On 13 November 2008, the European Commission published a draft Directive which proposes to replace the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2002/91/EC (EPBD). The EPBD came into force on 4 January 2003 and states that its objective is:

'To promote the improvement of energy performance of buildings within the European Community taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and co-effectiveness'.

The EPBD was implemented into the UK through a number of instruments including the Building and Approved Inspectors (amendment) Regulations 2006 which relate to minimum energy performance requirements (and amend Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) of the Building Regulations) and the Energy Perfomance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspectors) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 which relate to energy certificates (the "Regulations").

THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

The draft Directive aims to clarify, extend and strengthen the current EPBD by:

  • extending the scope and coverage of the EPBD by introducing a minimum energy performance requirement for technical building systems, such as lighting and heating;
  • removing the existing 1000sqm threshold on buildings undergoing renovations. Currently, where a building of less than 1000sqm is undergoing renovations, then it does not have to be subject to the minimum energy performance requirements;
  • promoting the importance of the public sector to lead by example. Buildings occupied by public authorities;
    • should set more ambitious energy performance targets; and
    • must comply with the draft directive by 31 December 2010 whereas the deadline for full implementation by other buildings is 31 January 2012; and
  • introducing new provisions concerning 'technical building systems', working towards zero carbon buildings and the introduction of penalties for non-compliance.

Table 1 summarises the main changes to the EPBD, and Table 2 summarises additional provisions which appear in the proposed draft Directive.

The draft Directive extends the scope of the EPBD and will have further implications for developers, owners and occupiers and managers of buildings. The Regulations will require amending in order to include the new requirements of any new directive implemented.