Green Homes Directive: the revolution of zero-emission buildings


Emma Potter

Europe takes a decisive step towards a more sustainable future with the approval of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)commonly known in Italy as the 'Green Houses' directive.

With 370 votes in favour, the European Parliament has marked the beginning of a new era for the construction sector, aiming to create a climate-neutral building stock by 2050. This ambitious objective aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in the sector, outlining a transition path towards climate neutrality.

The revision of the directive embodies the European desire to tackle climate challenges through concrete measures, such as the energy renovation of the worst performing buildings and the promotion of greater awareness of energy performance.

Objectives and ambitions of the Green Homes Directive

The new provisions of the directive provide for a holistic approach to sustainability, considering the entire life cycle of buildings, from the production of materials to disposal. This means that, when calculating emissions, Member States will also have to take into account theenvironmental impact of the building materials used.

For residential buildings, a target is set to reduce the average primary energy used by at least 16% by 2030with the ambition of achieving a 20-22% reduction by 2035.

The directive also sets ambitious targets for the restructuring of non-residential buildingswith 16% of the worst energy performing buildings due for renovation by 2030 and 26% by 2033. This renovation process will be accompanied by the introduction of minimum energy performance requirements and the mandatory installation of solar systems in certain buildings, thus promoting the use of renewable energy.

Member States are also called upon to decarbonise heating systems, phasing out the use of fossil fuels by 2040. From 2025, subsidies for fossil fuel boilers will be banned, instead favoring heating systems that integrate technologies based on renewable energy.

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These measures demonstrate Europe's commitment to an ecological transformation of the construction sector, laying the foundations for a more sustainable and climate-neutral future.

Flexibility and political debate: the Directive between cultural inclusion and controversies

A fundamental aspect of the new EPBD directive is its flexibility in application to certain types of buildings, highlighting a sensitivity towards the cultural and historical specificities of each member country. Agricultural, historic buildings, protected for their architectural or historical value, temporary structures, churches and places of worship are exempt from these new regulationsthus allowing greater adaptability to different territorial realities without compromising the important European cultural heritage.

The approval of the directive saw broad support from different political groups within the European Parliament, demonstrating a cross-party will to advance the fight against climate change.

However, the decision was not unanimous, with votes against mainly from ECR MEPs, including representatives of Fratelli d'Italia, and Identità e Democracy, with Matteo Salvini's League. The division within the EPP group, with the Italian delegation in disagreement except for Alessandra Mussolini and Herbert Dorfmann, reflects the complexity of the political debate on energy and the environment in Europe.

The agreement reached on the EPBD therefore marks a significant step towards the EU's climate neutrality objective, placing buildings at the center of environmental sustainability strategies. The directive represents a balance between ecological ambition and consideration of cultural and political diversity, highlighting the importance of an inclusive and flexible approach in the energy transition.


With the approval of the directive on energy performance in buildings, Europe is committed to rewriting the future of construction, transforming it into a key sector for achieving climate neutrality. This legislation introduces stringent requirements for reducing emissions and energy use, while promoting innovation and respect for cultural heritage.

Through a shared path of restructuring and technological innovation, the EU is on its way to becoming a global example of how construction can contribute to the fight against climate change, while ensuring sustainable growth and inclusiveness.