Parliament approves new EU buildings law negotiated by Dublin MEP


Cuffe secures priority renovation funding for less well-off, protection for renters in final law

Up to 21-44 bcm of gas or €11bn per year could be saved, reducing energy bills & fossil imports

A strong majority in the European Parliament has approved the EU greener buildings law negotiated by Dublin Green MEP, Ciarán Cuffe. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive or EPBD, sets a pathway to a climate neutral building stock in Europe by 2050. The agreement struck by lead negotiator Cuffe directs EU money to renovations, prioritises renovation funding for less well-off households, and enhances renter protections. MEPs voted today to approve the final law by a majority of 370 votes in favour, 199 votes against, with 46 abstentions.

 The EPBD will modernise Europe’s building stock by introducing Minimum Energy Performance Standards or MEPS to progressively improve energy performance over time. These standards will be applied by the Member States to buildings in the non-residential sector, like offices or hospitals, and may also be applied in the residential sector, among other measures. There are no obligations to renovate for individual homeowners, however.  

In both the residential and non-residential sectors, action will begin with the buildings that are wasting the most energy, ensuring that people living in the coldest, dampest homes in Europe will be first in line to benefit from the new standards. To support building owners with these improvements and protect vulnerable households and tenants, financing measures, information services(such as One-Stop-Shops) and social safeguards are put in place before the standards are applied. 

MEP Cuffe said:

“This law is going to help people to save money on their energy bills and take people out of energy poverty, while reducing emissions from our buildings and cutting demand for fossil fuel imports. This is the ‘Just Transition’ in action: we have set a pathway to achieve a climate neutral building stock, and we have paved that pathway with measures to ensure that the people who can least afford to renovate are protected and prioritised along the way. That has been my priority as lead negotiator from the very beginning of this process, and I am proud that we have achieved that goal.” 

Under the new law, Member States must outline a National Building Renovation Plan (NBRP)and ensure that that plan is sufficiently funded. With respect to the investment needed to achieve the EPBD goals, MEP Cuffe added:  

“This Directive will unlock public and private money and direct it to renovations, and we have set a clear policy framework for this. There is a lot of EU money ready to fund renovations, and Member States are actually obliged to draw down EU funds to make sure their national plans are sufficiently funded and ensure their finance schemes prioritise people without the means to renovate. The savings with this law will also be considerable: Guidehouse estimates that between 21-44 bcm of gas or €11bn per year may be saved with the EPBD. This means significant savings for consumers and, crucially, reduced dependence on fossil imports from Russia. If we insulate homes, we isolate Putin.” 

The EPBD Recast charts a course for the EU to achieve a climate neutral building stock by 2050. Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and 36% of its CO2 emissions. It is one of the final pieces of legislation to be approved from the EU’s Fit for 55 or ‘European Green Deal’ package. This package of laws aims to slash the bloc's CO2 emissions by 55% by2030 when compared to 1990 levels.

 MEPs voted today on the final outcome of tripartite negotiations reached last December 7th, 2023 between the EU Member States, the European Parliament (led by Cuffe), and the European Commission. That outcome is known as the ‘trilogue agreement’.  

The Council of the EU is expected to cast their final vote on the EPBD in the coming weeks. Once approved, the EPBD will be signed into law and implementation by the EU Member States will begin in 2026. The first NBRPs should be delivered to the European Commission by the end of 2025.


March 12, 2024

cover image

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.