Following the conclusion of the COP 26 summit in November 2021, governments around the world have made ambitious pledges to reduce their CO2 emissions and strive toward net-zero.
As part of the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions, the European Commission (EC) is proposing that all new buildings must be carbon neutral by 2030. This is being introduced in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet net-zero targets.
Here is everything you need to know about the new proposasl:
What are the new energy rules for buildings?
A new proposal from the EC states that new buildings in the EU must have zero carbon emissions by 2030 or sooner. The EU’s governing body is also proposing that the least energy-efficient buildings should be upgraded in the same period to help decarbonise the existing property market.
Why are these rules being introduced?
Kadri Simson, energy commissioner, said: “Buildings are the single largest energy consumer in Europe, using 40% of our energy, and creating 36% of our greenhouse gas emissions. That is because most buildings in the EU are not energy efficient and are still mostly powered by fossil fuels.”
This issue must be addressed immediately if the EU is going to achieve its environmental targets. Making buildings more energy-efficient will play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions and helping the EU become carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner.
The energy commissioner added that improving energy ratings will also help fight fuel poverty. Low-income families often live in properties with low energy efficiency ratings which equals high energy costs. Renovating these properties to improve energy efficiency will slash energy bills and make housing more affordable.
Green housing targets
Many governments in the EU have set green housing targets in a bid to decarbonise their existing housing markets and help them achieve net-zero targets.
For instance, in the UK, the government has pledged to make all properties achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least a C by 2035 or sooner. The average EPC rating in the UK is currently a D, with many older buildings being rated as E or below.
Making older properties more energy-efficient is essential if the UK is going to achieve its environmental targets. Renovating properties to improve energy ratings to a C is going to be a monumental challenge, but the government has introduced several measures to encourage and incentivise energy efficiency in the housing sector.
Schemes to improve energy efficiency in buildings
Many well-known mortgage companies have introduced green mortgages to improve energy efficiency and show their support for a sustainable future.
Green mortgages reward customers for choosing energy-efficient properties. This is usually in the form of lower interest rates, cash back, or other perks. For example, Natwest is offering customers a reduced fixed rate for 2 or 5 years and cashback when they purchase a home with an EPC rating of A or B.
Green Homes Grant
The UK government has introduced a £2 billion Green Homes Grant Scheme to help make UK homes more energy-efficient and affordable.
Under the scheme, homeowners and landlords can apply for a grant to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of energy-saving renovations. Common examples of home improvements that can be paid for under the scheme include:
- Installing insulation in walls, roofs, or floors to reduce heat loss.
- Upgrading heating systems or switching to renewable energy.
- Replacing old windows with double-glazed windows.
- Installing a programmable thermostat.
If the application is successful, the property owner will be given vouchers that they can redeem against the cost of home improvements. The vouchers must be redeemed by 31 March 2022.
Global warming is having a devastating impact on the planet and governments around the world have set ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions and strive towards net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
In a bid to reduce emissions from buildings, the EC has proposed that all buildings must be carbon neutral by 2030. To achieve this, governments must ensure that new buildings meet the highest energy standards. Decarbonising the existing housing market will also play a crucial role in improving energy efficiency in the property sector.