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Energy efficiency: energy performance of buildings

The Member States must apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings.


Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings.


The four key points of the Directive are:

  • a common methodology for calculating the integrated energy performance of buildings;
  • minimum standards on the energy performance of new buildings and existing buildings that are subject to major renovation;
  • systems for the energy certification of new and existing buildings and, for public buildings, prominent display of this certification and other relevant information. Certificates must be less than five years old;
  • regular inspection of boilers and central air-conditioning systems in buildings and in addition an assessment of heating installations in which the boilers are more than 15 years old.

The common calculation methodology should include all the aspects which determine energy efficiency and not just the quality of the building's insulation. This integrated approach should take account of aspects such as heating and cooling installations, lighting installations, the position and orientation of the building, heat recovery, etc.

The minimum standards for buildings are calculated on the basis of the above methodology. The Member States are responsible for setting the minimum standards.


The Directive concerns the residential sector and the tertiary sector (offices, public buildings, etc.). The scope of the provisions on certification does not, however, include some buildings, such as historic buildings, industrial sites, etc. It covers all aspects of energy efficiency in buildings in an attempt to establish a truly integrated approach.

The Directive does not lay down measures on moveable equipment such as household appliances. Measures on labelling and mandatory minimum efficiency requirements have already been implemented or are envisaged in the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.

Certificates, minimum standards and inspections

Energy performance certificates should be made available when buildings are constructed, sold or rented out.

The Directive specifically mentions rented buildings with the aim of ensuring that the owner, who does not normally pay the charges for energy expenditure, should take the necessary action.

Furthermore, the Directive states that occupants of buildings should be enabled to regulate their own consumption of heat and hot water, in so far as such measures are cost effective.

The Member States are responsible for drawing up the minimum standards. They will also ensure that the certification and inspection of buildings are carried out by qualified and independent personnel.

The Commission, with the assistance of a committee, is responsible for adapting the Annex to technical progress. The Annex contains the framework for the calculation of energy performances of buildings and the requirements for the inspection of boilers and of central air conditioning systems.


The Directive forms part of the Community initiatives on climate change (commitments under the Kyoto Protocol) and security of supply (the Green Paper on security of supply). Firstly, the Community is increasingly dependent on external energy sources and, secondly, greenhouse gas emissions are on the increase. The Community can have little influence on energy supply but can influence energy demand. One possible solution to both the above problems is to reduce energy consumption by improving energy efficiency.

Energy consumption for buildings-related services accounts for approximately one third of total EU energy consumption. The Commission considers that, with initiatives in this area, significant energy savings can be achieved, thus helping to attain objectives on climate change and security of supply. Community-level measures must be framed in order to deal with such Community-level challenges.

This Directive is a follow-up to the measures on boilers (92/42/EEC), construction products (89/106/EEC) and SAVE programme provisions on buildings.

Though there is already a directive on the energy certification of buildings (Directive 93/76/EEC repealed by Directive 2006/23/32/EC), it was adopted in a different political context before the Kyoto agreement and the uncertainties with the security of energy supply in the Union.

It does not have the same objectives as Directive 2002/91/EC. The latter is an additional instrument, proposing concrete action to fill any existing gaps.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2002/91/EC



OJ L 1 of 4.1.2003


Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use efficiency and energy services and repealing Council Directive 93/76/EEC [OJ L 114 of 27.4.2006] This Directive states that certification of the energy efficiency of buildings is considered equivalent to an energy audit for micro, small and medium-sized firms.

Furthermore, such certification is equivalent to an energy audit with the recommendations which result in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2005 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products and amending Council Directive 92/42/EEC and Directives 96/57/EC and 2000/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [OJ L 191 of 22.7.2005].

Last updated: 14.02.2007