Including Fire Safety in the Energy Performance Buildings Directive
The Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD) has been an important driver in the EU’s efforts to improve European buildings, which are responsible for about 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU.
Until 2018, fire safety was absent from this key Directive. Yet, fire safety is an important consideration when building and renovating energy efficient buildings. For example, it is important to ensure that fire safety is properly considered when installing new materials and technologies that could have a significance such as photovoltaic panels, charging station for electrical vehicles, and energy storage systems. For some technologies, additional fire safety requirements may be useful.
Fire Safe Europe urged the European Parliament to include fire safety to the directive, which the European Parliament did by inserting fire safety in two articles of the revised EPBD adopted in 2018.
EPBD – The Revision process
In November 2016, the European Commission published a proposal for a new EPBD. Just as the previous Directives, this proposal did not include fire safety.
On 17 April 2018, the amended EPBD was adopted by the European Parliament, with 2 articles referring to fire safety. In May 2018, the Council of the European Union also adopted the (EPBD).
The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EU) 2018/844 was published in the EU Official Journal (L156) on 19 June and entered into force as of 9 July 2018. As of that date, Member States have 20 months to transpose the directive into national law. The revised EPBD includes two articles urging Member States to consider fire safety in building undergoing major renovations and in their long-term renovation strategies.
“The revised proposal is an opportunity for national regulators to work on increasing fire safety in buildings. Energy efficient buildings must be fire safe: when improving a building’s energy performance, fire safety has to be taken into account, not weakened.”
Juliette Albiac, FSEU Managing Director
Fire Safety in the revised EPBD
Article 2a paragph 7
“ Each Member State may use its long-term renovation strategy to address fire safety and risks related to intense seismic activity affecting energy efficiency renovations and the lifetime of buildings.”
Article 7 paragraph 5
“Member States shall encourage, in relation to buildings undergoing major renovation, high-efficiency alternative systems, in so far as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible, and shall address the issues of healthy indoor climate conditions, fire safety and risks related to intense seismic activity.”
FSEU’s key messages
FSEU strongly supports the inclusion of fire safety in the revised EPBD, which constitutes an opportunity for regulators to ensure fire safety is duly considered when renovating buildings to increase their energy performance.
In order to ensure a proper and successful implementation, we believe 3 elements need to be considered, as these are fundamental to secure that European buildings are fire safe when undergoing renovations:
- Fire prevention
- Safe evacuation
- Limiting the dangerousness and spread of the fire
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