The European Commission and the case of Austria and Poland in the European Court for their Failure to Achieve Energy Efficiency in Buildings.

The European Commission has charged Austria and Poland in the European Courts of Justice for the incomplete transposition of the directive on buildings´ energy performance. By referring to this directive, member states of the Union are expected to establish and to apply standards of energy performance for buildings, ensure the building energy performance certification and impose regular inspections of heating and air conditioning systems. This directive also imposes on member states to ensure that by 2021 all new buildings are neutral in energy. It has to be implemented in national law by July 9, 2012.

By bringing these member states in front of the Court, the European Commission proposed a daily penalty of €96,720 for Poland and €39,592 for Austria. The level of this penalty was determined by taking into account the offence duration and gravity.  In the case of a favourable judgment from the Court, the daily amount will be paid from the date of the judgment until the day the transposition is made. The final amount of the daily penalty will be determined by the Court.

Buildings have a significant impact on long-term energy consumption. The established directive provides rules that help consumers to know the energy consumption of the house they intend to buy, rent or built. This directive gives the right for consumers to receive advice on profitable ways to reduce their energy consumption.

The directive 2010/31/EU imposes requirements regarding minimal energy efficiency which are estimated by member states in accordance with its requirements. Imposing these requirements to the field of real estate develops a more environmentally respectful market on one hand, and on the other helps the renovation of old buildings become more energy neutral.

The European Commission gave Poland and Austria a letter of formal notice about the non- transposition of directive 2010/31/UE in September 2012. Finland and Belgium are being brought to the court for the same reason. Until today, neither Poland, nor Austria had respected the directive, especially in term of certification and performances requirements. For the same reason, the Commission is taking a look at the cases of Slovenia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, and Luxembourg – where some gaps in the implementation of the directive have been noted.