The EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU)

Last updated: 2 June 2021

The aim of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive was to save energy and to reach the EU's enegy savings targets: by 2020, a 20% cut in energy consumption, or in absolute terms  -calculated in million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) - 1483 Mtoe  in 2020 compared to projected consumption in that year of 1842 Mtoe for the EU as a whole.


The Directive included a legal obligation to establish energy saving schemes  in all Member States:  energy distributors or retail energy sales companies were obliged to save 1.5 % of their energy sales annually,  by volume, through the implementation of energy efficiency measures such as improving the efficiency of heating systems, installing double glazed windows or insulating roofs, among final energy customers.


Public sector to lead by example:  public bodies were encouraged to help stimulate market for energy efficient products and services through a legal obligation to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services. They were also required to progressively reduce the energy consumed on their own premises by carrying out renovation works covering at least 3%  of their total floor area each year.


Major energy savings for consumers:  The Directive included measures to improve access to data on real-time and historical energy consumption through more  accurate individual metering, to empower consumers to better manage their  energy consumption. Billing was to be based on the actual consumption, using data from smart meters.


Industry: Incentives for SMEs to undergo energy audits and disseminate best practices while the large companies will have to make an audit of their energy consumption to help them identify the potential for reduced energy consumption.


Efficiency in energy generation: monitoring of efficiency levels of new energy generation capacities, establishment of national heat and cooling plans as a basis for a sound planning of efficient heating and cooling infrastructures, including recovery of waste heat.


The Directive set binding  measures  rather than binding targets for each member state with member states obliged to apply all its provisions. In addition, each country had to present national indicative targets by April 2013. If the European Commission estimated that those were insufficient to meet the EU's overall 2020 goal, it could request member states to re-assess their plans.


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