EU: As of 2030 all new buildings should have zero carbon emissions – what exemptions

Since 2030 all news in the EU should have zero carbon emissions, in accordance with the new rules on energy efficient buildings adopted by it today under the Green Agreement. Agricultural buildings and heritage buildings can be excluded from the new rules adopted by the European Parliament, with 370 votes in favour, 199 against and 46 abstentions. The new rules on reducing building energy consumption and achieving zero emissions were already agreed between the European Parliament and the Council last December. The main points of the new rules adopted by the EP are as follows: Emission reduction targets As of 2030 all new buildings should record zero greenhouse gas emissions, while the corresponding deadline for new buildings housing or belonging to public authorities is set for 2028. Member States will be able to take into account whether a building contributes to global warming throughout its lifetime, taking into account all the structural products used for its construction, from production to disposal. As regards housing, Member States must adopt measures to reduce average primary energy consumption by at least 16% by 2030 and by at least 20-22% by 2035. Under the new directive, EU countries should introduce minimum energy efficiency requirements and ensure that by 2030 16% and by 2033 26% of non-residential buildings with the worst energy efficiency will be renovated. By 2030 all new dwellings should be equipped with solar energy collection technologies. The same will apply to public and non-residential buildings, but only if this is technically and economically feasible, depending on the size of each building. Mineral fuel boilers are phased out Member States should adopt measures to exempt heating systems from carbon emissions and gradually abandon fossil fuels to heating and cooling, with fossil fuel boilers completely abolished by 2040. Subsidies for autonomous fossil fuel boilers will be prohibited from 2025. They may, however, continue to provide financial incentives for hybrid heating systems with a significant share of renewable energy, such as those combining boilers with solar thermal installation or with heat pump. Exceptions The new rules will allow agricultural buildings and cultural heritage buildings to be excluded. Where appropriate, EU countries will also be able to decide to exclude buildings protected for their particular architectural or historical value, buildings used temporarily, as well as churches and places of worship. The rapporteur for the Ciarán Cuffe Energy Efficiency Directive (Greens, Ireland) stated: “The directive clearly shows how climate policy can have real and immediate benefits for the less prosperous in our society. The new legislation will help reduce energy accounts and address the root causes of energy poverty while providing thousands of high-quality jobs locally across the EU. Addressing 36% of Europe’s CO2 emissions adds an absolutely essential pillar to the European Green Agreement. Today’s result shows that Parliament continues to support a Green Agreement that simultaneously seeks social justice and environmental ambition, on an equal basis.” The directive adopted by the EP should now be formally adopted by the EU Council of Ministers in order to become law.

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