National Council determines the Federal Energy Efficiency Law

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Due to the Energy Efficiency Law the European Unions’ purpose with regard to reducing energy consumption and eliminating energy waste, shall be implemented in Austria.[1] Because of the promotion of energy efficiency, the European Union promotes security of supply, competitiveness and the plan to achieve the obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on the climate change. To comply with the obligation of 2006 and to accomplish the purpose of energy efficiency in 2020 (e.g. saving 20 percent of the annual consumption of primary energy), minimum standards for the energy efficiency, rules for labeling of products, services and infrastructures should be established. On June, 11 of 2014 the Council of Ministers passed the government bill of the Federal Energy Efficiency Law which shall be the basis for cost-effective increase in the efficiency of energy use in businesses and in the federal government on the one hand, and the efficient reduction of energy consumption on the other hand.


What goals are to be realized in Austria?

Energy efficiency has in Austria a high priority:

Reducing demand for energy through meaningful use and by improving the efficiency of their use is in addition to the promotion of renewable energy sources and improving energy security one of the three main pillars of the Austrian energy policy.[2]

In addition to the balanced and coordinated active climate protection, especially renewable energy and the aspect of energy saving play an essential role. To promote renewable energy extensive, their share is expected to increase the total energy consumption. The share of renewable electricity should also experience an increase. Furthermore, a nationwide minimum supply is sought with alternative fuels and power stations. This is mainly due to thermal renovation of old buildings and increasing the proportion of so-called low-energy and passive houses in new buildings.

The Energy Efficiency Law aims for the optimization of the electricity and gas networks, and the renovation of residential and commercial buildings, as well as the obligation of utilities to increase efficiency measures.

Due to the current form of the Energy Efficiency Law the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)[3] can choose to take energy advice in the future and no longer have mandatory advice sessions. These voluntary energy advice works will be promoted with the help of incentive funding. In addition to such facilitations, the Energy Efficiency Act brings extensive obligations. So-called large companies[4] are legally obliged to introduce an energy management system or for carrying out energy audits. An energy audits as defined in § 5 Abs 1 Z 3 EEffG is

a systematic procedure [...] to obtain adequate knowledge of the existing energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, an operation in the industry and / or installation or of a private or public service, identify and quantify cost-effective energy savings and recording the results in a report.

Furthermore, energy suppliers have the statutory obligation to improve energy efficiency on their own – or other – end users. Finally, there is also an obligation for the federal government, in the form of perception of his role model, especially for the renovation of the Federal Buildings.

The basic idea of the Energy Efficiency Law is that the power companies (PSC) develop to energy services companies, and no longer devote themselves exclusively to the distribution of energy.

On 9 July 2014, the Federal Energy Efficiency Law was passed in the National Council by a two-thirds majority.


Inform yourself which obligations will arise from the future law and how to be best prepared as a company.


[1] Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC, Energy Services Directive 2006/32/EC, as well as Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU)

[2] 182 of the appendices of the stenographic protocols of the National Assembly XXV., elucidations of the government bill, page 1.

[3] The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million.

[4] These are companies that are not small and medium businesses.