Equipping Europe’s buildings for an electro-mobile future

Publish date: April 4, 2017

The currently ongoing revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) offers a once-in-a-decade opportunity to get Europe’s buildings up to speed with current and future developments, such as electro-mobility. By mandating buildings’ ‘readiness’ for electric charging points, the new EPBD could enable EV owners to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) overnight at home and at the workplace, which in turn is crucial to satisfying the majority of consumers’ charging needs and to allowing the EV market to take off.

2017 is a key year for accelerating the rollout of electric recharging infrastructure across the EU. First and foremost, Member States are currently preparing for the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) Directive. The AFI Directive largely focuses on expanding numbers of- and ensuring interoperability between Europe’s publically accessible recharging points. The currently ongoing revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD), on the other hand, offers an important opportunity to advance the deployment of charging points in the private domain.

Interestingly, the Commission’s proposal for the revised EPBD introduces a new element in its Article 8, calling on Member States to install (pre-equipment for) charging points in new and substantially refurbished buildings. Retaining but also strengthening these provisions is key to addressing consumer anxieties with regards to EV range and equipping Europe’s buildings for the mobility system of tomorrow.

Buildings satisfy 90% of EV charging needs

In fact, normal power charging, from 3.7 to 22 kW[1], at home overnight or at the workplace, accounts for roughly 90% of the energy charged by an EV during its lifetime. As such, it meets the majority of EV charging needs. At the same time, it is important to take into account that only roughly 1% of the EU’s building stock is renewed each year, meaning that the scope of application of this provision would be minimal in practice. Bellona therefore strongly supports the inclusion of ambitious and practical provisions that will secure the necessary infrastructure to accommodate growing numbers of EVs in Europe.

When it comes to non-residential buildings, the EC proposal calls for charging points to be installed in one out of ten parking spaces in new and substantially refurbished buildings with more than ten parking spaces. The proposal also suggests that these charging points should be capable of ‘starting and stopping in reaction to price signals’ thus signalling their ability to charge intelligently.

EV smart charging a core component of smart buildings

While Bellona strongly supports equipping non-residential buildings with charging points, it is important to further elaborate their characteristics so as to ensure they are capable of charging intelligently in response to price signals and available grid capacity. By providing flexibility services to grid, while enabling significant energy and cost savings, smart charging is key to rendering EVs an asset to the electricity grid[2] (as opposed to yet another electric device to be plugged in and add further demand on the grid).

In addition to ensuring that one in ten parking spaces are equipped with EV charging points, Bellona supports the pre-equipment of all remaining parking spaces with conduits (also referred to as ducting infrastructure) to enable the installation of charging points, when there is the demand for these arises. Such as solution is future proof and cost-effective (amounting to roughly EUR 1/m).

ThinkstockPhotos-529978556 Credit: Think Stock Photos

In residential buildings, on the other hand, the proposal calls for pre-cabling (for the later installation of charge points) to be ensured on every parking space in new and substantially refurbished residential buildings with more than ten parking spaces. Here too, Bellona supports the more cost-effective solution (ducting infrastructure), while calling for its application to be extended to all new and substantially refurbished buildings.

In addition to residential and non-residential buildings, public parking lots represent another key ‘building category’ as per the definition of the EPBD, which deserve attention. In light of growing numbers of European cities pledging to phase out fossil cars by 2030 (or even 2025) and launching clean mobility initiatives to fight health-damaging air pollution levels, it is important to ensure public parking lots are equipped with the necessary infrastructure to adapt to these new realities and developments. Bellona would support ducting infrastructure to be equipped in new and substantially refurbished public parking lots.

Tackling the remaining 99%: Existing buildings

Last but not least, Bellona finds it crucial to address the remaining 99% of buildings (currently not covered in the scope of the Article), namely existing buildings. In the majority of EU countries today, EV owners living in shared apartment blocks face lengthy and burdensome permitting procedures if they wish to have an EV charge point installed. Some EU countries, including Spain and France, have already adopted buildings codes allowing for the simplification of permitting and approval procedures for owners and tenants. Inserting a similar provision within the EPBD would be key to having the rest of EU countries follow suit and empowering consumers.

Bellona has teamed up with another 26 organisations, within the Platform for Electro-Mobility, where Bellona has lead work on EV infrastructure, to advocate for the strengthening of these provisions and enable the wider uptake of electro-mobility Union-wide.

Negotiations are currently ongoing both within the Council (EU Member States) and European Parliament, with their official positions expected by June 2017.


[1] As per the definition of the AFI Directive;

[2] Platform for Electro-Mobility, Accelerating the deployment of an electric recharging infrastructure in Europe (November, 2016)

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