On 18 November 2009, the European Council reached a political agreement with the European Parliament on the Energy Labelling Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
The Swedish Presidency has thus successfully delivered the entire ‘Energy Efficiency Package’, which also includes a regulation on the energy labelling of tyres.
“Energy efficiency is one of the most important and cost-effective measures we can take to tackle climate change. Buildings account for 40 per cent of Europe’s energy use and are therefore an important piece of the puzzle in reducing the EU’s emissions,” says Ms Olofsson. “The directives on the energy labelling of products and tyres will also make it easier for consumers to make climate-smart choices in their everyday lives,” says Minister for Enterprise and Energy Maud Olofsson.
Energy Performance in Buildings Directive
With view to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the European lawmakers decided on three sensitive issues, namely the implementation date, the standard to be reached and the differentiation between the private and the public sector. Thus, this directive will on the one hand require all new buildings built after 2020 to have a “very high energy performance” and “to be powered to a large extent by renewable energy”. On the other hand, the public sector will have to take the lead and comply earlier with the new requirements by owning and renting buildings with “nearly zero” energy standards by the end of 2018.
Although this compromise remains below MEPs’ expectations, who were for instance willing to obtain the setting of percentage targets in order to oblige a certain proportion of buildings to produce all their energy on-site, it is nevertheless a good starting point.
Member states will have the responsibility to define own standards and set up mechanisms and develop national plans to encourage owners to invest in energy saving technologies for construction or renovation of buildings.
Member states will also have to establish a certification system to measure the energy performance of buildings. Before any sell of buildings, a certificate containing information on the energy performance of the buildings and recommendations on how to improve has to be issued.
Before coming into force, this text still has to be formally approved by the Council and to be endorsed by the Parliament in the beginning of 2010.
Energy Labelling Directive
In addition, MEPs and the Council Presidency agreed that any advertisement promoting price or energy efficiency on household appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, driers, dishwashers, or ovens will have to indicate the product's energy class. The new label allows for additional classes (with "A+++" for the most energy-efficient products) but limits the total number of energy classes to 7.
Any advertisement (also including technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers’ brochures) promoting "energy- or price-related information" on a specific model will have to show the product's energy consumption by reference to its energy class, agreed MEPs, led by Anni Podimata (S-D, Greece), and the Swedish Presidency. The initial Commission proposal did not include any provisions for advertising "white goods".
In future, the label must also be attached to energy-consuming products for commercial and industrial use, such as cold storage rooms, display cabinets or vending machines. Additionally, the energy labelling obligation will apply to energy-related products, including construction products, which do not consume energy but "have a significant direct or indirect impact" on energy savings such as window glazing and frames or outer doors, says the compromise text.
The technical details of the directive, such as the energy classes of specific products, will be determined by a Commission working group.
The compromise text agreed on Tuesday still has to be formally approved by the Council before Parliament as a whole gives its final endorsement at the start of 2010. Once adopted and published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have 12 months to adapt their national laws to the new EU rules.
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