EU member states long-term renovation strategies

While most EU member states have not yet submitted their long-term renovation strategies, countries such as Spain and Belgium have registered significant progress on the topic, following up on an emerging trend set by France and Holland.

The gradual tightening of energy efficiency renovation requirements is a union-wide goal and EU countries are planning for strategies that involve both residential and commercial sectors.

In some cases, owners will be motivated to renovate by a certain deadline via financial incentives, and in other cases via legislature.

Another possibility is to block selling or renting of buildings that have not reached a desired energy performance certificate rating (EPC).

EPCs are thus becoming key elements for building renovation and handling obsolescence, and are becoming more reliable and legally enforceable.

Let’s take the examples of France, where all housing with EPCs rated ‘F’ and ‘G’ (25% of the housing stock) will have to be renovated by 2028 and commercial property will have increasingly tight constraints, while the Netherlands will ban rental of offices with less than a ‘C’-rated EPC as of 2023, ‘A’-rated as of 2030.

 

Brussels capital region, Belgium

Residential

  • New EPC indicating the technical measures to be implemented in order to achieve the overall energy performance objective set (by type) by the Brussels Capital Region.
  • A renovation plan will be produced for the work and will be mandatory in the case of planning permission requiring the assistance of an architect. It will be produced by an architect.
  • Energy efficiency renovation work to be carried out in five stages to achieve a minimum performance level by 2050. This minimum level will be defined by type. Owners will choose the measures to be carried out from among the priority measures recommended by the EPC. By each deadline set by the legislation, owners must prove that the work has been correctly carried out.
  • Housing that does not meet energy efficiency and health criteria and/or a minimum level of energy performance will not be rentable.

Non-residential

  • Mandatory system of work to be carried out by certain deadlines, similar to the system established for the residential sector.

Flanders, Belgium

Residential

  • Updated EPC provides specific advice with a roadmap including indication of the cost price for single-family dwellings to enable the dwelling to progress towards the 2050 objective. “The indication of the renovation cost offers neutral arguments to potential buyers to negotiate the sale price.”
  • EPC for the common parts of an apartment building.
  • Gradual tightening-up of the standards of the Flemish Housing Code concerning the maximum EPC figure, taking into account the benchmarks of the long-term objective for 2050

Non-residential

  • Mandatory renovation after transfer of ownership: From 2021 the building must undergo deep energy renovation within no more than five years of a notarial deed of transfer of full ownership. Specific approach under preparation.
  • Mandatory minimum energy performance from 2030: From 2030, these buildings must achieve a minimum energy performance to an EPC level still to be defined.

Spain

Residential & Non-residential

  • Plan to turn EPCs into regulatory tools by raising their currently low technical quality, improving their legibility and visibility, revising the rating scales, indicating energy efficiency renovation pay-back terms and optimal staging of renovations.
  • Setting of minimum standards of energy efficiency, potentially based on the EPC and serving either as the threshold for sale or rental of the property or for preferential tax treatment.

An emerging trend of devising long-term renovation strategies is visible among EU member states, following the union-wide goal for energy efficiency. Early initiatives from countries such as Belgium, France, Holland and Spain provide a set of working models that can be observed and potentially become part of other members states’ LTRS.

On that note, Romania has published on July 4th 2020 a new and improved version of the 372/2005 law regarding energy performance in buildings. According to the second chapter of the law, the Ministry of Public Works, Development and Administration will publish the first version of Romania’s Long-Term Renewal Strategy by August 15th 2020, on its website, pending public debate.

After its adoption by the Romanian Government, the document will be updated every 10 years and communicated to the European Commission as part of the National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate Change, developed by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment.

Romania will be submitting its long-term renovation strategies to the European Commission this autumn and will be joining a select group of LTRS trend-setters, alongside Belgium, France, Holland and Spain.

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