Italy Requested to Comply with EU Building Energy Efficiency Rules

THE European Commission are getting tough with Italy, who have not followed the European Union’s (EU) legislation on the energy performance of buildings, with a demand for them to comply.

Buildings are responsible for 40 percent of energy consumption and 36 percent of EU CO2 emissions in the European Union. If we put in place energy efficiency measures for buildings that are foreseen in European legislation, by 2020 we can significantly reduce our energy consumption and CO2 emissions of buildings.

It is therefore essential that EU Member States fully apply legislation. This is why the Commission has today formally requested Italy to fully comply with the EU rules on energy performance of buildings. The Commission has decided to send Italy a reasoned opinion.

In November last year the Commission informed Italy about its lack of compliance with the relevant rules (Directive 2002/91/EC). Although in the meantime the Italian authorities have taken additional measures, the Commission considers that the Italian legislation still does not fully comply with the EU requirements.

Directive 2002/91/EC requires Member States to establish a method for calculating the energy performance of buildings and to establish minimum energy performance standards for new buildings and for large existing buildings that are subject to major renovation.

In addition, Member States have to ensure the certification of the energy performance of buildings and require the regular inspections. This certification scheme and a scheme for the regular inspections have been mandatory since 4 January 2009.

However, Italian law allows building owners themselves to make a self-declaration for the energy performance of the building if they state that the energy level of the building is of the lowest class (G) and that the energy costs for the prospective tenant or buyer are going to be very high. In practice, this means that the new owner or tenant of the building does not receive any information on the future energy costs or any recommendations on how to improve the energy performance of the building in a cost-effective manner.

Moreover, when a building is rented, the law in Italy requires these certificates only for new buildings, whilst for existing buildings a certificate is not compulsory.

The Commission may decide to take Italy to the European Court of Justice if no adequate measures are put in place within two months.

Picture of Rome, Palazzo Senatorio by Ben Demey reproduced under CCL.

Friday 30th September 2011

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