While many member states have introduced energy standards to be respected for new (particularly residential) construction in recent years, since 2003 the EU has added an extra stimulus to this process promoting adoption of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). Recast in 2009 to strengthen commitment on this issue, the Directive incites the adoption of national energy performance certificates for residential and general utility buildings – firmly establishing the concept of energy labels on the basis of grades (rating) of energy efficiency.
Although the EU directive makes energy performance disclosure mandatory in all member states there has, in the interim, been fairly minimal evaluation of the real take up of and adherence to this principle. Fronted by Dirk Brounen and Nils Kok of Maastricht University, a research report has just been released which provides an interesting insight into the state of play in the Netherlands (Sponsored by RICS Research). In introducing his findings Dirk Brounen emphasises that currently only +/- 50% of member states have officially introduced a certification system in accordance with the directive.
The report focuses on the Netherlands experience by examining housing property sales between January 2008 and September 2009, where since January 2008 technically all transactions in the Dutch housing market need to be accompanied by an energy performance certificate. It also attempts to explain the “green premium” effect derived from market pricing of energy performance certificates. The conclusion is that even by refining down the figures, the green increment still represents an interesting 2.8% positive impact on the transaction price. However of the total number of transactions (194,000 dwelling sales) only 33,000 were in fact effectively labelled, conform the directive, over the sample period. Furthermore the level of labelled transactions has not been constant – and from initial levels which reached just over 25% of housing property sales in early 2008 the proportion of labelled sales had steadily decreased to under 10% by July 2009. This can partly be explained by a peculiarity in the Dutch system which legally allows the buyer to sign a waiver, which frees the seller from his obligation to provide the certificate.
This snapshot report presents an interesting insight on the situation in a country which has “embraced” the directive. It suggests for instance that there would be merit in spreading out this analysis to other countries and it raises many thought provoking questions, not least as regards to what is happening outside the sales market – which represents by far the highest proportion of the housing stock in countries across the EU.
Full research report – website
Thematic Pole Manager