The Baltic Course  

Implementation of the SAVE Directive and the Energy Performance Directive in Latvia

Being part of the overall EU accession process the Latvian energy sector has to comply with the relevant EU legislation. This involves implementation of EU Directives in the Latvian legislation.

Two of them:

  1. European Council Directive 93/76/EEC of 13 September 1993 to limit carbon dioxide emissions by improving energy efficiency (SAVE)
  2. Directive 2002/91/EC of 16 December 2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Energy Performance of Buildingswill be binding to the Latvian energy sector.

The objective of the SAVE Directive is to limit carbon dioxide emissions by improving the energy efficiency, i.e. by means of drawing up and implementing programs in 6 different fields. As the SAVE Directive has a character of “a framework directive” or “a statement of intention” where the Directive is considered as permissive, e.g. present member states of EU are invited to elaborate and implement various programs which can ensure the saving of energy resources but the exact indications how to implement these programs is missing in the SAVE directive, therefore it was necessary to elaborate an additional legal instrument - the Energy Performance Directive, based on the Danish mandatory scheme of buildings energy audit, that obliges each EU member state to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings, taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-effectiveness. The following requirements as regards are laid down in the Energy Performance Directive:

  • the general framework for a methodology of calculation of the integrated energy performance of buildings
  • the application of minimum requirements on the energy performance of new buildings
  • the application of minimum requirements of the energy performance of large buildings that are subject to major renovation
  • energy certification of buildings in case of sale, rental or new construction
  • placing the energy certificate and a sign in a public location in larger buildings with public access.

The Energy Performance Directive further sets up requirements for inspections of boilers and air-conditioning systems:

  • boilers of more than 100 kW effective outputs must be inspected every 2 years. This requirement will apply to a larger number of industrial boilers and district heating boilers.
  • Heating installation with boilers of more than 20 kW output and older than 15 years shall undergo a one-off inspection concerning the optimization of total heating system. This requirement will apply to a large number district heating systems in Latvia. Meeting the requirements may cause serious problems especially in the rural areas.
  • Inspection of air-conditioning systems with an effect of more than 12 kW.

Additionally the Directives stresses that the billing of energy consumption should be based on the actual and measured consumption.

The above mentioned demands to EU member states are only an excerpt from the Directive. Joining the EU, it will be necessary for Latvia to elaborate the normative and administrative acts to comply with requirements of the Energy Performance Directive by 4 January 2006. But the implementation of the Directive’s chapters 7, 8 and 9 concerning energy performance certificate, boiler inspection and inspection of air-conditioning systems accordingly will be possible to delay until the beginning of 2009. The requirements of the Directive are mandatory to each EU member state but each country can make improvements in the national legislation in order to strengthen the energy performance in the all types of buildings.

The Danish government - the initiators and supporters of the project, have divided the implementation process of the Directives into two projects. The difference between the process is determined by different types of buildings/constructions – residential buildings and industrial buildings. The concept document for the energy performance in the residential buildings is already elaborated and now this document passes the “labyrinths” of the governmental institutions to be adopted but Carl Bro SIA with Car Bro a/s (Denmark), Energy Department of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Latvia, Energy Department of the Latvian Development Agency and the Danish Energy Authority works on the implementation process of the Energy Performance Directive for the industrial buildings. During the implementation process the SAVE directive is taken into account as well. The current status of the project is the work on the gap analysis. The ongoing project concerning the implementation of the Energy Performance Directive in Latvia is funded by the Danish government in accordance with the bilateral

agreement between the Danish Ministry of Economy and the Latvian Ministry of Economy. The objective of the implementation process of the Directives is to harmonize Latvian legislation in energy sector with the EU requirements as set in the SAVE Directive (articles 4,6,7,8) and in the Energy Performance Directive. In the first part of the implementation process of the Directive the concept document will be elaborated and submitted to the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy. The concept document will give the exact information and will help to recognize the barriers and impending factors that do not allow implementation the above mentioned Directives. The concept document will contain information on institutional, financial and legal gaps. Draft of new legal documents will be elaborated on the basis of existing legal and system gaps. It will ensure the effective and economical use of energy resources in a mandatory way.

The efficient use of resources of energy what causes the material wealth to the customer as well as diminished discharges of heat pollution are not the myth. Latvia has an enormous potential to save energy resources. The specific primary energy consumption for production of the gross product of 1000 USD in 1997 in Latvia was 0.41 tonnes oil equivalent while this figure in e.g. Denmark, Germany and Sweden was 0.18, 0.24 and 0.33 accordingly. The high energy consumption per capita and per GDP creates several problems:

  • high energy costs which harm the living standards for the citizens and the competitiveness for the business sector
  • negative impact on the environment – and as a part hereof – global environment
  • weaker security of energy supply
  • a worsening of the technical conditions of the buildings and a shortening of the lifetime of the buildings.

By implementing at least few energy efficiency measures, e.g., reconstruction of the house’s heating system, insulation of the side walls and frontal walls of the buildings give remarkable energy savings. It was shown by all Latvian pilot energy saving projects. The expenses for the consumed energy can be saved additionally if inhabitants could regulate heat and hot water supply independently as it is indicated in the Energy Performance Directive. As the implementation of the metering system of energy consumption is very expensive, it is very important to receive the financial support from the state – e.g. the state could subsidize the expenses at least partly, for the improving of the energy efficiency. As it is expected that the charges for the improvement of the energy efficiency in residential, public or industrial buildings will be quite high as well as the payback time of the credits will be several years and therefore part of the energy customers will have no financial possibilities to cover the above mentioned expenses. The very first investments in the energy efficiency programs are long-term investments and in the future the energy consumption will be cost effective. But the long-term investments in the industrial sector with the aim to diminish expenses for the energy consumption can reduce price for ready made production and gradually can diminish the discharge of heat energy and carbon dioxide in the environment thus demonstrating Latvia’s understanding of the principle - think globally, act locally.