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The European Commisions "Energy Efficiency Directive"

The annual electricity consumption of fluorescent lamps without integrated ballasts and high-intensity discharge lamps is extremely high in the European Union (EU). It is predicted to increase to 260 TWh in 2020, according to European Commission estimates. This consumption is at the heart of several environmental issues such as the increase in CO2 emissions. Moreover, the inappropriate outdoor use of these lamps increases both light pollution and the energy consumption of lighting. This Regulation therefore sets ecodesign requirements for these products with a view to reducing their environmental impact.


The EU is aiming for a 20% cut in Europe's annual primary energy consumption by 2020. The Commission has proposed several measures to increase efficiency at all stages of the energy chain: generation, transformation, distribution and final consumption.

The measures focus on the public transport and building sectors, where the potential for savings is greatest. Other measures include the introduction of smart meters (which encourage consumers to manage their energy use better), and clearer product labelling.


Based upon this a new Directive entered into force on 4 December 2012, where most of its provisions had to be implemented by the Member States by 5 June 2014.


An effective common framework

This Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the Union’s 2020 20 % headline target on energy efficiency and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date.

All EU-28 countries are thus required to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption. The new Directive will help remove barriers and overcome market failures that impede efficiency in the supply and use of energy and provides for the establishment of indicative national energy efficiency targets for 2020.


New measures include:
  • The legal definition and quantification of the EU energy efficiency target as the ''Union's 2020 energy consumption of no more than 1 474 Mtoe primary energy or no more than 1 078 Mtoe of final energy''. With the accession of Croatia the target was revised to "1 483 Mtoe primary energy or no more than 1 086 Mtoe of final energy''.

  • The obligation on each Member State to set an indicative national energy efficiency target in the form they prefer (e.g. primary/final savings, intensity, consumption) and, by 30 April 2013, to notify it together with its 'translation' in terms of an absolute level of primary energy consumption and final energy consumption in 2020.

  • The obligation on Member States to achieve certain amount of final energy savings over the obligation period (01 January 2014 – 31 December 2020) by using energy efficiency obligations schemes or other targeted policy measures to drive energy efficiency improvements in households, industries and transport sectors;

  • 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.

  • The obligation for large enterprises to carry out an energy audit at least every four years, with a first energy audit at the latest by 5 December 2015. Incentives for SMEs to undergo energy audits to help them identify the potential for reduced energy consumption.

  • Public sector to lead by example by renovating 3% of buildings owned and occupied by the central governments starting from 01 January 2014 and by including energy efficiency considerations in public procurement – insofar as certain conditions are met (e.g. cost-effectiveness, economic feasibility) – so as to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services.

  • Efficiency in energy generation: monitoring of efficiency levels of new energy generation capacities, national assessments for co-generation and district heating potential and measures for its uptake to be developed by 31 December 2015, including recovery of waste heat, demand side resources to be encouraged.

  • Commission Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency

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