The aim of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive is to save energy and to reach the target the EU has set itself: by 2020, the EU wants to cut energy consumption by 20%. In absolute terms – calculated in million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe)– this are 368 Mtoe in 2020 compared to projected consumption in that year of 1842 Mtoe. This needs to be achieved by the EU as a whole.
The Directive includes legal obligation to establish energy saving schemes in all Member States: energy distributors or retail energy sales companies are obliged to save every year 1,5 % of their energy sales, by volume, through the implementation of energy efficiency measures such as improving the efficiency of the heating system, installing double glazed windows or insulating roofs, among final energy customers.
Public sector to lead by example: public bodies will push for the market uptake of energy efficient products and services through a legal obligation to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services. They will further have to progressively reduce the energy consumed on their own premises by carrying out every year the required renovation works covering at least 3% of their total floor area.
Major energy savings for consumers: easy and free-of-charge access to data on real-time and historical energy consumption through more accurate individual metering will now empower consumers to better manage their energy consumption. Billing should be based on the actual consumption well reflecting data from the metering.
Industry: Incentives for SMEs to undergo energy audits and disseminate best practices while the large companies will have to make an audit of their energy consumption to help them identify the potential for reduced energy consumption.
Efficiency in energy generation: monitoring of efficiency levels of new energy generation capacities, establishment of national heat and cooling plans as a basis for a sound planning of efficient heating and cooling infrastructures, including recovery of waste heat.
The Directive set binding measures rather than binding target for each and every member state. Member States have the obligation to apply all its provisions. In addition, each country has to present national indicative targets by April 2013. If the European Commission estimates that those are insufficient to meet the EU's overall 2020 goal, then it can request member states to re-assess their plans.
In the first semester of 2014, the Commission will review the progress towards the 20% energy-efficiency target, report on it and assess whether further measures are needed.
If Europe is off track, the Commission said it intends to come back with a proposal for further legislation.