The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

The set of EPB standards play a key role to support the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) of the European Union.

Revision of the EPBD in 2022-2023

On December 15, 2021 the European Commission published its proposal for the revision of the EPBD:

"Buildings are one of the largest sources of energy consumption in Europe. Boosting their energy efficiency would cut emissions, tackle energy poverty, reduce people's vulnerability to energy prices and support the economic recovery and job creation. The Renovation Wave Strategy (MEMO) presented in October 2020 set out measures aiming to at least double the annual energy renovation rate by 2030.

The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is an essential element of this Strategy. It upgrades the existing regulatory framework to reflect higher ambitions and more pressing needs in climate and social action while providing Member States with the flexibility needed to take into account the differences in the building stock across Europe."



The first version of the EPBD was published in 2002 (Directive 2002/91/EC). In the interest of clarity the EPBD was recast in 2010 (Directive 2010/31/EU).

A revised version of the EPBD was published in 2018 (Directive 2018/844/EU).

Revised EPBD in 2018: stronger role of the EPB standards

EU Member States are encouraged to consider applicable standards, in particular from the list of EPB standards.

The EPBD aims to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the European Union, taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-effectiveness. (Article 1).

From the amended (2018) text of EPBD Annex 1, point 1:
Member States shall describe their national calculation methodology following the national annexes of the overarching standards, namely ISO 52000-1, 52003-1, 52010-1, 52016-1, and 52018-1, developed under mandate M/480 given to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). This provision shall not constitute a legal codification of those standards.

Although the new EPBD does not force the Member States to apply the set of EPB standards , the obligation to describe the national calculation methodology following the national annexes of the overarching standards will push the Member States to explain where and why they deviate from these standards. This will lead to an increased recognition and promotion of the set of EPB standards across the Member States and will have a positive impact on the implementation of the Directive.

See also Recommendations published by the European Commission.

Five ‘overarching’ EPB standards explicitly mentioned in the EPBD:2018:
The EPBD lists five EPB standards as 'overarching'. The meaning of the terms 'overarching' in the new EPBD and in the modular structure of the set of EPB standards only partly overlap. In the modular structure the term overarching refers to the standards that deal with the overall energy performance of a building (module M1), while other modules deal with the building as such (M2) or specific technical building systems or services (M3 etc.)
The five ‘overarching’ EPB standards ISO 52000-1, 52003-1, 52010-1, 52016-1 and 52018-1 have in common that each of these describes an important step in the assessment of the energy performance of building:

  • ISO 52000-1 is the overarching EPB standard, providing the general framework of the EPB assessment. It establishes a systematic, comprehensive and modular structure for assessing the energy performance of new and existing buildings (EPB) in a holistic way.
    It is applicable to the assessment of overall energy use of a building, by measurement or calculation, and the calculation of energy performance in terms of primary energy or other energy-related metrics. It takes into account the specific possibilities and limitations for the different applications, such as building design, new buildings 'as built', and existing buildings in the use phase as well as renovation. It also contains an overview of common terms and definitions and symbols for the whole set of EPB standards. More information…
  • ISO 52003-1 provides general insight on how to make good use of the outputs of the set of EPB assessment standards for different purposes (post-processing) in the form of overall and partial EPB indicators. It describes the relation between the EPB indicators and the EPB requirements and EPB ratings. It also includes a couple of possible EPB labels and it lists the different steps to be taken when establishing an EPB certification scheme. More information…
  • ISO 52010-1 contains procedures to assess the climatic data needed as common input or boundary condition for many elements in the energy calculations.
    For instance as input for energy and daylighting calculations, for building elements (such as roofs, facades and windows) and for components of technical building systems (such as thermal solar collectors, PV panels). But also as boundary condition for the performance of specific heating, cooling and ventilation systems. More information…
  • ISO 52016-1 provides the procedures to calculate the internal temperatures and energy needs for heating and cooling for the building as such.
    This is the core of the calculation of the energy use, because many aspects coincide in this calculation: thermal insulation, air tightness and ventilation, the building mass, solar heat load and passive solar energy and internal heat gains (e.g. from lighting).
    Many countries have introduced or consider to introduce specific EPB requirements at the level of ‘the energy needs’ of the building or the ‘skin’ or ‘fabric’ of the building, independent from the choice of technical building systems and renewable energy systems. More information…
  • ISO 52018-1 provides an overview of options of indicators enabling (optional) specific EPB requirements (post-processing) at the level of the building as such (building energy needs or building fabric). More information…