QualDeEPC policy recommendations on Energy Performance Certificates

This document is the Conclusive policy recommendations guide containing EU level and general policy recommendations to Member States

The original objectives for introducing Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were 1) to make energy performance transparent in the building market, as a measure of the energy costs of using a building that a potential buyer or tenant would be interested in; and 2) to encourage energy efficiency renovation. However, the current implementation of EPC schemes in the Member States still shows significant challenges in achieving these two objectives. The recast of the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) provides a chance to enhance both the usefulness and quality of EPCs and the EPC schemes overall.

This document aims to inform both the debate on the recast of the EPBD and the enhancement of national EPC schemes in EU Member States. It presents the policy recommendations of the Horizon 2020 QualDeEPC project for making the EPBD and the national schemes more effective, particularly for deep renovation, and enhancing their quality overall. The policy recommendations also increase the levels of ambition and convergence across the EU in terms of building renovation. Deep (energy) renovation is crucial for mitigating climate change and for energy security. The EPBD and all of its articles, as well as national EPC schemes, should aim to make deep (energy) renovation the default. This objective would be embedded and ensured in EPC schemes, if the policy recommendations provided in this document were adopted and implemented.

The policy recommendations are agreed upon between the QualDeEPC partners and are ready to use in the debate on the EPBD and for national implementation. They were discussed with stakeholders, i.a., in the QualDeEPC final conference and national workshops, and were confirmed.

Combined with supporting tools developed by the QualDeEPC consortium, the policy recommenda-tions are formulated to take into account the European Commission’s proposal for a recast of the EPBD (European Commission, 2021); they look particularly at the articles relevant to EPCs.

For each of these 10 policy recommendations, we offer a concrete suggestion on how the content of the recast of the EPBD could be further improved.

  • 1 Ensure high user-friendliness of the EPC template and data
  • 2 Implement a clear and ambitious definition of ‘Deep (Energy) Renovation’
  • 3 Enhance the renovation recommendations on EPCs toward deep (energy) renovation
  • 4 Increase the coverage of the building stock with EPCs based on an energy audit or Renovation Passports
  • 5 Develop a better specification of energy data and classes on EPCs by the EPBD
  • 6 Provide an online tool on deep renovation options for building owners in each Member State
  • 7 Create Deep Renovation Network Platforms
  • 8 Require regular mandatory EPC assessor training or examination
  • 9 Provide voluntary/mandatory advertising guidelines for EPCs
  • 10 Improve compliance with the mandatory use of EPCs in real estate advertisements

Of the above 10 policy recommendations, the first one may be the most important to improve the user-friendliness of EPCs and their link to deep (energy) renovation. It is based on an enhanced EPC form template developed by QualDeEPC. The next four are closely related to deep (energy) renovation. No. 3 is also one of seven development priorities of QualDeEPC and would renovation recommendations on the EPCs consistent with deep (energy) renovation. Nos. 2, 4, and 5 concern three general topics linked to deep renovation.

Policy recommendations 6 to 10 are based on the other five priorities of QualDeEPC for the development of enhanced EPC schemes. Number 6 and 7 further strengthen the link between the EPCs and deep (energy) renovation, by making use of EPC data and providing further information supporting the implementation of renovation recommendations on the EPCs. No. 8 aims to improve the quality of EPCs in general. Finally, nos. 9 and 10 will strengthen the compliance of building owners with the requirement to present EPC energy data in real estate advertisements and thereby enhance the effectiveness EPC schemes in real estate markets.

(Note: the order, in which the 10 policy recommendations are presented in chapter 2, is somewhat different from the above table, due to a different logic of presenting them.)

During our project’s implementation phase, on 10 October 2022, the Council has adopted its general approach for the recast of the EPBD, and the EP’s ITRE Committee has adopted its report on 9 February 2023. There are a few elements of our policy recommendations that were included in similar form as we suggested:

  • The report of the European Parliament’s ITRE committee adds to the proposed Art. 16 (4) on the renovation recommendations, that these shall be “recommendations for the cost-effective improvement of the energy performance to cost optimal level”. This can be seen as an indirect provision that the renovation recommendations shall guide towards deep (energy) renovation.
  • The report adopted by the EP’s ITRE committee also includes a whole new Art. 15 a on one-stop-shops, which are required to be made available in a very similar way to the network of local or regional physical DRNP hubs proposed by QualDeEPC.
  • Some minor elements of QualDeEPC’s proposal for an enhanced EPC template are included in the Council approach or the ITRE report.
  • Article 17 (4) of the European Commission’s proposal includes: “Member States shall carry out sample checks or other controls to ensure compliance with these requirements.”. This is in line with one part of the QualDeEPC policy proposal for improving compliance of building owners with their obligation to display EPC energy data in real estate advertisements.

For further details, please see the QualDeEPC results and impacts report (D5.5; Thomas&Gokarakonda, 2023).

At the time of finalising this report, the European Parliament still had to vote in plenary on its position, and the trilogue negotiations would follow suit on this vote. This document was, therefore, still a potential source of information for these final steps of the policy-making process towards the re-cast of the EPBD.

In addition to suggestions for the further improvement of the EPBD recast, a set of policy recommendations and tools for national decision makers were elaborated to further improve legal and institutional frameworks for the EPCs at the national level. They can be used by any Member State to improve their national EPC schemes. Further detail on the policy proposals and tools developed by QualDeEPC can be found in the Deliverable D5.3, Guidebook for improved EPCs presenting the project’s proposal for an enhanced and converging EPC assessment and certification scheme (Korma et al., 2022).

These national-level recommendations were also specified by project partners in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Spain, and Sweden for their own country. These specific national adaptations can also be found in the Deliverable D5.3, Guidebook for improved EPCs presenting the project’s proposal for an enhanced and converging EPC assessment and certification scheme (Korma et al., 2022).