Are your Building Services EPBD III –proof?

Early 2020, a new virus occurred in Europe, which took all of our attention and efforts.

Did you notice however, that at the same time new legislation about energy efficiency came into force? Legislation that affects nearly every professional building and asset owner? Moreover, that it may require actions and investments to comply with the legislation?

I will no longer keep you in suspense. As per March 10th 2020, the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD III) was implemented in Dutch legislation and regulations. This because of the fact that the European Commission adopted the revised European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive back in 2018. The directive aims to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, thereby reducing (fossil) energy consumption. It is a follow up of earlier EPBD directives, of which the first one dates back to 2003.   

Why am I drawing attention to the EPBD III here? Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of EU energy consumption and 36% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings are therefore the single largest energy consumer in Europe. The Directive more or less forces every building and asset owner to improve the energy efficiency and thus reduce greenhouse gases at his premises.

The EPBD III is based on three so-called pillars:

  • System requirements for technical building systems
  • Technical inspections for heating and air conditioning systems
  • Charging infrastructure for electric transport

The first pillar is in effect from the moment building installations are installed, replaced or improved. These requirements apply to space heating and cooling, ventilation, domestic hot water, built-in lighting and building automation and control systems. In addition starting from 2026, buildings with HVAC systems with a capacity over 290 kW are required to implement a Building Automation control System (BAS). The question arises whether a control system is already available with required functionality with regards to energy monitoring. Pillar 2 includes the revised inspection obligations for heating and air conditioning systems. The EPBD inspection for both heating and air-conditioning systems is mandatory from a nominal power of 70 kW. If one of the two systems is linked to a ventilation system, this ventilation system must also be inspected. The inspection of air conditioning systems or combined air conditioning and ventilation systems must be registered via an online portal. With pillar 3, there will be an obligation for the construction of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the private built environment.  For new and renovated utility buildings with more than 10 parking lots on the same site, at least one charging point and pipeline infrastructure (empty pipes) for future extensions shall be installed. Existing utility buildings with more than 20 parking lots on the same site must have at least one charging point installed from 2025. In addition, this pillar appoints technical requirements to charging points.

These are just a few of the most important topics. Anyone dealing with buildings is advised to consider the EPBD III timely. In this way, surprises and unexpected costs can be avoided. Timely preparation also provides opportunities to tap into subsidies and tax schemes. The first action could be to assess your actual buildings and technical installations based on the pillars of the EPBD III in a master plan: What are the requirements, and when is what mandatory? This gains insight in the impact of the EPBD III on your mid or long term development and maintenance of building installations and electric transport facilities.

It is wise to combine this with the other energy-related legislation like the new BENG for buildings, Ecodesign for products and building services and the EED on performing periodic energy audits and implementing all measures that have a payback-time within 5 years.

Bilfinger Tebodin can help you in this challenging amount of rules. A fresh look at your plans and professional advice is important to find the right balance in affordable adjustments. To make your plans a success, we are ready to help convincing authorities and stakeholders.

About the author

Erwin is Lead Engineer at the Building Services department at Bilfinger Tebodin in Elsloo, The Netherlands. He has extensive experience with feasibility and conceptual studies, engineering, supervision, project management of HVAC installations and utilities for various projects containing industrial buildings, clean rooms, offices, pharmaceutical and food production plants & laboratories. Erwin has a high interest in energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment, which is also a hobby for him.

АuthorErwin Roijen