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European Commission - Press release

Energy performance of buildings: Belgium called upon to comply with EU legislation.

Brussels, 16 June 2011 - . In the context of the fight against global warming and with a view to improving energy security, it has become essential to reduce energy consumption significantly, particularly in the buildings sector, which alone accounts for 40% of the EU's final demand for energy. EU legislation makes several provisions to allow energy savings in buildings to be made and for individual households to reduce their bills. The Commission has therefore today issued a reasoned opinion to Belgium, a country which has not yet fully transposed EU legislation in this area.

To date, the Walloon Region has not adopted rules on the issuing of energy performance certificates for new buildings, nor has it made it mandatory to display these certificates visibly in buildings of more than 1 000 m2. Under EU legislation, such rules were to have been adopted by 4 January 2009 at the latest.

The Commission also takes the view that the Brussels Capital Region's timetable for putting in place provisions such as the inspection of boilers over 15 years old is incompatible with the 4 January deadline set out in EU rules. According to current legislation in force in the Brussels region, these boilers will not have to be inspected before January 2013 (for the oldest boilers) or even January 2014 (for builders less than 20 years old).

Furthermore, the Region has yet to adopt any measures concerning the obligation to conduct regular inspections of every air-conditioning system whose power output exceeds 12 kW. These inspections must allow these machines to guarantee optimal performance as regards the environment, security and household energy bills.

The Commission may decide to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice if action to ensure compliance is not taken within two months.

Background

The infringement proceedings refer to the following legislation:

Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings, Official Journal L 1, 4.1.2003 pp. 65-71

The Directive requires Member States to establish a method for calculating the energy performance of buildings and to establish minimum energy performance standards for new buildings and for large existing buildings that are subject to major renovation.

When a building is constructed, sold or rented out, an energy performance certificate must be made available to the prospective buyer or tenant. The certificate must enable the new buyer or tenant to compare and evaluate the building’s energy performance in order to provide more information on the cost of energy bills. In addition, the certificate must be accompanied by recommendations for cost-effective improvement of energy performance.

This certification scheme and a scheme for the regular inspection of boilers and air‑conditioning systems have been mandatory since 4 January 2009.

Further information

The Directive on the energy efficiency of buildings can be consulted here.

Commission web page on the energy efficiency of buildings:

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/buildings/buildings_en.htm

Some concise information on the stages of an infringement procedure is available

here.

Current figures on infringements in general can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/408.

Contacts :

Marlene Holzner (+32 2 296 01 96)

Nicole Bockstaller (+32 2 295 25 89)


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