hope to encourage renovations and phase out the worst-performing buildings.

Buildings which no longer emit greenhouse gases at all should in the future be able to obtain a new EPC (energy performance certificate) label 'A0'. Furthermore, all new buildings will have to be fitted with solar panels. This requirement will also be rolled out step by step until December 31st 2029, when all new residential buildings must comply.

The adjusted directive means that once the Council and Parliament have reached an agreement, member states must transpose the text into their legislation. In Flanders, compulsory renovation for residential buildings already goes into effect on January 1st 2023. The goal is for every house and flat to carry an EPC label 'A' from 2050 onwards.




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