Assessment of energy performance

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

In an attempt to establish a truly integrated approach, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) sets out four key energy efficiency requirements for buildings:

  1. Common methodology for calculating the integrated energy performance of buildings.
  2. Minimum standards on the energy performance of new buildings and large existing buildings that are subject to major renovation.
  3. Systems for the energy certification of new and existing buildings.
  4. For public buildings, the prominent display of this certification and other relevant information.

According to the directive, energy performance certificates must be made available when buildings are constructed, sold or rented out. A recast adopted in 2010, broadened the scope of the directive by demanding that all existing buildings undergoing major renovation should meet certain energy efficiency criteria as the original directive set out this demand only for buildings larger than 1 000 m². It also stipulates that certification must be based on lifecycle analyses. The recast calls on the public sector to act as a leading example in investing in energy efficiency in buildings. It states that:

“By 2018, all new public buildings must be near zero energy and all existing public buildings over 500 m² must be certified and display certificates. From 2015, this demand will cover all public buildings of more than 250 m². Member States must ensure all new buildings are close to zero energy in 2020.”

Both the original directive and the recast aim to overcome some of the market barriers and failures for energy efficiency by ensuring that decision makers have access to information and by providing incentives to improve energy efficiency in both new and existing buildings. The impact of certification is supported by other legislation, and certification helps to ensure higher compliance with building regulations for new buildings. The recast specifically notes that more energy-efficient buildings provide better living conditions and save money. It estimates the additional savings from the recast in 2020, a 5–6% reduction in EU energy consumption CO2 emissions.

Energy Performance Certificate

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which describes the level of energy consumption of a building, is compulsory for all buildings when sold or leased by the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The less energy a property consumes, the better its energy marking. Energy marking of buildings became compulsory in January 2008.

Energy performance certificate


The primary purpose of energy marking is to reduce the energy consumption of buildings and to reduce negative environmental effects. However, other positive effects are also produced. The certificate functions as a product specification for the building. It helps property owners, buyers or future tenants to assess its energy efficiency and expected maintenance costs. The certificate also states what actions need to be taken in order to improve energy efficiency and the value of the property.

The energy certificate gives the property an energy efficiency classification on a scale from A to G. A property in class A has low energy consumption and a property in class G has high energy consumption. A corresponding classification has already been in use for a long time in relation to, for example, household refrigeration devices.

For buildings consisting of more than six apartments, energy efficiency is calculated on the basis of actual energy consumption. For newly built family houses, energy efficiency is calculated on the basis of consumption.

For existing family houses and properties with less than six apartments, the energy certificate is optional. A certificate is not demanded for holiday homes used for less than four months a year or buildings with floor areas of less than 50 m2.

For new family houses, the energy certificate is part of the building permit. An energy certificate is required when a building comes into use, is sold or rented.

An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for four to ten years, depending on the type of property.

The EDPB is available here »

The ESD is available here »