Green buildings


Buildings account for over 40% of the EU's final energy demand and are a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions, making energy-savings there a key element of the European climate change strategy.

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EU efforts to reduce energy consumption in the building sector began in earnest with the 1993 'SAVE' Directive on limiting CO2 emissions through improved energy efficiency, which required member states to implement and report on energy efficiency programs in the building sector. The SAVE Directive, which was replaced in 2006 by a directive on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, addressed the building sector as one part of overall energy saving efforts (see related LinksDossier).

The 2002 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) covers both residential and non-residential buildings and is considered an "additional instrument" to SAVE, "proposing concrete action to fill any existing gaps." The EPBD, which came into effect in January 2006, provides a common methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings and for creating minimum standards of energy performance in individual member states. The directive applies to new buildings and to existing buildings subject to major renovations. 

In an effort to promote awareness and energy efficiency improvements, member states must ensure that "energy performance certificates are made available when buildings are constructed, sold or rented out." In public buildings larger than 1000 square meters, these certificates must be clearly displayed in the main entrance.