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EU Energy Efficiency Directive – lessons learnt & future challenges before 2nd round of audits

The EU Energy Efficiency Directive came into force throughout the EU in 2012. This requires all large companies to have a high quality energy audit every four years. The Directive only applies to companies with more than 250 staff and its aim is to identify energy saving opportunities which can be easily done by an energy audit.

EU directives allow for each member state to decide how to implement. For the EU Energy Efficiency Directive this can result in significant differences and difficulties when carrying out audits for EU multinationals.

Lessons Learnt from first round

Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive prescribes mandatory energy audits (EAs) for large enterprises. The first round of this regulation was closed by the end of 2015. It has proven to be a good catalyst for making large enterprises focus on their energy consumption, greenhouse gas emission footprint and the multiple benefits of energy efficiency.

An estimated 80,000 audits will have been executed in the framework of this first round in the EU28, resulting in an extensive database of the energy consumption patterns in large enterprises. The regulation was enforced within a short timeframe, which had the advantage to speed-up the process.

Room for Improvement

As a result of this, however, the implementation of the regulation still has ample room for improvement.

In order to unlock the true potential of this policy instrument, best practices should be harmonized among the Member States before the start of the second round of energy audits, which is due for the end of 2019. DG Energy of the European Commission is working on the implementation of the guidelines and welcomes input from Member States and industry associations on how to improve the impact and cost-effectiveness of the mandatory audits.

CEN and CENELEC hold the mandate to develop energy audit standards that provide the minimum requirements for compliance with Article 8, and is in this way, they are directly involved in the regulatory process. ECI recently started the multi-partner, multi-channel initiative ‘DecarbEurope’ to unite against climate change, with Energy Management as one of its key chapters.

The discussion in the framework of EUSEW17 that was organized by CEN, CENELEC and ECI resulted in a list of recommendations. One of the key messages claims that the

EC should intend to change the image of this regulation from “yet another European obligation” to an initiative that serves as a de-risking tool for financing energy efficiency investments. Indeed, the energy efficiency audit effectively creates value, as it assesses the energy and cost savings that would derive from energy efficiency investments, enabling in this way to attract the necessary private financial resources. By measuring the actual energy savings after the EE investments have been realized, this value is then turned into cash flow. Making enterprises look at the energy audits this way could increase their motivation to get the most out of their efforts.

Energy Savings

By implementing the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, it is possible to identify real and practical energy savings i.e.

  • Chain of stores with manufacturing plant. Compressed air and process cooling savings with paybacks of less than 9 months
  • Chilled food distributor. Heating and chilling savings with paybacks of less than 4 months
  • Pharmaceutical manufacture. AHU and lighting savings with paybacks of less than one year.
  • Electricity generator with heating and lighting savings with paybacks of less than 6 months.


Verde Environmental Consultants can help improve our client’s financial metrics by eliminating costs associated with energy by: (a) buying your energy more effectively and (b) helping you use your energy more efficiently. We have delivered bottom-line benefits to a wide range of clients, managing energy and utility spend for companies of all sizes – across many sectors.

Whether you want help with developing risk management strategies, portfolio management, carbon emissions reduction, reporting, forecasting or energy contract management, you can rely on us.  Our suite of integrated energy services delivers added value to our clients by helping them use energy more effectively, sustainably and, most importantly, profitably.

  • Energy Auditing 
  • Energy Management 
  • Energy Bureau Services
  • Energy Procurement 
  • Energy Market Analysis
  • Energy Project  Design & Implementation