The impact of the EU’s energy efficiency plan on Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
energy efficiency

MADRID – In Spain, 80% of residential blocks will have to implement a series of reforms to comply with the energy efficiency plan for residential and utility buildings approved on Tuesday. 

The regulation will apply equally to all Member States, regardless of their housing stock and per capita income. In Spain, the plan mainly affects the oldest residential blocks. According to critics, this will lead to greater inequality because people with lower incomes often live here. 

Four out of five homes in the country, therefore, do not have the minimum energy label required by Brussels to meet the climate requirements of the European Union. In addition, from 2029 “all residential buildings and covered parking garages” must have solar energy. 

Related post: Subsidy schemes for solar panels in Spain in 2023 

On the other hand, homes in Brussels are no longer allowed to have gas boilers. For this reason, “national plans to phase out the use of fossil fuels in buildings will be implemented with a view to a phase-out planned for 2035”. However, the European Union will give some leeway – until “2040 at the latest” – to the member states to implement everything. All heating and hot water must be obtained through the energy of solar panels. 

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

New construction according to the ‘zero-emission’ standard 

All new buildings must be built according to the ‘zero-emission’ standard based on a good quality of the indoor environment and may no longer have heating that works based on fossil fuels. 

The European Union requires all buildings to achieve energy efficiency class E from 2030. Subsequently, all residential buildings must have class D from 2033. Classes F and G are removed. This implies the reform of more than 80% of buildings and single-family homes in Spain. Only 20% of Spanish homes currently have an energy label D or higher. 

Unforeseen effects 

Once the measures are introduced, old buildings in need of reform, such as the refurbishment of outdated staircases, will also have to undergo work to meet the “minimum energy efficiency requirements”. Critics, therefore, point out that any intervention to make improvements to a building can have a series of unforeseen effects. Knowing that many homeowners’ associations, especially in low-income neighbourhoods, will choose not to even begin renovations to avoid high expenses. Moreover, the goal of the European Union is to gradually make all homes in the member states emission-free by 2050. 

Related post: Spain wants to accelerate the transition to green energy in the EU and ambitious climate goals 

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