The European Commission’s (EC’s) proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), announced last December, includes roadmaps for phasing out fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040 at the latest, among other measures affecting the cooling and heating sectors.

The revision of the EPBD is part of the “Fit for 55” package in the European Green Deal and complements other endeavors proposed in July 2021. It aims at achieving a zero-emission building stock by 2050.

It also translates the EC’s Renovation Wave Strategy into concrete legislative action.

Stakeholders can submit comments on the proposal until March 15, 2022. The proposal then needs to be finalized by the EC, the European Parliament and the European Council.

Notably, the EC’s proposal calls for National Buildings Renovation Plans to be fully integrated into National Energy and Climate Plans.These plans will need to include roadmaps for phasing out fossil fuels in European heating and cooling buildings’ systems by 2040 at the latest, along with a pathway for transforming the national building stock into zero-emission,” said the EC in a statement.

Heating, cooling and domestic hot water account for 80% of the energy consumed by households, said the EC. Buildings account for 40% of energy consumed in Europe and 36% of energy-related direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, the Commission added.

Eliminating fossil fuels in Europe heating and cooling buildings’ systems would lead to the widespread adoption of heat pumps as well as district heating and cooling. Notably, efficient cooling is proposed as a mean to reach Renewable Energy targets in a separate legislative effort.

Overall, the EC proposes that all new public buildings must be zero-emission as of 2027; as of 2030, all new buildings must be zero-emission. “This means that buildings must consume little energy, be powered by renewables as far as possible, emit no on-site carbon emissions from fossil fuels and must indicate their global warming potential based on their whole-life cycle emissions on their Energy Performance Certificate,” the EC said.

REHVA (the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations) released a statement welcoming the proposed revision of the EPBD. “REHVA welcomes the EPBD proposal to boost high-quality deep energy renovation and to strengthen requirements for a healthy indoor air and climate quality,” said Anita Derjanecz, Managing Director of REHVA.

AREA (the European Association of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Contractors) applauded the inclusion of provisions on MEP (minimum energy requirements) to address the worst-performing buildings. The group also welcomes the introduction of national building renovation plans and the enhanced focus on energy performance certificates.

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