European Parliament’s Plenary vote on EPBD

EPBD: European Parliament’s Plenary vote approves ambitious position


14 March 2023 
Brussels, Belgium

The European Parliament’s Plenary approved its position on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) on Tuesday (14 March), increasing the Commission’s ambition ahead of the negotiations with EU Member States.  

A central piece of the EU “Fit for 55” package, aiming at making Europe climate neutral by 2050, the EPBD revision aims to upgrade the European building stock to zero-emission (ZEB) by 2050. In its December 2021 Proposal, the European Commission introduced an obligation for Member States to gradually phase-out their worst performing buildings by setting energy performance standards at the EU level. These so-called Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are based on a common rescaled Energy Performance Certificate scheme, where, as proposed by the European Commission, the worst 15% of each national building stock will be classified as class, while the class A will be reserved for ‘Zero Emission Buildings’.

The text was adopted with 343 votes in favour, 216 against and 78 abstentions. Under the Parliament’s text all new buildings should be climate neutral by 2028 at the latest while existing buildings will have to comply with Minimum Energy Performance Standards set at EU or national level to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The Parliament calls for all existing building to achieve at least efficiency class E by 2030 and D by 2033 – non-residential buildings and public ones must reach those standards by 2027 and 2030 respectively. Member States will have to set higher standards for those buildings after that date and for the rest of the stock.  

The text adopted by the ITRE Committee in February knows a couple noticeable exceptions due to the Plenary vote. This includes a wider exemption for non-listed heritage buildings as a result of a Plenary Amendment tabled by French Conservative MEP François-Xavier Bellamy. Another amendment, tabled by the German Liberal MEP Andreas Glück seems to provide Member States with more flexibility regarding the deployment of EV infrastructure. 

“The past year has demonstrated that this is a highly sensitive file, both on a technical and political level. Our national and local associations are getting more and more calls from concerned citizens on the matter. Since the vote in Parliament’s Industry Committee early February media attention is also growing across Europe. The Recast is indeed a change of paradigm from setting ambitious goals to concrete impact on citizens, EU building stock and national housing policies”, commented Emmanuelle Causse, Secretary General of the International Union of Property Owners.

“No one questions the need to renovate our building stock and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, it is of upmost importance not to lose public support for the green transition. We need to massively deliver on the tools to facilitate renovation and give some flexibility to implement the objectives. The latter will be the task of the co-legislators in the upcoming interinstitutional negotiations.”  

After the vote, negotiations between the Parliament and the Council, the so-called trilogues, will soon begin. A deal on the file is to be expected later this year. 

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