[ESREI’S One year anniversary] – OID study on European EPCs: a crucial tool for the energy transition in the building sector

Written by Arnaud VIDAL, OID.

The Green Building Observatory (OID in French) has launched a European programme in 2021, the European Sustainable Real Estate Initiative (ESREI). This OID sponsored programme brings together real estate stakeholders to discuss ESG issues and the situation regarding ESG regulations across Europe.

Introduced 20 years ago by the Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD), the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are intended to represent the theoretical energy consumption of buildings. Since then, EPCs have become a major part of the building, real estate, and energy fields in Europe, and a key criteria for mitigation for the European Taxonomy.


Energy Performance Certificate are now common throughout Europe, but still hardly harmonised

In the era of the Renovation Wave and European Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities, interpreting the energy performance indicators of buildings has become a crucial stake for real estate actors. Formerly purely indicative, EPCs now occupy a central position in the monitoring of building decarbonisation policies. Its impact on the real estate value chain is becoming more and more tangible, such as in the phasing out of energy bands G and F from rental markets in France, the Netherlands and in the United-Kingdom. On the other hand, the increasing importance of EPCs also raise concerns about their reliability and especially, their comparability.

Indeed, the European Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities duly questions the gaps between calculation methods adopted by the Member States. To which extent an C or E energy band can be compared in Germany, France, or Spain? And for which kind of assets? How much confidence could be placed in the different national EPCs? What are the commonalities and differences between national systems? How can we anticipate the effects of the future recast of the EPCs preconised by the European Commission?


A first glance in EPCs and energy classes’ differences in Europe

All these questions argue for a comparative analysis of EPCs’ methodologies in Europe, questioning the differences of implementation of EPCs and the nature of their indicators, including their calculation methods used and the scope of energy consumption measured. In the framework of ESREI, OID hence offers an in-depth comparative study of EPCs in Europe, planned in three parts.

The first part of the study will provide an overall overview of the functioning modes of EPCs in Europe by analysing the evolution of the EPC’s regulation and requirements framed in the Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD). This study will also detail how EPCs are used to decarbonize building stocks in different EU countries and their impact on real estate markets. Last, but not least, this paper will provide a first comparison of the energy classes of a panel of European countries’ housing and office buildings’ scales.


Detailing the specificities of EPCs for housing and offices: towards two complementary studies

OID will subsequently focus on the functioning of the housing and office EPCs, respectively in a second and third study planned in Fall and in the beginning of 2023. These studies will focus on the commonalities and differences between the existing methodologies for housing and offices employed in the selected European countries. It will also provide a first look on the future evolutions announced in the recast of the EPBD proposed by the European Commission in December 2021. Finally, an attention will be paid on the differences in methodology and their impacts on the estimated energy classes that are issued.


ESREI 1st anniversary: a one-time online conference to discover more about dedicated tools and studies for sustainable real estate in Europe

If you are interested to find out more about the initiative, we warmly invite you to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the ESREI programme, which will take the form of an online conference on the 30th of June, between 2:30 and 4:40 pm CET on “Mitigation and adaptation: how the building sector can face the challenge in Europe”. It will be the opportunity to present the progress of the programme in terms of publications with a focus on the R4RE platform, the dedicated mapping tool for climate change adaptation and resilience analysis developed by OID. The results of the two last ESREI’s studies will also exposed, the first about Decarbonisation of the building sector in Europe and the Comparison of EPCs in Europe.

Register for the conference here.


The ESREI programme is now sponsored by Advenis REIM, AEW, Allianz Real Estate, Amundi Asset Management, Aviva Investors France, Axa Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Icade, La Française REM and PERIAL Asset Management. Launched mid-2021, the programme will have a minimum duration of 2 years.

Plus d'articles sur le sujet