Minimum standards, maximum impact: How to design fair and effective minimum energy performance standards

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Caroline Milne

1189 Last modified by the author on 06/06/2023 - 16:21
Minimum standards, maximum impact: How to design fair and effective minimum energy performance standards

Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) can effectively accelerate deep energy renovation, spur innovation and construction, create demand for renovation services, and provide certainty to market players across the value chain. This paper explains how MEPS can be implemented effectively while remaining socially just, using a differentiated approach that carefully follows a series of design principles.

A policy instrument that effectively accelerates deep energy renovation while being fair to all citizens is urgently needed. Well-designed minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) can meet these requirements and put the building stock on track to meet climate targets.

Europe must urgently accelerate the renovation and full decarbonisation of its building stock. According to the European Commission, the current annual 1% renovation rate should double by 2030, while BPIE’s own analysis concludes that annual deep renovation rates need to reach at least 3% in order to meet the EU’s 2030 climate and energy goals.

BPIE’s EU Buildings Climate Tracker shows that the European Union is not on track to achieve its climate targets in the building sector. Lack of action, delays or weaknesses in implementing effective building decarbonisation policies at the European level are no longer acceptable considering the need to dramatically increase the EU’s energy security. To meet the 2030 and 2050 climate targets in the building sector, deep renovation activity needs to step up significantly this decade.

To meet the 2030 and 2050 climate targets in the building sector, deep renovation needs to ramp up this decade. A policy instrument that effectively accelerates deep energy renovation while being fair to all citizens is therefore urgently needed. Well-designed minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) can meet these requirements and put the building stock on track to meet climate targets.

To be effective, however, this paper published by BPIE explains that MEPS must take a differentiated approach according to building type and ownership structure, and must be meet the following design principles:

  • Address the worst-performing buildings first so that people see an immediate and meaningful impact.
  • Be aligned with the owner’s ability to invest.
  • Make requirements binding and foreseeable to accelerate innovation in the energy renovation supply chain.
  • Have an effective compliance support and enforcement system.
  • Define regular and frequent milestones.

To ensure that climate targets are reached, MEPS should apply to all building typologies, with an initial focus on worst-performing buildings. In absolute figures, the floor area of the worst-performing residential buildings is more than twice that of the worst-performing non-residential buildings. Because of this energy saving potential, MEPS should be applied to both residential and non-residential buildings.

The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive should therefore include these principles in its mandate to EU Member States and should avoid introducing exemptions which could lead to undermining the MEPS system. Any deviation from the principles should only be the case of buildings which fall under a heritage protection status in the Member States. In order to be effective, accessible and affordable, any MEPS scheme put into place must be implemented within a comprehensive ecosystem of supporting policy instruments tailored to the needs of the different target groups.

Read the study!

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