Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- September 17, 2012 - The European parliament last week adopted the new Energy Efficiency Directive, which sets out legally binding measures for member states to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain.

This follows the political agreement on the draft Directive that was reached between the European Parliament and the Council in June 2012.

Now the Directive goes to the Council for voting in early October, after which there will be the signature of the Directive and its publication in the Official Journal. Then 20 days after its publication, the Directive will enter into force.

Among the measures in the Directive, member states will be obliged to set an indicative national energy efficiency target, based on either primary or final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity. By June 30, 2014, the Commission will assess the progress achieved and whether the Union is likely to achieve energy consumption of no more than 1,474 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 1,078 Mtoe of final energy in 2020.

Member states will also have to ensure that as from January 1, 2014, 3 percent of the total floor area of heated and/or cooled buildings owned by their central government is renovated each year.

They will also be required to establish a long term strategy for mobilising investment in the renovation of residential and commercial buildings, both public and private, and to set up an energy efficiency obligation scheme for energy distributors and retail energy sales companies.

Large enterprises will become subject to an energy audit, and final customers will be required to be billed on actual consumption at least once per year.

Efficiency in heating and cooling is also promoted. By the end of 2015 member states will be required to carry out an assessment of the potential for the application of high efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling.