The revision of the European energy performance of buildings directive that the European Parliament is about to discuss and approve is a great opportunity for the country. It is a tool to zero out building emissions, increase energy savings, and improve living and working conditions.

There are evident weaknesses, but they are overcome. It therefore makes no sense to oppose it. EU countries should instead hasten to submit proposals that facilitate and accelerate its implementation in a housing context that is often complicated and different from region to region.


The Green Homes Directive is a proposed revision (June 2021) by the European Commission of a previous Directive on energy performance in construction.

It is part of the European reforms package Ready for 55% that defines the vision for a zero-emission real estate park by 2050. It is a fundamental component of the restructuring strategy (October 2020) and is connected to the REPowerEU energy plan (May 2021).

Beyond the weaknesses, this is not a law designed by the evil Brussels DeepState against defenseless Italian citizens. On the contrary, it is a broad legislative package that responds to a well-defined strategy for zeroing out emissions and energy savings.

It is not a novelty as those who oppose it want us to believe, but it is the fundamental step in a modernization process of the countries of the Union. If this is the reaction, it can be concluded that either they have been neglectful for years to our detriment, or they are in bad faith for some reason. Certainly, they are hostile to change.


Politics that work for citizens should commit to facilitating change through the now famous transition process. In other words, politics and politicians are here to accompany citizens through change through rules. These are indeed a mediation because they must respond to the needs and desires of many different citizens.

In a context of great European diversity, making rules is indeed very complicated. If the inhabitants of a country feel that they are losing out compared to their counterparts in other regions of the EU, it is because their representatives are often absent. And they only show up after the fact, not to apologize but to fan the anger of citizens who are scared of the novelty. If the Directive were well negotiated (by our representatives) in the next institutional steps in Brussels and then in the implementation phase in Rome, it would be an extraordinary opportunity to requalify the building structure of our country.

It means zeroing out emissions, reducing energy costs, and above all improving living conditions (also working). The latter factor or gain is less considered but has a very important impact in terms of physical and mental health, productivity, but more generally quality of life.

The Directive has many weaknesses. It could not be otherwise for such a broad and complex initiative. But these weaknesses must be tackled head-on and overcome. And the EU countries are well equipped to do so, especially if they work together.

The Green Homes Directive is not a threat but a challenge, and a great opportunity for our country. Let us seize it, not flee from it.

  • Urban Planning

Ignores the cultural, geographical and historical peculiarities of a country, where many buildings are constructed in such a way that any intervention is hardly imaginable.

In some areas, such as large cities or extensive countries, intervention is certainly easier, but in the historic centers of villages and built-up areas on hills and hilltops, extraordinary efforts will be required. Nothing is impossible if there is the will and organizational ability. Countries with a more diffuse urban structure with a lower population density (northern European countries) or that follow functional logic (Eastern Europe) have an easier time.

  • Small Property Owners Don’t Invest

In this context of complexity, some regions, including the so-called PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain), differ from many European countries in the dynamics of property manifestation.

In Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian countries, you are often the owner of the space while the walls belong to companies or consortia. In Italy, it is exactly the opposite, with the consequences we know. Restructuring becomes complicated because the majority of owners must be in agreement.

  • Clientele and Dwarf Enterprises

The organizational structure of construction companies and the technical expertise of many professionals and builders could be another problem. The technologies and construction techniques are there, but as many recent tragedies demonstrate, human resources often lack or tend to prevail over clientelary interests. This Directive is therefore an opportunity for renewal of our professional fabric in the construction sector.


The invitation is therefore to consider and discuss the possible shortcomings to overcome them both in the current European discussion phase and in the Italian implementation of the Directive. If associated with a plan of incentives or better tax relief, Europe could transition into the future that is already present.


Image credit: courtesy of Yann Bastard for the NYT >>>

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