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EU: zero energy buildings in 2019


The European Chamber declared last 23 of April the revision of the guideline which controls the energy performance of buildings.

The Chamber of Deputies demands that every property built after 2019 produces the same quantity of energy they consume, with solar panels, heat pumps and other methods related to renewable energy. Moreover, they demand the increase of public investments for the efficient energy use of buildings.

The report of the Romanian socialist Silivia-Adriana TICAU –sanctioned by 540 votes in favour, 51 votes against and 26 abstainers- gives the Member States until 31 of December 2018 to ensure that every building recently constructed has zero energy consumption, i.e., that it produces as much energy as it consumes. For this the use of diverse mechanisms such as solar panels as well as heat pumps is proposed.

The Deputies also asked the Member States to establish the national average goals for the existing buildings, for example, with the fixation of a required percentage of buildings which should be zero energy usage in 2015 and 2010.

In the sanctioned text the zero energy buildings are defined as constructions “in which, as a result of the high energy conservation level, the annual consumption of energy equals or is even lower than the energy production which comes from renewable sources” sited in the building. Following the report, towards the end of 2010 the European Commission should consider a common European definition about the “zero energy buildings”.

Financial support

The Deputies call together the European Union Countries to present national planes of action which introduce financial instruments in order to improve the efficient energy conservation of buildings before 30 June 2011, such as low interest rate mortgages, fiscal facilities or asking energy suppliers to offer consumers financial assistance.

Apart form this, the Commission should propose before 30 of June 2010 additional financial instruments, such as:

*a significant increase of the European Regional Development Funds assigned for the
energy conservation resolutions;

*the establishment, in 2014, of an Energy Conservation Fund financed by the Community
budget, the European Investment Bank and the members of the EEC, in order to promote
the public and private investment in projects which encourage the efficient energy use
in buildings;

*decreasing of value-added taxes (VAT) of goods and services related to energy
conservation and renewable energy.

Updating of energy performance of buildings

Buildings must adapt in order to satisfy some required energy performance conditions, either with a “deep renovation” or through the substitution/installation of diverse components, such as windows, heaters or air-conditioning systems.

Deputies consider “deep renovation” an adaptation of more than 25% of the building surface or any renovation whose final cost rises above 20% of the property´s value.
According to the report, the Member States will be responsible for establishing the required conditions of energy performance. However the Commission´s deadline will be 31 of March 2010 to design a common methodology to calculate the performance of the buildings.

Holiday homes also included.

Deputies think that the EU members should introduce required levels of energy performance also for holiday homes which are used for at least four months a year. Therefore the Commission rejects the exception proposed for these homes by the European Executive Power.

The following buildings should be excluded from the guideline: small houses (less than 50 m2), buildings dedicated to religious activities, temporary constructions used for less than 18 months, buildings for agriculture and work groups with low energy demand, and, finally, historical buildings whose appearence would be altered by the adoption of efficient use resolutions.

Smart meters
The European Chamber considers the installation of smart meters necessary in every new building and in those which are being subjected to deep renovation. Smart meters measure the energy consumption and the time of the day in which this consumption increases.



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