Europe is taking a major step toward a greener future with the publication of the new Energy Efficiency Directive, EU 2023/1791, in the EU Official Journal. Adopted earlier this year, the directive will become effective in just 20 days, setting the stage for significant changes.

This directive introduces measures like a legally-binding target to reduce energy consumption by 11.7% by 2030, increased annual energy savings, and prioritizing vulnerable customers and social housing. It also extends renovation obligations, introduces energy monitoring for data centers, and promotes efficient heating and cooling. The EU is committed to an energy-efficient, sustainable path forward

Some notable changes from the previous directives (2018/2002 and 2012/27/EU) include:

  1. EU Legally-Binding Target: The directive establishes a legally-binding target to reduce the EU's final energy consumption by 11.7% by 2030, relative to the 2020 reference scenario. Each Member State will be required to set indicative national contributions based on objective criteria, with an ambition gap mechanism enforced by the Commission if necessary.

  2. Increased Annual Energy Savings: Annual energy savings will see a significant increase from the current 0.8% to 1.3% (2024-2025), 1.5% (2026-2027), and 1.9% from 2028 onwards. This equates to an average of 1.49% of new annual savings for the period from 2024 to 2030.

  3. Priority for Vulnerable Customers and Social Housing: Member States are now obliged to prioritize vulnerable customers and social housing in their energy savings measures.

  4. Public Sector Energy Reduction Target: An annual energy consumption reduction target of 1.9% is introduced for the public sector as a whole.

  5. Extended Building Renovation Obligation: The annual 3% buildings renovation obligation is extended to all levels of public administration.

  6. Energy Management and Audits for Businesses: Businesses will follow a new approach, based on energy consumption, to either implement an energy management system or carry out energy audits.

  7. Monitoring Data Center Energy Performance: A new obligation is introduced to monitor the energy performance of data centers, with an EU-level database for collecting and publishing data.

  8. Promoting Local Heating & Cooling Plans: The directive promotes local heating and cooling plans in larger municipalities.

  9. Increasing Efficient Energy Consumption: There will be a gradual increase in efficient energy consumption in heat or cold supply, including district heating.

Read more: New Energy Efficiency Directive published (europa.eu) EUR-Lex - 32023L1791 - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)