The contribution of the EC energy certificate in improving sustainability of the housing stock

M Beerepoot, MM Sunikka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    In 2003 the European Commission introduced the EC Directive on the energy performance of buildings in recognition of the importance of energy savings in the urban housing stock. The Directive gives the member states freedom to design the different elements in practice. The energy certificate for existing buildings demanded by the EC Directive can be used as a communicative instrument, or combined with economic or regulatory principles. The authors discuss the anticipated efficiency and effectiveness of different policy approaches in the application of the EC energy certificate for the urban housing stock. They argue that, although energy certificates as a communication instrument for household appliances have appeared to be relatively successful, the different nature of the building sector may mean that their effectiveness here will be rather limited. The combination of energy certificates with tax schemes seems promising, but will have to be coupled with general income taxes or in housing-related taxes in order to prevent regressive social effects. Combination of the energy certificate with subsidies should be limited, because of the `free-rider effect¿, and subsidies should only cover innovative products at the beginning of their `learning curve¿. Effective results can probably be expected from the introduction of regulations combined with energy-certificate standards, but this requires a rather drastic approach and needs time to receive sufficient commitment, as has been the case for new buildings where there has been a gradual development of energy regulations over the last thirty years. However, an introduction of energy standards for the existing urban housing stock through the EC energy certificate offers great potential in the realisation of CO2 reductions. The introduction of an energy standard, by means of the energy certificate in combination with progressive taxes or other economic measures to reward better and punish worse energy-performance levels, seems an interesting approach that needs further research.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)21-31
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Planning & Design
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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