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The new EPBD is adopted at a challenging time for affordability in housing

What would it take to ensure that the new measures benefit all?

Brussels, Belgium, 12 March 2024 | Published in Energy

On March 12th, the European Parliament gave its final seal of approval to the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

Before the vote, Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, called the Members of the European Parliament to support the legislation but warned them that the biggest challenge is ahead of us. First, we must find the means to implement the new legislation, in particular as regards zero emission buildings and the rapid reduction of primary energy use in the whole residential sector, in a way that allows for locally adapted fair energy transitions (i.e combining the necessary new supply of affordable homes with the reduction of the carbon emissions of the existing ones). In this respect, nothing is to be taken for granted, not least because of the worrying context as regards the affordability of housing in Europe.

As recently acknowledged by European housing ministers in the Liége declaration, Europe is facing a housing crisis that is affecting a large section of the population. Facilitating affordable, quality, and sustainable housing will be a core challenge for the years the come and the public, cooperative, and social housing sector will have to play a pivotal role in tackling it. The EPBD should therefore not be a catalyst for worsening the housing crisis but instead produce socially-inclusive and environmentally sustainable housing systems.

It is therefore crucial that our sector is provided with sufficient financing to implement the EPBD in a socially just manner. Beyond public and private funding, it will be necessary for the EU to earmark sufficient financing (for instance from the revenues of the Emissions Trading Scheme) to activate inclusive renovations and zero-emission construction. Only by doing so will it be possible for the EPBD to be a driver for environmentally sustainable and affordable housing.

Examples of good practices from the sector:

European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2024