The European Union (EU) has introduced and implemented numerous policies and supporting legislations to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy import dependency and move towards a secure, competitive and sustainable energy system for serving people and protecting the environment. The EU is also at the forefront of developed nations that have committed to support the United Nations efforts to address climate change, aiming to be the first continent to reach a decarbonized economy by 2050.
This paper captures the main EU efforts, instruments, regulations and directives related to the built environment that have been introduced and are currently in place for reaching the near- and short-term energy and environmental targets. This overview is quantified with relevant data and key performance indicators that reflect the past trends and current status for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, use of renewables and energy efficiency, along with the near- and long-term targets. Currently, European buildings use 375 Mtoe or about 40% of the total final energy consumption in EU-27 and contribute with 951 MtCO2-eq greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or about 24% of the total GHG emissions in Europe. This information marks the starting point for the race to transform European buildings so that they become part of the solution and to support the efforts towards a decarbonized building stock by 2050.


Mechanical engineer, research director at the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, in the National Observatory of Athens, Greece. Over 30 years of professional experience and R&D in the area of Renewable Energy Sources -Energy Conservation. Active in the areas of high performance sustainable buildings and decarbonization, sustainability assessment of buildings-neighborhoods-cities, thermal and solar applications, building energy audits-diagnosis and retrofitting, environmental impact of buildings, solar air-conditioning. Instrumental in the national EPBD transposition efforts. Current group activities focus on building typologies (TABULA & EPISCOPE) and Hellenic building stock analysis prioritizing refurbishment actions, collection of real energy consumption data from dwellings and behavioral role of occupants, sustainable neighborhoods and cities, decarbonization of buildings, operational and embodied energy/carbon intensities. Participated in over 60 R&D and demonstration projects financed by the European Commission, national ministries and organizations, and the private sector, with his research resulting in over 350 archival journal papers, books and conference proceedings. Served on ASHRAE Board of Directors as DAL (2007-10), Society Vice President (2011-13), and DRC Region XIV – Europe (2017-20), and serves on several Standards and Technical Committees. ASHRAE Fellow, recipient of ASHRAE Exceptional Service Award (ESA), ASHRAE John F. James International Award, ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award (DSA). Member of the Hellenic Technical Chamber as a Professional Engineer.