The Energy Performance of Buildings directive is intended to cut energy used by the EU's 160M buildings by 22% by 2010.
This equates to 45Mt of CO 2, a significant proportion of the 330M. t the Kyoto protocol committed the EU to save between 1990 and 2010.
Buildings consume over 40% of the energy produced in the EU. The directive introduces the concept of agreed measurements of energy use and relative performance.
It demands regular inspections and re-evaluations and requires improved standards for new buildings plus higher standards for renovating larger buildings with a total useful floor area over 1,000m 2. When these undergo major renovation their energy performance must also be upgraded to the latest standards.
The UK government has chosen to go further, aware that the biggest opportunities for energy saving are in the current building stock.
It now proposes to include requirements from the 'Sustainable & Secure Buildings Act 2004', which in practice will mean that anyone carrying out building improvement works costing more than £8,000 will be required to spend an extra 10% on improving its energy performance.