Brussels, 12 April 2023 – Build Europe, the association representing European developers and homebuilders, accounting for more than 60% of the EU’s homebuilding capacity, has today published a letter calling on the European Commission to take into account the topic of housing affordability during the Trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament and Council on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

In its letter Build Europe expresses support towards EU’s ambition of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improving energy consumption in the EU building sector, and increasing the rate of renovation of old and energy-inefficient buildings through the revised EPBD. However, the Association emphasises that it is absolutely necessary for the Directive to focus primarily on renovation, without adding further standards to the construction of new dwellings, whose environmental impact is already negligible, before 2033, in order not to further increase the cost of those new buildings that today represent the greenest option on the housing market. According to Build Europe, the EPBD can reach its environmental objectives only if it incentivises EU’s citizens access to new, decent, and energy-performant housing.

Build Europe, in the letter, argues that it is essential to increase the rate of renovation of old and energy-intensive buildings, which are the main contributors for greenhouse gas emissions deriving from the building stock and that if additional standards for new buildings are to be considered, it is essential that their buyers are supported by the introduction of new financial instruments, designed to make new housing affordable. Build Europe concludes that if the European institutions are to meet their environmental objectives without exacerbating the housing crisis, they need to support both policies to increase new housing supply and policies aimed at the supporting of the demand.

Marc Pigeon, President of Build Europe, declared: “Housing affordability finds new obstacles and challenges every year: Brexit, Covid, the war in Ukraine, inflation, lack of buildable land, and high interest rates are just some of the factors that make access to decent homes increasingly difficult.
The EU's environmental goals and housing affordability cannot be considered antithetical, but rather mutually reinforcing. The revised EPBD must therefore ensure that European citizens can afford to buy and live in the greenest buildings on the market, which are new buildings. If these conditions are met, European developers will be happy to take up the challenge of building zero-emission housing that are affordable and continuing to make our contribution towards the decarbonisation of Europe”

Filiep Loosveldt, Managing Director of Build Europe, declared: “We believe that current Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings standards represent an outstanding and realistic target for both old and new housing as a building standard for at least the next 10 years. The EU must consider that the price of an unbalanced EPBD will be paid by European families and young generation, who will once again be denied access to decent affordable housing”.