EU aims for greener buildings by 2020

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The Independent Online

The majority of new buildings constructed in the European Union and those undergoing significant renovation must prove their high energy efficiency as of December 31, 2020, the EU agreed Tuesday.

Buildings currently generate 36 percent of CO2 emissions in the EU and account for 40 percent of energy consumption in the union.

Representatives of the European parliament and European states decided to revise an existing European law set in 2002 on the energy performance of buildings as part of the EU's major plan to reduce pollution emissions.

Public buildings will lead by example in the new agreement, required to meet the higher standards two years earlier, from the end of 2018.

The new agreement implies a "very significant" recourse to renewable energies, including those produced directly on site.

Each country will set the precise standards of energy efficiency as the task of establishing general norms applicable to both Finland and Portugal, for example, would be too difficult for the EU to implement.

Depending on the materials and designs used, new buildings meeting the efficiency standards require just a fifth of the energy that existing buildings consume on average.