Stepping up EU energy efficiency efforts

The European Union (EU) has adopted a new common framework to promote energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27) aims to put the Union back on track towards achieving its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.


Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC Text with EEA relevance.


The goal of this Directive is to achieve the Union's energy efficiency target of 20% by2020 compared to 1990 levels and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date. It includes a requirement for all Member States to set indicative national energy efficiency targets for 2020.

The Directive promotes energy efficiency across the Union through a common framework of measures. They cover every stage of the energy chain, from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption. Some measures - building on those in the Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 - are legally binding.

National energy efficiency targets

Member States have until mid-2014 to bring most of the Directive's provisions into national law. They must notably establish indicative national energy efficiency targets by 30 April 2013. Due for review by the European Commission in June 2014, these targets should be calculated with reference to so-called primary or final energy limits already set for the Union in 2020.

Each Member State must also establish an energy efficiency obligation scheme or equivalent options. The aim is to ensure that energy providers achieve a cumulative end-use 1.5% energy savings target by the end of 2020. These savings will only be counted if they are truly new and additional for final consumers, in each year from 1 January 2014 to the end of 2020.

Public bodies

The Directive calls on public bodies at all levels to play an 'exemplary role' in energy efficiency, since they have great potential to stimulate market transformation towards more efficient products, buildings and services. Each Member State must therefore ensure that 3% of the total floor space of heated and/or cooled buildings owned by their central government is renovated each year, taking into account existing obligations in Directive 2010/31/EU.

Member States must establish a long-term strategy for funding the renovation of public and private buildings. They also must assess in depth the energy savings that could be realised from use of high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling.

Further provisions in the Directive cover help everything from energy audits and metering to consumer billing and help for SMEs.

The Directive contributes to EU efforts to reduce its dependence on energy imports and scarce energy resources, whilst addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way. It also accelerates the spread of innovative technological solutions and improves Union industry's competiveness. This will boost economic growth and create high-quality jobs, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2012/27/EU



OJ L 315 of 14.11.2012

last update 13.11.2013