Corrected: MEPs and governments at odds over EPBD reforms

The EU’s efforts to scale up energy efficiency in buildings continue to move at a glacial pace following inconclusive negotiations between MEPs and government representatives on Tuesday night

The EU’s efforts to scale up energy efficiency in buildings continue to move at a glacial pace following inconclusive negotiations between MEPs and government representatives on Tuesday night, participants told ENDS on Wednesday.

The European Parliament wants a revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) to require energy efficient technology in new buildings and retrofit old ones to yield the deep longer-term GHG cuts promised by the 28-nation bloc.

“Once again, EPBD trilogue negotiations were inconclusive. The key sticking point concerns buildings renovations: while member states claim to support making buildings more energy efficient, they are making little effort to do anything about it by beefing up the EPBD,” said Green Shadow MEP Florent Marcellesi following Tuesday night’s meeting.

"Overall, the parliament prefers a stronger deal tomorrow to a weak deal today. So MEPs remained firm yesterday in the hope of an agreement more to their liking later on," Marcellesi added.

In particular, the EU Council and Parliament remained far apart on the issue of long-term renovation strategies for old buildings, including MEPs demand for a benchmark to achieve a nearly zero energy building standard to be fixed by national governments. This standard would be based on intermediate milestones for 2030 and 2040, and indicators to measure progress.

The only issue on which negotiators from the EU's two legislative bodies managed to agree was a guide for investment decisions linked to renovation strategies, for which they hammered out “a middle ground text”, sources said.

“If renovations of existing buildings are not taken seriously at the national level, it will be a missed opportunity for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and at the same time to improve living conditions of EU citizens,” said Arianna Vitali Roscini of WWF.

A technical meeting on Friday will seek to iron out many of the major differences ahead of a possible final 'trilogue' negotiation, mediated by the European Commission, which has been tentatively scheduled for 19 December. 

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