WWF has welcomed a European Parliament vote today that proposes a 2019 deadline for all new houses, offices and shops built in the European Union to produce the same amount of energy they consume. The deadline will be 2016 for all new public buildings.

"We commend the vision of the legislators in making zero net energy buildings the cornerstone of the revised directive," said Arianna Vitali Roscini, WWF's Policy Officer for energy conservation in buildings.

"Technically and economically there is nothing standing in the way of an earlier deadline for all new constructions, which could help the EU achieve the 2020 emissions reduction targets." The vote, revising a law aiming at improving energy performance in buildings, needs to be confirmed by the Council of the Ministers later this year.

"There is huge potential for buildings to consume less energy and produce renewable energy on site" Vitali Roscini said.

"Promotion of energy efficiency is a winning strategy for Europe. It improves energy security, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, encourages technology development and creates new jobs. This is a structural change within reach, it is up to political will to make it happen."

WWF is also satisfied that energy efficiency standards will apply to all major renovations, not only to those of surfaces above 1,000 square meters, as it was in the previous law. This is particularly relevant because existing constructions represent the majority of the European building stock (approximately 25% of residential buildings in Europe were built before 1945).

In Europe buildings use 40 per cent of energy and are linked to 36 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Much of that energy and CO2 can be saved with better insulation, improved heating and cooling systems, double glazing, efficient lighting and smart meters. This week WWF has organised an exhibition at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to showcase the new generation of efficient buildings in France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania and the United Kingdom.


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