Bulgaria: Higher minimum energy requirements for buildings


Kalin Bonev, Senior Associate

Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (the "Directive") obliges Member States to review the energy performance standards for buildings at intervals of no more than five years and, if necessary, update them to reflect the technical progress made in the building sector. Bulgaria is lagging behind its obligation to meet the energy goals set out in the Directive. To remedy this, a new Ordinance on the technical requirements for the energy performance of buildings (the "Ordinance") entered into force in November 2022, prescribing higher energy standards for buildings.


The Ordinance defines:

  • the energy performance indicators and the energy performance requirements for buildings;
  • the scale of energy consumption classes with numerical limits for different categories of building and the minimum energy efficiency requirements in accordance with the scale for the relevant category of building;
  • the national calculation methodology for assessing the energy performance of buildings; and
  • the energy efficiency requirements for building investment projects.


The new energy requirements

Under the previous regulation, new buildings had to meet a Class "B" standard. However, this energy standard is no longer effective in light of environmental considerations and technical progress. According to the Directive, Member States have to ensure that new buildings have near-zero energy consumption from 2021. As Bulgaria is behind schedule in complying with this requirement, the Ordinance implements this obligation and mandates that from January 2024 all new buildings must be designed to have near-zero energy consumption. To qualify as a near-zero energy consumption building, the building must meet Class "A" requirements and at least 55% of its energy consumption must come from renewable sources located on or near the building.

Existing buildings will also have to be refitted to move from Class C, as previously required, to Class B. Only if it is impossible to improve energy efficiency can the building remain in Class C.