The European Parliament votes for net zero-emission buildings from 2030

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Anne-Sophie Tardy - Construction21

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1537 Last modified by the author on 13/03/2024 - 11:08
The European Parliament votes for net zero-emission buildings from 2030

MEPs adopted with a large majority the plans agreed with the Council to help reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.

All new buildings must be zero-emission from 2030 in Europe. This is what the European Parliament has just voted for, with 370 votes for, 199 against and 46 abstentions. The objective is to align Member States' regulations with the revision of the directive on the energy performance of buildings, included as part of the "Fit for 55" legislative package. According to the European Commission, EU buildings are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gases. And to mitigate the impact of the sector, MEPs shared an ambitious timetable.

For new buildings occupied by public authorities or belonging to public authorities, the deadline for this net zero emissions is set at 2028. Member States will be able to take into consideration the global warming potential of the building over its entire cycle of life, which includes the production and disposal of materials used for its construction. For residential buildings, Member States will have to put in place measures to ensure a reduction in average primary energy consumption of at least 16% by 2030 and at least 20-22% by 2035.

Solar power for the public and tertiary sectors

According to the new directive, Member States will have to renovate the worst-performing 16% of non-residential buildings by 2030 and, by 2033, the worst-performing 26% "by applying minimum energy performance requirements", specifies the Parliament.

If technically and economically possible, Member States will also have to progressively equip public and non-residential buildings, depending on their size, and all new residential buildings with solar installations by 2030. Fossil fuel boilers will also be persona non grata by 2040. Member States are invited to adopt measures in this direction. Subsidization for this equipment will also be prohibited from 2025, but financial incentives could be established for hybrid heating systems, such as the coupling of gas boiler and solar thermal or heat pump.

Agricultural buildings and heritage buildings may, however, be excluded from the new rules. Member States may also decide to exclude buildings protected for their particular architectural or historical value, temporary buildings, as well as churches and places of worship.

No more fossils from 2040

For the rapporteur of the directive on the energy performance of buildings, Ciarán Cuffe (Greens/ALE, IE), "this law will help reduce energy bills and tackle the root causes of energy poverty, while creating thousands of quality local jobs across the EU. Addressing 36% of Europe's CO2 emissions, this text is a new pillar and absolutely essential for the European Green Deal. The result obtained today shows that Parliament continues to support a Green Deal which guarantees fairness and ambition in equal measure.” The directive now needs to be formally approved by the Council to become law.

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