EU reaches deal on energy standards for buildings

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic gestures during a news conference on Clean Energy package in Brussels, Belgium November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Tuesday backed new rules on energy standards for all new public buildings in the 28-country bloc and improvements for existing buildings, which account for over a third of EU greenhouse gas and emissions.

The rules, proposed by the European Commission, are one of eight legislative packages aimed at ensuring the EU meets its climate goals.

The new rules aim to boost energy performance in new buildings and encourage renovations to adopt more efficient energy systems.

“The fight against climate change starts ‘at home’, given that over a third of EU’s emissions is produced by buildings. By renovating and making them smart, we are catching several birds with one stone – the energy bills, people’s health, and the environment,” Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said in a statement.

The new rules are part of a set of proposals to implement the bloc’s climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement to limit further global warming to no more than 2 degrees.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Larry King