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  • New buildings directive: One size does not fit all

    Rakli on yhdessä pohjoismaisten kiinteistöalan järjestöjen kanssa tehnyt kannanoton EU:n valmistelemasta Energiatehokkuusdirektiivistä (EPBD). Järjestöt muistuttavat kannanotossaan, että liian yksityiskohtainen sääntely voi tavoitteestaan poiketen estää vihreiden investointien toteutumisen. Valmistelussa tulisi huomioida myös jäsenmaiden erilaiset lähtötilanteet.

    A green future does not come about by itself. It requires investments in greener energy, transportation, agriculture – and not the least: greener buildings.

    This conclusion has gradually been reached almost everywhere, including in the EU where green buildings are seen as paramount to reach the climate ambitions. Buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of the EU’s energy consumption and 36 per cent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions making climate policy building policy. On that background the European Commission has proposed a new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

    And let us be completely clear about one thing: This directive will influence your daily life as it sets up the rules to be followed both when renovating and constructing buildings. If you live or work in a building – and we bet, you do – new rules here will affect you.

    Therefore, it is important that the directive is properly conceived, and this is a hard task. First, it must support cost-effective investments ensuring a green transition with the least loss and waste. Second, it must make green investments more attractive to a greater number of people. Third, it must consider that many non-economic or regulatory barriers to investments exist – for instance in the rent regulations in some countries. Fourth, it must handle and contain the notable differences in the building stocks, history, regulations and especially in energy systems across the EU. Even among the Nordic countries, we see some striking differences.

    At the same time, the directive must build upon the reality that governs real estate and property investments – and this it is not a simple thing. The time horizon for such investments is long, financing is complicated and large sums are required, and the surroundings of the building and a lot of people’s day-to-day-lives are affected both directly and indirectly when a building is constructed or adapted to greener future. Too detailed regulation and management of this complex situation in a directive is simply not feasible.

    Unfortunately, the European Commission has not fully taken note of this. We therefore face a risk of a new set of rules with an unprecedented and unnecessarily high level of detail, keeping the green investments at bay rather than encouraging them. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the way forward here. We also face a risk of a set of rules, which does not rest on a sufficient understanding of how investments in real estate are in fact planned and realised. This is also the message in a letter, we as associations have sent to the European Commission.

    The real estate sector has a clear responsibility, and we fully share the green ambitions. We are ready to invest. On many accounts, the industry has already taken up the challenge, and green investments and improvements of the built environment are soaring. This is a development we must strengthen and assist – but in an effective, clever, and realistic way.

    Jyrki Laurikainen, CEO, RAKLI
    Tone Hellevik Dahl, CEO, Norsk Eiendom
    Anders Holmestig, CEO, Svenska Fastighetsägarna
    Lena Hartmann, legal director, EjendomDanmark