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Barriers & Challenges to nZEB

Legislative barriers

The lack of definition of nZEB, a lack of policy coherence and legal structures to address energy retrofit where there is divided ownership are also key issues to be addressed:

In many Member States a major regulatory impediment is felt to be the unclear or non-existent definition of nZEB and what is required of social housing providers in terms of standards or specifications. In some Member States there are no intermediate targets or adequate targets for retrofitting. Whilst some Member States are ahead of where they need to be to achieve energy efficient targets, other Member States have no energy efficiency strategy in place at all.

The Nearly Zero Energy Building Obligations set by the EPBD also require the production of renewable energy either on site or nearby all new buildings. However, there is widespread uncertainty as to the extent and method by which renewable energy should be incorporated into the building design. There are still many bureaucratic obstacles to local production and consumption of renewable energy.

In many Member States there is a mismatch between the requirement to deliver improved energy building standards and the existence of financial incentives to help bring about those standards. Art. 4 of the EPBD requires Member States to set minimum standards for the energy performance of both new construction and refurbished dwellings and Art. 10 highlights the importance of appropriate financing and other instruments for the transition to nZEB. Although the requirement in Art. 4 is in place, the financial instruments to enable the work to be carried out are not yet in place in all Member States. With regard to financial incentives, the question of state aid is raised, with potential conflicts. This lack of clarity as to the legal position acts as a further impediment to delivery of improved energy performance.

A particular legal problem arises in connection with those dwellings in divided ownership. Privatisation of the dwelling stock in multi-family houses is not the easiest legal structure when seeking to carry out large-scale refurbishment works. Problems arise in not having an appropriate legal body to take out a joint mortgage and issues relating to those residents who either cannot or do not wish to contribute towards paying for the improvements.

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