In order to improve the energy performance of buildings across Europe, and thereby contribute to reduce CO2 emissions from the buildings’ energy use, our partner the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) has developed a dedicated programme of activities, tailored to its region’s context. 

Regional activities

Buildings’ energy use: a large and compelling mitigation potential

In the European Union, buildings account for 40 % of the total energy use in the EU and for 36% of EU CO2 emissions, representing Europe’s largest source of GHG emissions.

Therefore, increasing buildings’ energy performance is key to secure the transition to a low-carbon economy and to achieve the EU Climate & Energy objectives.

Among all regions, the EU is the one that can achieve the greatest reduction in energy use (65%) and CO2 emissions (66%) by 2050 compared to 2005 levels despite an increase in floor area (by 27%), population and economic activity. At Least 1 Gt CO2 by 2030 and more than 1.2 Gt CO2 by 2050 can be saved compared to today's carbon emissions. 

The building sector: trends and perspectives  

According to our recent survey Energy efficiency and energy savings: a view from the building sector, energy efficiency efforts in Europe are still mainly focused on new buildings with 57% of European companies surveyed by The Economist Intelligence Unit investing more heavily in energy efficiency for new buildings than in renovation (43%).

As showed in the survey, European building executives also significantly underestimate the benefits and overestimate the costs of low-energy buildings.

European companies are becoming more flexible towards energy efficiency investments, 30% of respondents admit tolerating longer payback periods (over a decade) than in other regions.

The legislative context

The European policy framework for buildings has been evolving since the early 1990s, but did not truly gain momentum until the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) [Directive 2002/91/EC] was adopted in 2002 to establish a common legal framework for promoting energy efficiency in buildings.

The EPBD was revised in 2010 to set more ambitious goals and to increase implementation rates, and in October 2012, the European Member States acknowledged energy efficiency as a focal point for Europe’s sustainable growth strategy and approved a new piece of legislation also relating to the energy performance of Europe’s building stock (Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (EED).

Today, the main challenges are ensuring a timely, committed, and efficient implementation of the directive at the Member State level, as well as indentifying and overcome market barriers and political issue. Our recent survey, Energy efficiency and energy savings: a view from the buidling sector, shows that 80% of European respondents view building regulations as beneficial to the building sector. 


Our activities in Europe

BPIE supports the implementation of the European Union’s Energy Performance in Buildings Directive and the recently adopted Energy Efficiency Directive’s requirements for national - renovation strategies for the existing building stock. Beyond these two Directives, BPIE develops innovative policy proposals and is working closely with stakeholders from policymaking and the private sector.

BPIE currently working on the following projects:

  • The EU Data Survey 2013 will update and expand BPIE’s 2011 survey. The new information will enrich the existing Data Portal for the energy performance of buildings and related policies in Europe.
  • BPIE will examine in detail what is needed for a healthy market transformation for low-energy buildings and prepate the Handbook for a well-functioning market for low-energy buildings in the EU.
  • The project 'Financing Deep Renovation' will allow the identification, development and promotion of financial solutions that serve to unblock the huge investment potential and untapped business opportunities that exist in the European building stock.
  • BPIE will work with individual Member States to develop national Renovation Strategies. 
  • Country initiatives: BPIE will provide technical advice to MS governments focusing in particular on Central and East European countries like Romania, Poland and Bulgaria (
  • The Cost Optimality study will provide analysis and guidance on how to properly implement the cost-optimality methodology in the EU MS.
  • BPIE is also participating in several EU research and policy implementation projects (FP7 and IEE): EASEE (FP7), Build Up, ENTRANZE, EPISCOPE and COHERENO (IEE).
  • BPIE has been instrumental in creating the EU Building Stock Observatory (Project consortium led by BPIE)

To find out more about the European context, visit BPIE website: and the EU Buildings Stock Observatory

Related news

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Team members


Deep Renovation or Deep Energy Renovation is a term for a building renovation that captures the full economic energy efficiency potential of improvements. This typically includes a focus on the building shell of existing buildings in order to achieve very high-energy performance. The renovated building consumes 75% less primary energy compared to the status of the existing building before the renovation. The energy consumption after renovation for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting, is less than 60 kWh/m2/yr. (Definition often used in Europe) [Source: GBPN, 2012]

The 2002 Energy Performance in Buildings Directive required Member States to apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings. This was updated in 2010 by the EPBD recast. [Source: European Commission]

The calculated or measured amount of energy needed to meet the energy demand associated with a typical use of the buildings, which includes inter alia, energy used for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting (EU). [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU]

NZEB are buildings that over a year are neutral, meaning that they deliver as much energy to the supply grids as they use from the grids. Seen in these terms they do not need any fossil fuel for heating, cooling, lighting or other energy uses although they sometimes draw energy from the grid. [Source: IEA (Laustsen J.) (2008) Energy Efficiency Requirements in Building Codes, Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings.]