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Energy efficiency for the 2020 goal

Member States have made a commitment to reduce consumption of primary energy by 20% by 2020. There are still many barriers to the implementation of effective measures. This Communication describes the current position of future projects aiming to reach the ‘20-20-20’ goal.


Communication from the Commission of 13 November 2008 - Energy efficiency: delivering the 20% target [COM(2008) 772 - Not published in the Official Journal].


Energy efficiency represents a solution to:

Different measures are proposed to improve energy efficiency.

Measure for energy efficiency in the building sector

Energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings represents around 40% of total final energy use. It is responsible for 36% of the European Union’s total CO2 emissions.

To reduce this type of consumption, steps should be taken to simplify Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings, which constitutes the current legal framework, whilst leaving some autonomy to Member States to act in this area.

The European Commission proposes that the 1000 m2 threshold for existing buildings when they undergo major renovation is eliminated and that the requirements concerning energy performance be applied to a larger number of buildings.

The launch of innovative, sustainable and energy-efficient actions is also planned in 2009 in this sector.

Measure for the energy efficiency of products

The Commission has presented a Proposal for a Directive establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy related products aimed at extending the scope of the Ecodesign Directive. A proposal to revise the Energy Labelling Directive, Directive 92/75/EEC, is also planned. Another proposal for a labelling scheme for tyres is also part of this policy package.

Ecodesign measures will be adopted for lighting (bulbs, electrical appliances, external power supplies, etc).


The existing Directive on cogeneration will be reinforced. Further possibilities will be proposed in a future Communication.


More and more urban development and renewal projects are related to energy efficiency. In order to encourage this type of project, a well-coordinated financing framework should be implemented.

In this regard, the Commission is collaborating with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in order to create an EU financing initiative for sustainable energy.

As part of the renewed Lisbon strategy, the Commission will also ensure that more public funds are devoted to projects aimed at combating climate change.

In this economic context of crisis that the Member States are currently experiencing, the Commission is working in close collaboration with the latter to develop new opportunities for the economy with a view to boosting technologies related in particular to energy efficiency and green technologies in buildings and clean cars. Reduced taxation with regard to energy is being considered.

Evaluation of the European Action Plan for Energy Efficiency

The current 2007-2012 Plan will be evaluated in 2009 and a revised Action Plan will be presented. It will deal with energy saving potentials and the cost-effectiveness of policy tools.

The integration of energy efficiency into the broader energy policy and the Energy and Climate Package is planned. It is expected that by 2030, or even 2050, measures taken will be more ambitious.

The revised Plan will focus on energy supply, transmission and energy consumption sectors.

International relations

Energy efficiency forms part of the priorities in relations with third countries. It is also a priority in relations with enlargement countries, Neighbourhood Policy and Regional Policy.

Similarly, an International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation was established in June 2008 in which the G8 and the Community are participating.


The need to increase energy efficiency is part of the triple goal of the '20-20-20' initiative for 2020, which means a saving of 20% of the Union's primary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the inclusion of 20% of renewable energies in energy consumption.

Last updated: 29.03.2009

See also

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