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EU aims for future proof buildings: both new and existing

The European Commission is updating its legislations to bring it all in line with the climate objectives 'Fit for 55" and the EU "Green Deal". In its proposal for a revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), that came out on 15 December 2021, things seem to go in the right direction.

The aim is to accelerate energy and CO2 emissions savings by 2030. There are some new provisions for new buildings and some minimum energy class requirements for existing buildings. The most important requirements proposed in the Proposal are:

• that all new buildings are to be zero-emission buildings in 2030 and as of 2027 for public buildings;

• the focus remains on energy efficiency while Member States are invited to give more prominence to healthy indoor climate conditions in buildings, including the availability of daylight that is unique property of glazing;

• the mandatory calculation and disclosure of the whole- life cycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) of new buildings as of 2030.

Building renovation is recognized once again as essential to the success of the EU policy framework for buildings since most buildings that will be used in 2050 are already existing and can only perform better once renovated. That is why a staged Renovation Wave is needed.

The following newly proposed provisions are therefore very welcome:

►the introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) linked to the energy classes per building type, as of 2027;

►the introduction of renovation passports to help building owners make a planning with recommendations what to renovate and in the right order. Window retrofitting is of course to be among such passports' priorities;

► the obligation for new and more detailed national renovation plans.

Looking at the new definition of a zero-emission building in the revised EPBD, it is clear that thermal low-e insulating and solar control glazing, that helps save energy from buildings, but also solar glass for roof panels ánd BIPV, that contribute to on-site renewable energy, have a future in Europe.

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