The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Epbd): a reflection on Italy and France
La Direttiva Europea sull'Efficienza Energetica degli immobili: una riflessione su Italia e Francia

On Thursday, 9 February 2023, the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) voted on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Epbd), which would oblige private and public building owners to carry out energy efficiency works in order to achieve energy class E by 2030 and class D by 1 January 2033.

What is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Epbd) is part of the ‘Fit For 55’ package, which suggests for residential buildings to reach class E by 2030 and class D by 2033.

The approved standard implements the agreement in principle reached in October 2022 by the European Council with a 2030 and 2050 horizon on the latest revision of a standard whose first version was 2012/27/EU, which came into force in December 2012.

The standard is to be voted on in the plenary session of the European Parliament on 13-16 March; the resulting text will be used as the basis for subsequent negotiations with the European Council and for implementation in the individual EU states.

What the Directive provides for

The directive distinguishes between new and existing buildings, between residential and non-residential buildings, and between private and public buildings.


For new buildings:

– from 2028, those owned by public authorities should be zero-emission;

– from 2030, all should be zero-emission.

For existing buildings, Member States have agreed to introduce minimum energy performance standards corresponding to the maximum amount of primary energy buildings can use per m² per year.

For existing non-residential buildings, states agreed to set maximum energy performance thresholds, based on primary energy consumption:

– the first threshold would set a line below the primary energy consumption of the 15% worst performing non-residential buildings in a Member State;

– the second threshold would be set below 25%.

Member States agreed to bring all non-residential buildings below the 15% threshold by 2030 and below the 25% threshold by 2034. These thresholds are set on the basis of the energy consumption of the national building stock on 1 January 2020.


What changes for new buildings

– all new private buildings will have to be zero-emission by 2028, or as early as 2026 if they are publicly owned or managed.

– also by 2028, where economically and technically feasible, new buildings will have to be equipped with solar technologies.

– residential buildings undergoing renovation have until 2032 to meet the same energy efficiency targets.

– in all types of buildings – new, undergoing renovation or in which the heating system is being changed – the use of fossil fuels in heating systems should no longer be permitted from the date of transposition of the directive, and should be eliminated altogether by 2035 or 2040.

According to the current version of the regulation, the following would seem to be excluded from the new rules:

  • historic buildings
  • religious buildings
  • second homes
  • houses with reduced floor space (less than 50 square metres)

What the Epbd regulation means for Italy

According to ENEA Agenzia Nazionale per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e lo Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), in Italy in January 2022 57% of the total building stock fell into classes F and G. That is to say, well over half of Italian buildings should undergo energy efficiency upgrading and/or renovation by 2030, with costs borne by private individuals – individuals, property management companies, investment funds, builders, etc. – who are already talking about ‘eco-patrimonial’ on buildings.

What the Epbd regulation means for France

In France, where the residential sector is the most energy-intensive, accounting for 43% of annual energy consumption and 23% of greenhouse gas emissions, an energy transition law was passed back in 2015 with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and fossil energy consumption by 30% by 2030.

In 2019, the Énergie Climat law introduced measures to redevelop energy-intensive ‘passoires thermiques’ housing, i.e. 4.8 million first homes in energy class F or G, representing 17% of the French housing stock.

Finally, the transposition of the European Energy Performance Class Directive (EPBD) has already been brought forward to December 2021 with a series of measures included in the ‘France Relance’ plan (the French PNRR) such as ‘Ma prime rénov’, ‘France Rénov’ and ‘Ma prime rénov’ Copropriété’.

What will happen now with the European Energy Efficiency Directive

If confirmed by the vote of the European Parliament on 13-16 March 2022, the European Energy Efficiency Directive will then have to be transposed by the individual states with a certain margin of discretion that takes into account the specificities of their territory.

The first step will be to provide for a new energy classification of buildings, with classes from A to G.

G corresponds to the 15% of the worst performing building stock in each European country. Buildings in class G will have to be modernised by 2027 if non-residential. By 2030 if residential.

Class A will be the least consuming or zero-emission buildings.

All other buildings will be placed in the appropriate intermediate energy performance bands.

Furthermore, each Member State will have to define the targets to be achieved, the measures and incentives to achieve them, and possible exemptions.