What are the market needs and wants for a voluntary common EU certification scheme for the energy performance of non-residential buildings?

The aim of this study was to provide a thorough market analysis for a voluntary common EU certification scheme for non-residential buildings in the EU, with a focus on energy performance. The main objectives of the study were to 1) obtain a good understanding of the current market for (non-residential) building energy-performance certification schemes, their success factors and failures, 2) identify the scope and positioning for a successful common EU certification scheme for the energy performance of non-residential buildings, and 3) give recommendations and propose a roadmap for the further development and implementation of such a scheme.

Schematic overview for a possible operational structure of a voluntary common EU certification scheme

Key findings of this study were:

  • The market for voluntary building certification schemes in the EU is young, and there are differences between Member States in their uptake of such schemes
  • Key factors when choosing a certification scheme include reliability, cost and international acceptance.
  • The most significant added value of a voluntary common EU scheme is that it allows for a consistent comparison between buildings across Member States, while simultaneously offering high-quality assessment and international acceptance.
  • A majority of interviewed scheme users were in favour of integrating the EU common voluntary scheme within existing mandatory or voluntary schemes.

Recommendations for the design of an EU scheme:

  • Consider a pilot phase for initial launch focusing on a sub-sector of the non-residential building stock (e.g. offices, hotels);
  • Cover the public and private sector;
  • Develop one single version to cover both new and existing buildings;
  • Start with a module for energy only, allowing for the possibility of future expansion into other modules;
  • Cover energy in use and as designed;
  • The scheme should be low cost;
  • The centralised registration system and disclosure should be outsourced but publicly funded; and
  • Adopt a comparative label design.