First adopted in 2012, the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) was updated in 2018 and then again in 2023 with Directive (EU) 2023/1791.1 The latest update was done to ensure that the EU’s 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 (compared to 1990 levels) can be met, proving that energy efficiency plays a key role in reducing energy consumption. It must be noted that Member States failed to meet the voluntary energy efficiency targets from the last revision, to this end, several elements of the revised EED are no longer voluntary, but obligatory.

The EED lays down rules designed to implement energy efficiency as a priority across all sectors, as well as providing indicative national energy efficiency contributions for 2030. As all EU legislation, the EED lays down minimum requirements, Member States are therefore not prevented from introducing more stringent measures.

In addition, the EED introduces the concept of “Energy Efficiency First” (EEF principle), whereby Member States must ensure that demand-side resources and system flexibilities are assessed in the planning, policy, and major investment decisions that cost over €100 million. In applying the EEF principle, Member States must develop cost-effective methodologies that assess energy efficiency solutions, address the impact on energy poverty, identify the entities responsible for monitoring the application of the EEF principle, and report to the Commission how such principle is taken into account in national, regional and local planning through their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).

Moreover, according to the EED requirements, Member States must collectively ensure a reduction of energy consumption of at least 11.7% in 2030.2 Each Member State must set an indicative national energy efficiency contribution based on final energy consumption to meet the collective target. This must be achieved by leading by example, therefore the total final energy consumption of all national public bodies (combined) must be reduced by 1.9%/year (compared to 2021). In addition, they must renovate 3% of the total floor area for heating and cooling in public buildings per year, to transform them into a Zero Emission Building (ZEB).
The Commission assesses whether each Member States’ plan adequately contributes to the collective energy reduction target. If a Member State contribution is deemed insufficient, the Commission will set a corrective national energy efficiency contribution, known as the “gap avoiding mechanism”.

Regarding heating and cooling (H&C), every district heating and cooling system must equip final customers with a competitively priced meter that reflects their energy consumption. This billing and consumption information must be reliable, accurate, based on actual consumption, and available to the customer.

In this briefing, analyses the relevant provisions for energy communities in the revised EED and shares recommendations for the national and EU level.