Buildings energy Directive becomes law

An EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings reached the statute book in January.1

Member States have until January 2006 to ensure that certificates of energy performance are made available when buildings are constructed, sold or rented out, enabling prospective occupants to compare building efficiency. The certification methodology may be set at national of regional level according to a framework set out in the Directive

Member States are left to set their own minimum energy performance standards.

For new buildings, Member States must ensure that the feasibility of decentralised renewables, combined heat and power, district heating and heat pumps "is considered and is taken into account" before construction. When existing buildings undergo "major renovation" their energy performance must be upgraded to minimum standards where feasible.

The Directive also requires regular inspections of air conditioning systems consuming 12kW or more. Boilers must either be regularly inspected, or Member States must establish an advice service on boiler replacement.

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