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European Directive on the Total Energy Efficiency of Buildings (EPBD)

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) represents a significant step towards achieving energy efficiency and sustainability in the building sector. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the EPBD and its various components.

The EPBD aims to significantly impact both existing and new buildings, with the Austrian Institute of Construction Engineering (OIB) playing a pivotal role in its national implementation. The directive is set to replace the long-term renovation strategy and introduce mandatory target paths, renovation passports, and a one-stop shop for technical advice on all renovation matters. The ultimate goal of the EPBD is to achieve complete decarbonization for existing building stock and new construction by 2050.

In terms of existing buildings, the EPBD sets a reference date of 2020 and introduces a renovation rate, as well as minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) that provide a framework for renovation. When it comes to residential and non-residential buildings, the directive considers factors such as primary energy consumption and individual building assessments. For new construction, the EPBD specifies that all buildings should meet zero-emission standards from 2030 onwards, with a focus on harnessing solar potential, promoting e-mobility, and addressing social and health goals. Furthermore, the directive highlights the significance of digitalization and sets a target for a twofold increase in the use of renewable energy sources by 2030.

The directive is closely intertwined with other EU regulations and initiatives, such as emissions trading (ETS-2), the expansion of renewable energy sources, sustainable investments (Taxonomy), energy efficiency and social criteria, public buildings and energy poverty, alternative mobility expansion, and the promotion of energy from renewable sources. The EPBD’s goals include achieving zero-emission status for all buildings by 2050, improving energy efficiency, and reducing CO2 emissions while considering external and local building conditions, indoor environmental quality, and cost efficiency.

To drive the achievement of these goals, the EPBD identifies three essential drivers: minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), financing, and technical guidance. It also introduces the concept of a renovation pass, which is voluntary and outlines the maximum number of steps a building should take to become a zero-emission building by 2050. Additionally, the directive emphasizes the importance of developing “green skills” and the necessary workforce to support these initiatives.

The EPBD introduces new concepts such as “major renovation” and “deep renovation,” which entail significant upgrades to building envelopes or building systems. It also addresses the issue of energy poverty, defines the global warming potential of buildings, and outlines the national renovation plan, which aims to achieve zero-emission status for all existing buildings by 2050. The plan includes specific targets for 2030, 2040, and 2050 and is required to be revised every five years and submitted to the European Commission.

  • 2030: all new buildings zero-emission
  • 2040: goals according to NGRB
  • 2050: all existing buildings zero-emission

Furthermore, the EPBD sets the standard for new and renovated buildings, emphasizing the importance of deep renovation and the need to eliminate CO2 emissions from fossil fuels on-site. It also introduces mandatory minimum energy performance standards, which are to be reported to the European Commission every five years. The directive also addresses the issue of financing, emphasizing the need for access to sufficient financial instruments to support the measures and achieve climate goals.

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