This article, written by BUILD UP Experts, gives a broader picture of the importance of EPCs concerning both consumer Practices and Building Property Value at the European Level.
The European Union has established clear legislative frameworks to reduce energy demand from buildings. The directives on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD, 2018/844/EU) and Energy Efficiency (EED, 2018/2002/EU) are being implemented by the EU Member States to this end. Under the EPBD, EU member States have established energy performance certification systems with independent mechanisms for implementing and controlling national pathways towards improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
In this context, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are an instrument that contributes to the improvement of the overall buildings’ performance transparently and comparably across Europe. EPCs were first introduced under the EPBD in 2002, and in 2010 the recast EPBD added a set of new requirements to improve the quality, usability and public acceptance of EPCs. Not to be confused with Energy Performance Contracting (which is also commonly abbreviated as EPC), the purpose of an Energy Performance Certificate is to provide information on a building’s energy performance rating and to make recommendations about cost-effective improvements.
Energy certification can also be a means for informing consumers and can influence the building’s property value. This report by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre supports ‘de-risking’ activities by evaluating existing literature about the impact of energy efficiency improvements on the value of property through the impact on operational costs. The contribution of EPCs to so-called green premiums and brown discounts are also analysed.
EPCs may also include information on non-energy parameters, such as comfort. A 2018 report by BPIE puts a spotlight on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) parameters. It presents national cases and initiatives and provides recommendations on how to integrate IEQ into national and EU policies.
The European Commission supports Concerted Actions that assist Member States to implement EU sustainable energy legislation effectively. The EPBD Concerted Action facilitates the sharing of experiences between national authorities responsible for implementing the EPBD. One of its Core Teams focuses on EPCs, including issues of compliance, use of databases, and training of inspectors. These topics are developed around the idea of feeding into three major pillars linked to EPCs:
The EPBD Concerted Action published a report on the status of certification, control systems and quality across the EU’s Member States plus Norway, in 2018. The report discusses the procedural steps to carry out certification and inspections in buildings, as well as measures the countries are taking to ensure the public’s acceptance and awareness of EPCs. Some countries have designed their EPCs to take into account the possibility of carrying out step-by-step renovations to improve energy performance in stages over time. The Concerted Action also publishes factsheets, including one on Member States’ experiences in changing EPC scales and layouts, and another on the EPCs impact on property value.
The European Commission funds several projects exploring current and future ways to implement certification of buildings’ energy performance.
Three more recent projects, funded under the Horizon 2020 Energy efficiency call of 2018, are dealing with the definition of innovative and more comprehensive schemes.
A further four projects, selected under the same EPC topic but in Horizon 2020 Energy efficiency call of 2019, are scheduled to start during 2020, and yet more projects will be added following the final 2020 call of Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency which also includes a topic on EPCs. As such, the European Commission is creating a critical mass of projects on Energy Performance Certification that will serve to inform future policymaking as well as improving the current implementation of the EPBD.
An interesting approach is pursued by some projects that place EPCs as a means to support energy renovation.
With the support of these EU-funded projects, Europe’s Member States are implementing and supporting energy efficiency via a combined multilevel set of actions. This is necessary because of the diversity of Europe’s buildings, national legislation, and a varied geographic, climatic, social and technical context. In the pursuit of a building stock that meets Europe’s long-term energy and climate targets, the effective implementation of EPCs is an important element.
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