The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) has been unanimously approved by the European Parliament as part of a multi-stakeholder consensus. It will provide a stable framework allowing millions of French households to reduce their energy bills by improving their housing.
Campaigners, experts and business leaders say the French government's role is essential and urge public authorities to support the EPBD directive as it heads into the final round of EU negotiations, having won the support of Parliament.
New figures reveal that the gas savings are equivalent to the end of Europe's dependence on Russian gas imports, which is a "serious blow" for Vladimir Putin.
The renovation incentives come as France spends 92,1 billion euros to subsidize energy prices due to the international energy crisis resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
France has already made significant progress with programs such as MaPrimeRenov which target the most energy-intensive homes.
If finally approved, this historic housing agreement will give a new boost to the French economy, creating jobs and stimulating investment, while providing a long-term solution to the cost of living crisis and to energy poverty.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), inspired in part by the French program MaPrimeRenov, sets out an action plan to renovate European buildings and deploy technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Under the EPBD directive, the French government will be responsible for developing a national plan to modernize housing, schools, hospitals and other buildings in France. The most energy-intensive buildings (the “thermal sieves”) will be renovated as a priority in order to protect their occupants from high energy bills and energy poverty.
The EPBD Directive will require France to put in place adequate social guarantees and financial support, in particular for vulnerable groups and people living in fuel poverty who may not have the necessary financial means.
For Céline Carré, head of public affairs at Saint-Gobain: “Buildings are Europe's most valuable financial asset – and their renovation is an investment in our common future. The text adopted today will boost renovation rates, which have a multiplier effect on jobs and growth in all sectors, creating thousands of local jobs. This will reduce energy bills and improve home comfort, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings. »
For Etienne Charbit, Project Manager at CLER: Network for Energy Transition: “This legislation is not just about walls and heaters, it is also about people. By renovating the least efficient and most energy-intensive buildings first, we give priority to the poorest people who occupy them. This is not only about insulating homes, but also about protecting those most affected by fuel poverty from ever-increasing bills. »
In 2020, 6% of the French population did not have the means to heat their homes properly. By increasing the renovation rate to 2% of buildings per year , France will be able to reduce its energy consumption by 26% by 2050 .
According to Guidehouse, a consultancy which helped the Commission carry out the initial impact assessment of the EPBD Directive, the Directive in its current form will reduce EU gas consumption by 47 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year . This means that the EU can completely do without Russian gas, which is a real “hard blow” for Vladimir Putin . The long-term reduction in gas imports from abroad would save around €4 billion per year, based on 61 gas prices.
The French government has allocated 91,2 billion euros to help businesses and households cope with soaring energy prices since Russia invaded Ukraine. Renovating homes will reduce gas consumption and reliance on volatile gas prices that weigh on households and businesses.
The EPBD Directive is based on consensus between parties and Member States, and will give States the freedom to choose how best to implement the Directive, while establishing a solid framework to strengthen Europe's energy independence and lift households out of fuel poverty.
With Parliament having approved the directive, the Council, Commission and Parliament will agree on the final form of the law in the last round of EU negotiations.