NZEB Buildings: Romania Aligning to the EU’s Ambitious Target

The ambitious target of the European Commission requires all new buildings to be zero-emission by 2030 and achieve a decarbonised building stock by 2050.

According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, EU countries had to ensure that all new buildings were nearly zero-energy (NZEB) by the end of 2020, while all new public buildings had to be nearly zero-energy after 31 December 2018. Moreover, the European Commission’s proposal to revise the Directive (December 2021) made a step forward from current NZEB to zero-emission building (ZEB), aligning the energy performance requirement for new buildings to the longer-term climate neutrality goal and “energy efficiency first principle”. The ZEB requirement should apply as of 1 January 2030 to all new buildings and as of 1 January 2027 to all new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities.

In this context, the Romania Eficienta programme was created in Romania, the largest private project of national public interest to promote energy efficiency, developed by Energy Policy Group (EPG) and supported by OMV Petrom. The project, which started in the summer of 2019, is a multi-year national programme to promote energy efficiency and supports Romania’s 2030 targets for reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency.

Under the programme, two educational establishments in Prahova County have already been brought up to NZEB standard – the ‘Elie Radu’ Technological Energy High School in Ploiesti (in 2022) and the ‘Liliesti’ Secondary School (in March 2023).

“We are once again glad to see a gem, because we should not shy away from epithets when they are justified. The building not only looks good but is much more efficient. The important thing is that we have reached this point where we can all speak of a success. Prahova County is the first beneficiary of our programme so far; the next steps will be in other counties. The confidence that our programme, Romania Eficienta, has aroused, the visibility we have, the reputation we have acquired in the eyes of experts and the general public give us all the confidence that we are on the right track,” said Radu Dudau, President of Energy Policy Group and coordinator of the Romania Eficienta programme, at the school’s inauguration event.

As the largest player in the Romanian energy market, OMV Petrom supports the ‘Romania Eficienta’ programme, which promotes energy efficiency at national level through public information campaigns, educational programmes and financing projects to improve energy efficiency in public buildings.

The project has two major dimensions: on the one hand, there is the public information, education and awareness part and, on the other hand, the execution of thorough renovation works to NZEB standards in educational establishments in Romania.

As Christina Verchere, CEO of OMV Petrom, pointed out, “for a sustainable energy future it is important to consume responsibly and efficiently; that is the purpose of this programme, to show how we can all, through energy efficiency, eliminate waste and contribute to a cleaner environment”.

The investments carried out by Romania Eficienta will continue with two other educational establishments, in Ovidiu (Constanta County) and Drobeta-Turnu Severin (Mehedinti County). They will be rehabilitated and upgraded to NZEB requirements through a new phase of the Romania Eficienta programme, worth €4 million, supported by OMV Petrom.

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