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MEPs to vote on law to decarbonise buildings in the EU

The European Parliament in Strasbourg will vote today on a law that aims to stamp out emissions in buildings throughout the European Union.

Carbon dioxide currently accounts for over a third (36%) of the bloc’s emissions.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) aims to fully decarbonise buildings in the EU by the middle of this century.

MEPs debated the issue in Strasbourg yesterday.

If passed, individual member states will be responsible for how they implement the new directive to reach targets set out, and will have two years to do so.

The European Commission expects it will require over a quarter of a trillion euro (€275 billion) to be invested annually by 2030.

However, it is estimated the new law could save Europe up to €11 billion a year, and up to 44 billion cubic meters of gas annually – the same volume of Russian gas imported by the EU last year.

EU funding will be available for the transition.

Private investment will also be sought, while financial institutions will be encouraged to roll out additional financing tools like green mortgages and renovation loans.

The proposed legislation faced intense resistance last year from some EU governments over concerns that it could force renovations on homeowners but has since been watered down.

Instead of mandatory individual revamps, the bill now focuses on reducing the energy use of residential buildings as a whole.

Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffe, who is also the EU’s rappoteur for the proposal, said it “prioritises renovation funding for vulnerable groups and enhances renter protections, while setting a clear pathway towards achieving a more efficient building stock in Europe”.

“This is what the just transition is about: not only are we not leaving anyone behind, we are bringing everyone with us towards a future with better buildings and a higher quality of life for all.”

Seán Kelly, Fine Gael MEP and lead negotiator for the EPP grouping on the Directive, said he believes the proposal “on the table now is a balanced and practical agreement that gives member states a very high degree of flexibility to take into account local circumstances and different starting points”.

It is widely expected the bill will be passed when voted on by MEPs this afternoon.

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