About the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU)

The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) entered into force on 4 December 2012 and repeals the Cogeneration Directive (2004/8/EC) and the Energy End-Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (2006/32/EC).

The EED is as close as the EU comes to an EU-wide energy efficiency strategy anchored by legislation. It is a framework directive which sets overarching objectives and targets to be achieved by a coherent and mutually reinforcing set of measures covering virtually all aspects of the energy system: from supply, transformation, transmission and distribution to consumption. Member States (MSs) must transpose the EED into national law by 5 June 2014 within their own legal, social, environmental and economic culture.

Why energy efficiency matters

The European Union has three climate and energy targets to be reached before 2020: a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of energy derived from renewables and a 20% increase in energy efficiency. If these 2020 targets are not met, a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system will be exceedingly difficult and expensive to achieve.

The Coalition believes that the quality of implementation of other directives has been relatively poor. MSs often transpose EU directives with a view to meeting only the minimum levels of ambition, avoiding complexity or changes to existing national law, even though going beyond minimum requirements can often bring numerous economic advantages and other types of benefits. All actors within the value chains of the sectors covered in the EED, be it industry, buildings, appliances, transport or energy supply, have a vested interest in supporting good implementation. MSs have made a political commitment to the 2020 targets and the Coalition will work to help them follow through on that commitment. The Coalition wants to stress that this guidebook is part of a long-term endeavour, rather than a one-off attempt that will end with its publication.

About this guidebook

This document is a detailed guidebook for a strong and effective implementation of the EED.

Who should use this guide?

This guidebook is intended for members of the Coalition and other national, regional and local implementers and stakeholders of the EED, including industry, manufacturers, utility companies and non-profit organisations.

The Coalition also welcomes government officials at all levels to use this guide, which clarifies many aspects of the EED, puts them in the context of overall energy efficiency policies and provides recommendations for good practices.

The Coalition hopes that compiling all the elements of the EED in one easy-to-use guide will help an ambitious implementation of the legislation, achievement of the EU's energy savings target and paving the way for increasing energy efficiency beyond 2020.

The Coalition understands that other and similar forms of support exist for administrations. The Commission is planning to provide its understanding and interpretation of various articles. MSs also have access to a “Concerted Action” dealing with the EED. Active already for many years under the Energy Services and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Directives, this Concerted Action is a network funded by the Commission to allow officials to meet and share experiences, find common solutions to specific challenges and identify best practices.

This guide is not intended to replace much needed actions, like a common implementation strategy led by the Commission, but rather be a valued and useful complement to the Commission's efforts in this area. Moreover, we hope it will foster greater transparency of the implementation process and improve the understanding and accessibility of this complex piece of EU legislation by providing additional clarifications, comparisons, recommendations and best practice examples.

It is lastly important to note that this guide reflects the perspective of the Coalition as a whole, rather than that of its individual members, and that its recommendations are based on our own legal interpretation of the legislation.

How the guidebook is structured

Instead of taking on the legislation article by article, the guidebook is broken down into themes, as many appear in multiple parts of the EED. The chapters contain legal checks, or ensuring that requirements of the legislation have been fulfilled, and/or good practice recommendations that the Coalition has developed to facilitate the most ambitious and effective implementation of the EED. Note that three themes are in gray; this designates that they are not covered in this guide.

Part I: Setting the targets provides an overview of the EED and its objectives and targets (see blue boxes in figure below). It explains how targets should be established and used to drive efficiency measures.

Part II: Reaching the targets provides details about the main efficiency measures of the EED (see light orange boxes in figure below). The chapters provide a background for each of the subject areas, the requirements of the EED and recommendations for effective transposition, implementation and monitoring.

Part III: Getting on track considers the overarching measures which bring all the pieces together and lead beyond 2020 (see red boxes in figure below). It includes recommendations on how to use financing strategies and national building renovation strategies.

The figure below will appear at the beginning of each chapter to show how it fits into the book and into the EED as whole. Please note that information for market actors, metering and billing and qualification, accreditation and certification are not covered in this guidebook for capacity reasons, but should be covered in future updates.

overview map of the chapters of this guide