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Recast of the EPBD: on the right track with some drawbacks

17 December 2021
by smeunited -- last modified 17 December 2021

SMEunited is positive that focus is put on ways to remove economic, technical and knowledge-based barriers to renovate as well as to increase skilled workforce in the construction supply chain. However, some of the new proposed concepts could increase complexity and costs for SMEs.


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SMEunited welcomes the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive as an important tool fostering both the progressive decarbonisation of our society and the increase of employment in the construction sector in post-pandemic times. "SMEs will be the key to achieve the goals of the European policy, and in particular of the Renovation Wave, since they represent the big majority of businesses in the construction sector", declared Secretary General Véronique Willems.

SMEunited is pleased to see many of its proposals retained in the revised text, such as increased awareness raising, technical assistance through one stop shops as well as easier access to finance and incentives, which are the preconditions for businesses and citizens to renovate. The same goes for framework elements which are essential to aim at zero energy buildings, such as increasing the availability of skilled workers in the whole construction supply chain by closing gaps in skills and improving competences. Moreover, the suggested reforms of the rules governing Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) would result in a more harmonised framework across the EU, which should guarantee more reliable data. These can feed into other tools to help improve the energy performance of buildings.

Despite this, SMEunited is concerned that some important elements of the new EPBD could result in increased costs and red tape for SMEs and citizens. An example is the addition of a new definition of "Zero Net Buildings" and the introduction of a very ambitious framework for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) . These do not take into account the different current status of renovation across the EU, warns Mrs. Willems: "There was already a definition of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in the old EPBD. Replacing it with the new concept of Zero Emissions Buildings will create new requirements to which companies will have to adapt again, only a couple of years after the previous revision.".

SMEunited, formerly known as UEAPME, is the association of crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited is a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner and acts on behalf of crafts and SMEs in the European Social Dialogue and in discussions with the EU institutions.

SMEunited