European Parliament to Mandate Solar Rooftops for All New Buildings by 2028
The deadline for new buildings owned by public authorities will be 2026
March 16, 2023
The European Parliament adopted the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, mandating the use of solar rooftop systems for all new buildings by 2028 and renovated residential buildings by 2032.
The directive aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption in the EU building sector by 2030 and make it climate neutral by 2050.
The European Commission had previously stated that the buildings in the region are responsible for 40% of the energy consumption and 36% of GHG emissions.
Last year, the Commission proposed the Solar Rooftop initiative mandating all new public, commercial, and residential buildings to install solar in a phased manner.
The draft measures derived from this initiative are expected to help increase the rate of renovations, improve information-sharing on energy performance, and eventually achieve zero emissions for all new buildings from 2028.
All new buildings will be required to install solar technologies by 2028, wherever it is technically suitable and economically feasible.
The deadline for new buildings occupied, operated, or owned by public authorities will be 2026, and the residential buildings undergoing major renovation will have time until 2032.
The European Parliament members adopted the directive by 343 votes to 216, with 78 abstentions. The Members of the Parliament will now negotiate with the Council to agree on the bill’s final shape.
Residential buildings would have to achieve, at minimum, energy performance class E by 2030 and D by 2033 – on a scale going from A to G, the latter corresponding to the 15% worst performing buildings in the national stock of a member state.
Non-residential and public buildings will be mandated to achieve the same ratings by 2027 and 2030, respectively.
The energy performance ratings depend on the amount of energy used per meter square and the level of carbon dioxide emissions (in tons per year). It provides a numerical grade between 1 and 100 depending on the renewable energy measures and a letter grade from A to G, with A being the highest and most efficient.
The buildings will be expected to upgrade their energy efficiency through insulation works, improvement in the heating systems, etc., when sold, rented out, contracted under a new agreement, or undergoing a significant renovation.
Under the new regulations, the EU member states are expected to establish the measures to achieve these targets in their national renovation plans.
The directive recommends that the national renovation plans include support programs to facilitate access to grants and funding. These programs must provide a substantial premium for deep renovations, especially of the worst-performing buildings, and targeted grants and subsidies must be made available to vulnerable households.
The regulations exclude monuments from the new rules and allow the EU countries to exclude buildings protected for their special architectural or historical merit, technical buildings, buildings used temporarily, and churches and places of worship.
The member states will also be allowed to exempt public social housing, where renovations would lead to rent increases that cannot be compensated by savings on energy bills.
The EU countries can also adjust the new targets in a limited share of buildings depending on the economic and technical feasibility of the renovations and the availability of a skilled workforce.
In February this year, the European Parliament approved a law that effectively bans the sales of new petrol and diesel cars in Europe from 2035.
The European Commission also adopted a new Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to support measures in sectors that are key for the transition to a net-zero economy in line with the Green Deal Industrial Plan.