Revision of the EPBD: ambitious while fitting the Mediterranean specificities

The proposal of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is expected in the next days. To meet long-term targets for carbon-neutral buildings, we must design policies that take specific Mediterranean needs and conditions into account

The proposal of the renewed Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is due in the next days. In the past months, the leaked draft of the document was at the center of an EU-wide debate on the level of ambition of the new proposal.

This debate and especially the parliamentary discussion in the coming months should also consider another important aspect: the geographical dimension of energy efficiency in buildings. In particular the Mediterranean countries have peculiar energy needs and face different conditions compared to the Northern countries.

In view of the new proposal for a revised EPBD revision, the Efficient Buildings Community recalls three concrete policy recommendations for EU policymakers.

  1. Monitor the national implementation of building-related directives to effectively identify synergies and barriers. The revision is an opportunity to integrate the lessons learned in the different Member States and design a policy that can increase the energy efficiency of buildings in a realistic way.
  2. Adapt financial rules and earmark funding for the Mediterranean area: In the Mediterranean EE investments’ profitability is low - er than in Northern Europe. Public incentive is needed to push the transition.
  3. Foster harmonization of EU-wide standards while designing differentiated policies. Standardization cannot be at the detriment of one part of the European Union.

The Mediterranean needs and conditions cannot be ignored. It is not just an issue of energy efficiency in buildings, but rather fits into the broader framework of a cohesive sustainable transition and recovery. If the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, together with the other revision processes of the EU legislation within the Green Deal, were able to take into account the needs of the Mediterranean, then its benefits would go far beyond the perimeter of the building stock. It would be also an opportunity to solve the contradictions that characterize this region: efforts in greener urban infrastructure can bring economic growth without environmental degradation, new industrial opportunities without overconsumption of natural capital, social wealth without territorial polarization.

The Efficient Buildings Community analyzed the co-benefits of a holistic approach to the built environment as a whole. Expert authors from three Interreg MED communities (Efficient Buildings Community, Green Growth Community and Renewable Energy Community) jointly defined a common position for a sustainable development of the Mediterranean region in a cross-thematic way and regardless of country borders.

The joint position has been collected in the document "Strategic recommendations for sustainable use of resources in Mediterranean built environment". The document advises policy-makers on holistic strategies for green urban infrastructure and it aims at giving a compass to those in charge of decarbonising the Mediterranean regions.

The review of the EBPD is a tile of the mosaic for carbon neutrality and the overall transformation of European society. The lessons learned on the ground by the three Interreg MED Communities can help improve the overall design of a cohesive and inclusive EU legislation.

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