EC buildings guidelines recommend cycling provision

New guidance published by the European Commission under the Energy Efficiency First Principle has given warm words for cycling provision as part of adapted recommendations on buildings construction.

Though the guidelines are not compulsory, they are used as an up to date reference in construction, prompting builders to consider working towards maximum energy efficiency. The European Cyclists Federation, which spotted the Commission’s publication, says that the goal to shoot for next is to set the inclusion of cycling as a primary transport form for residents into stone by building active travel provision into the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

There have been several signals in the construction world that promoting cycle use over private car ownership may come to be a preference as populations squeeze into cities. In a deal with Spanish cycle brand Orbea, one developer is offering residents free electric bike access as part of a move to encourage residents not to fill up limited car parking.

The guidelines’ sentiment for cycling centres around provision of both secure bicycle parking facilities, as well as charge points in range of some in order to satisfy the requirements of those choosing to ride an electric bicycle. Recommended explicitly are measures to support (such as infrastructure), the promotion of ‘low-weight’ zero-emissions vehicles with incentives offered to purchase these and to have in place a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan that takes into account energy consumption at the planning stage.

The European Commission’s hurdle to overcome is a reduction of greenhouse gases, of which buildings are said to require around 40% of total energy, which equates to 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, reducing transport emissions is a pressing issue and road-based travel makes up three quarters of emissions.

The ECF wrote on the next step for a binding directive: “The recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EU) 2018/844, expected to be published in December 2021, is an excellent opportunity and hence will serve as a litmus test. ECF wants to see clear requirements included to provide bike parking and e-bike charging points in all new, refurbished, and where feasible, existing residential and non-residential buildings. The bicycle must not be left out.”