European Commission suggests zero-emission building mandate for 2030


Trade body SolarPower Europe this afternoon welcomed a European Commission proposal to mandate all new buildings in the bloc be zero-emission structures from 2030, and said the measure, if approved, would “mainstream the installation of on-site solar and [energy] storage in building renovations.”

The commission today proposed new buildings achieve zero-emission status by having low energy consumption, being powered by renewables where possible, generating no on-site fossil fuel emissions, and spelling out their anticipated whole life-cycle emissions in a new, clearer energy performance certificate.

Urban solar

Buildings are key to our daily lives and significantly impact our health and wellbeing. The majority also have substantial carbon footprints, employing heavy use of fossil fuels across their lifetimes, from their construction, use, and demolition phases. In Q4 2021, pv magazine’s UP Initiative focuses on the role solar and energy storage can play in greening the world’s urban spaces. Read our urban solar coverage here

The proposal, which will now pass to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers consisting of EU member state representatives for consideration, also suggested new public sector buildings meet the same requirements from 2027. The draft policy was presented as part of a recast, second version of the EU's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

Miguel Herrero, senior policy advisor at SolarPower Europe, this afternoon told pv magazine: “SolarPower Europe has long called for the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to accelerate the decarbonization of existing buildings with on-site solar and storage. We’re thrilled to see this recast EPBD extend its scope to include the reduction of emissions from buildings, beyond simply improving their energy performance.”

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He added: “Today’s proposal for EPDB II is set to mainstream the installation of on-site solar and storage in building renovations.”

Asked whether the commission's suggestions were likely to survive possible pushback from member states, Herrero said: “As with all commission proposals, we will have to see how negotiations evolve in the European Parliament and council, but we know that in 2020 the parliament already indicated its strong support for the renovation wave and maximizing the energy efficiency of all existing buildings.

“And if you look at what is already happening in France, Germany, and Portugal, with announcements of new legislation for solar on buildings, we can see a growing wave of realization that solar technology can and must empower Europe to rapidly decarbonize the continent's buildings.”

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