Picking up the pace: why countries and companies must take control to accelerate EPBD adoption

Decarbonisation goals for the building sector are going to be hard to meet if efforts aren’t stepped up to implement the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

With buildings and construction responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world (1), it’s not surprising that the built environment is at the heart of the European Union’s decarbonisation strategy. One of the main results of this focus has been the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which seeks to improve the energy efficiency and performance of all buildings – commercial and residential – across the EU.

First introduced in 2002, the EPBD has been enhanced over the years and covers numerous aspects that are vital to creating more efficient buildings. Its primary achievement is to create a clear path towards a “low and zero-emission building stock” in the EU by the middle of this century. The role to be played by new technologies – including smart building systems – is also underlined so that the use of energy can be tightly monitored and controlled.

In recent years the EPBD has gained fresh momentum thanks to other EU initiatives. An amendment agreed as part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package called for all Member States to put in place long-term building renovation strategies by 10 March 2020. In each country these strategies needed to set the path, define policy measures and mobilise financing required to decarbonise existing building stock by 2050 (2).

Now for the bad news. A year on from that deadline, it is thought that more than 1/3 of Member States have yet to implement these strategies. This is especially concerning given that a further revision of the EPBD is due in the next few years to help meet objectives outlined in the European Commission’s European Green Deal. These include the aim to at least double the annual energy renovation rate of buildings by 2030.

Renovation Wave

Whilst this is no small task, the Renovation Wave strategy – also part of the European Green Deal – provides a lot of practical action points to boost building renovation. Once again, new technologies are highlighted as being the enablers of change – including via the launch of a Smart Readiness Indicator that “aims to promote digitally friendly renovations, integrate renewable energy, and enable measurements of actual energy consumption.” (3)

All this means that the case for putting powerful control solutions at the core of renovations has never been stronger. Controllers for individual systems, such as lighting and heating, can make a difference. But it is by installing an overarching building management system (BMS) – such as Priva’s own Priva Blue ID – that the greatest impact can be made. Giving users the means to monitor and control the use of energy, these solutions can have a dramatic impact on consumption. Indeed, it has been estimated that smart building automation and control technologies can provide net energy savings of 15-22% across the EU (4).

With payback times now often below the five-year mark, a good BMS is a very sound investment – environmentally and financially. Decarbonisation is a mammoth task, but by focusing on control and monitoring technologies, organisations of all kinds can be sure of playing their part.


(1) https://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/WorldGBC-embodied-carbon-report-published
(2) https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/new-energy-performance-buildings-directive-kicks-2020-mar-09_en
(3) https://ec.europa.eu/energy/topics/energy-efficiency/energy-efficient-buildings/renovation-wave_en
(4) https://circabc.europa.eu/ui/group/1582d77c-d930-4c0d-b163-4f67e1d42f5b/library/1aff0783-fce8-4217-be69-581295f57fab/details
(5) https://www.priva.com/expertise/building-automation/precise-building-automation