1. Primary Energy Efficiency Law

Austria, as a Member State of the European Union, must transpose Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC into national law (Section 3 EEffG). Accordingly, the Federal Energy Efficiency Act (Bundes- Energieeffizienzgesetz, "EEffG") implements the Directive.

On 9 July 2014, the Austrian National Council (Nationalrat) adopted the EEffG with the required constitutional majority as several provisions have constitutional status (Verfassungsrang). Consequently, certain parts of the EEffG entered into force one (1) day after the announcement in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) on 11 August 2014. The provisions regarding the energy efficiency of the Federal State already entered into force on 1 January 2014 and the remaining provisions finally entered into force on 1 January 2015 (Article 33 EEffG).

The EEffG not only aims at transposing the aforementioned Directive and achieving the objectives specified therein, but also contributes indirectly to reducing future energy consumption by: (i) strengthening the supply reliability; (ii) promoting renewable energy; (iii) achieving targets regarding

greenhouse gas emissions; and (iv) strengthening and stimulating competition (Explanatory Notes to Article 2 EEffG). Final energy consumption shall not exceed 1,050 PJ in the year 2020 (Article 4 Paragraph 1 Item 1 EEffG). In addition, the EEffG sets a national cumulative energy efficiency target of

310 PJ (Article 4 Paragraph 1 Item 3 EEffG).


For reasons related to Austrian competences, the EEffG stipulates that remittal, amendment, abrogation and enforcement of provisions as contained in the EEffG are also within the responsibility of the Federal State, even though the Federal Constitution Act (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) stipulates otherwise (Article 1 EEffG).

Directive 2012/27/EU establishes an annual energy efficiency savings target between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2020 equivalent to one point five percent (1.5%). Accordingly, Directive 2012/27/EU sets a mandatory cumulative energy efficiency target for Austria in the amount of 218 PJ as a minimum requirement (Mindestvorgabe). In fact – as a measure of self-commitment (Selbstbindungsmaßnahme) – Austria set a higher national cumulative energy efficiency target of 310 PJ.

The core content of the EEffG is the following:

-Austria commits itself to achieving a cumulative energy efficiency target in the amount of 310 PJ, reached by supplier obligations in the amount of 159 PJ and strategic energy efficiency measures in the amount of 151 PJ, and correspondingly, an energy efficiency consumption target in the amount of 1,050 PJ in the year 2020.

-The EEffG includes a variety of energy efficiency obligations for energy suppliers, large (energy consuming) enterprises and the Federal State to ensure the achievement of the target.

-As an alternative to the implementation of energy efficiency measures, energy suppliers may pay a rate of compensation;

-large enterprises must conduct mandatory periodical energy audits or implement energy management systems; and

-an annual renovation rate of three percent (3%) (Sanierungsquote) must be fulfilled by means of energy savings contracting, energy management measures and renovation measures.

-In order to coordinate and monitor energy efficiency measures a national monitoring body (the Austrian Energy Agency) was established. This Agency assists the obliged enterprises regarding energy efficiency and coordinates the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the annual progress reports (Fortschrittsberichte).

-The use of energy audits or energy management systems for enterprises is to be promoted.

Austrian National Energy Efficiency Action Plan ("NEEAP") of 2014

Due to the reporting obligation, Austria was required to submit the first NEEAP to the European Commission in 2014. The NEEAP particularly focuses on strategic measures to implement Directive 2012/27/EU. The annual Austrian progress report is part of the NEEAP, representing Annex A.


2012/27/EU which allows combining obligation schemes with alternative policy measures. Moreover, Austria reduced the amount of the energy savings target (i.e. one point five percent (1.5%)) by so-called "early actions" which are eligible advance savings from the past, leading to an adjusted target of one point Austria chose an energy efficiency obligation scheme pursuant to Article 7 Paragraph 9 of Directive one two five percent (1.125%). Energy efficiency information is offered by several organisations in Austria. Accordingly, the Austrian Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKO) offers information about the implementation of energy audits and the use of energy management systems.

Austria opted to take policy measures (e.g. energy taxation) and energy efficiency obligations to achieve total annual savings in the amount of 29,898 terajoule for the year 2014.

Regarding energy efficiency obligations, the EEffG distinguishes between obligations for energy suppliers, enterprises and the Federal State. Non-compliance with the provisions of the EEffG is subject to administrative fines of up to EUR 100,000 (Article 31 EEffG). Such fines may primarily be imposed upon the statutory representatives of legal entities. The appointment of responsible representatives (verantwortliche Beauftragte) leads to a limitation of responsibility of statutory representatives (Article 9 Paragraph 2 Administrative Criminal Procedure Act).

Obligations for energy suppliers

Energy suppliers sell energy to end-consumers against payment. When exceeding the legally stated minimum quantity of sales of relevant energy (i.e. 25 GWh), energy suppliers must provide evidence of energy efficiency measures in Austria undertaken at their own enterprise, at their own end-consumers or at other end-consumers. Measures must be equivalent to at least zero point six percent (0.6%) of energy sales of the previous year to Austrian end-consumers. Accordingly, energy savings in this amount must be achieved. Regarding the 25 GWh threshold, the principle of group-wide aggregation (Prinzip der konzernweiten Zusammenrechnung) applies. Specific conditions apply to energy suppliers who have concluded a sector obligation (Branchenverpflichtung), allowing them to coordinate and fulfil the obligation collectively.

It is decisive that the measures taken improve the input-output ratio (e.g. of a certain process or device) and are attributable to the specific energy supplier by evidence. However, an actual reduction of energy consumption is not required. Furthermore, a considerable percentage of forty percent (40%) of measures must be implemented for private households or the public transport system. The assessment of energy efficiency measures is determined in the Energy Efficiency Guidelines Regulation (Energieeffizienz- Richtlinienverordnung). Instead of the implementation of measures, energy suppliers may make compensation payments of twenty (20) cents per kWh with discharging effect. The fulfilment of the obligation for energy suppliers is monitored by the Austrian energy efficiency monitoring body to ensure compliance with the EEffG.

Obligations for enterprises

Large (energy consuming) enterprises shall either implement energy audits or use energy management systems. By law, small and medium-sized enterprises are exempted from the obligation to obtain energy audits or introduce management systems. They may voluntarily use energy consulting (Article 9 Paragraph 3 EEffG).

Obligations for the Federal State

The Federal State shall fulfil an annual renovation rate in the amount of three percent (3%) of relevant public buildings.

Energy Efficiency Monitoring Body

The Austrian Energy Agency acts as the national energy efficiency monitoring body. It has been appointed to carry out the implementation of Directive 2012/27/EU in Austria. The Energy Efficiency Guidelines Regulation entered into force on 1 January 2016. It sets provisions regarding the activities of the Austrian Energy Agency and lays out the essential provisions for enforcing the EEffG.


To achieve energy efficiency, Austria chose an energy efficiency obligation scheme also including various policy measures. Obliged parties face different forms of obligations. Energy suppliers have several options to fulfil their obligations: (i) to take energy efficiency measures themselves; (ii) to contractually transfer the obligation to third parties; (iii) to transfer the obligation to third parties after calls for tenders; or (iv) to make compensation payments. The Austrian Energy Agency has the task of monitoring the fulfilment of these obligations.

In Austria, all large enterprises must implement an energy audit. By law, large enterprises are enterprises that are neither small nor medium-sized enterprises. If an enterprise employs more than 249 people, it directly qualifies as a large enterprise. If an enterprise employs 249 people or less, additional thresholds have to be exceeded to qualify as a large enterprise. Therefore, the turnover threshold (i.e. EUR 50 million) and the balance sheet total threshold (i.e. EUR 43 million) have to be exceeded. Consuming enterprises (verbrauchende Unternehmen) operating in Austria which are more than fifty percent (50%) owned by the parent company are in any case attributable to the parent. Consequently, the whole group is decisive for the calculation of these thresholds.

Large enterprises must implement energy audits or use a certified energy or environmental management system (ISO 50001, ÖNORM EN 16001 or ISO 14000) or an equivalent nationally recognised management system. Management systems have to include an internal or external energy audit (Article 9 Paragraph 2 EEffG). In case of multinational companies, the parent company is – regarding those parts of the company situated in Austria – responsible for compliance with the EEffG. Therefore, it may be the case that a parent company is responsible for complying with the EEffG even though it does not operate in Austria.

The EEffG defines qualification requirements for energy auditors and guidelines for the implementation of energy audits. Energy audits are defined as a systematic procedure with the purpose of: (i) obtaining adequate knowledge of the existing energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, an industrial or commercial operation or installation or a private or public service; (ii) identifying and quantifying cost-effective energy savings opportunities; and (iii) reporting the findings thereof (Article 5 Paragraph 1 Item 3 EEffG). By law, external energy audits have to be conducted every four (4) years.

Energy audits analyse energy consumption in order to suggest measures to improve energy efficiency. Audits have to fulfil minimum requirements set out in Annex III of the EEffG. In particular, energy audits must include the three relevant energy consumption areas (i.e. buildings, processes and vehicles) if, in each case, they amount to at least ten percent (10%) of the total Austrian energy consumption of the entire enterprise or whole group. Consequently, if the energy consumption of one of the three areas does not exceed the ten percent (10%) threshold, the energy audit need not include this specific area. However, if the threshold is exceeded, an audit must be conducted for all sites of the group, even though the threshold may not be exceeded by individual enterprises.


klima:aktiv is the active climate protection initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft, BMLFUW). As part of the Austrian climate strategy, one of the aims of the programme is to support energy efficiency by offering different types of funding. Other well-known programmes and institutions (e.g. Energieinstitut der Wirtschaft) also promote energy efficiency in Austria.


The Austrian EEffG defines large enterprises according to the definition used in Directive 2012/27/EU. Regarding multi-national companies, it is important to note that only company parts operating in Austria are decisive. However, it should be considered that foreign parent companies may be responsible for conducting energy audits for Austrian subsidiaries.

Building renovation strategy in Austria

The Austrian building and housing stock is part of the NEEAP and outlined in detail in Annex B. Accordingly, the Austrian federal provinces (Bundesländer) significantly contribute to building renovation by means of residential building subsidies (Wohnbauförderung) for energy savings measures. A calculation based on the national building stock evidences potential savings in heating and hot water in the amount of 2,185 GWh/a in residential buildings and 1,130 GWh/a in non-residential buildings in 2020 compared to 2013. Furthermore, the buildings renovation strategy outlines disparities in funding pursuant to residential building subsidies of the nine Austrian federal provinces.

Renovation of federal buildings

Under Article 16 EEffG, the Federal State is obliged to exercise an exemplary role by fulfilling an annual renovation rate of three percent (3%) of federal buildings between 2014 and 2020, according to the standard specified in Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings. Overall, the three percent (3%) annual rate of building renovation leads to energy savings in the amount of 48.145 GWh until 2020 (Article 16 Paragraph 1 EEffG). Additionally, the Federal State together with the Federal Real Estate Company (Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft, BIG) is obliged to make energy savings in the amount of 125 GWh between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2020 regarding buildings used by the Federal State but owned by the Federal Real Estate Company (Article 16 Paragraph 2 EEffG).

Federal floor area refers to heated or cooled buildings directly owned (according to the entry in the Land Book (Grundbuch)) and occupied by the Federal State in the relevant period. In fact, the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sport (Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport, BMLVS), Federal Ministry of Justice (Bundesministerium für Justiz, BMJ) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management almost exclusively own the relevant floor area. Based on the notification pursuant to Article 5 of Directive 2012/27/EU, calculation for 2014 shows overall relevant floor area of 788,283 m2; therefore, leading to a renovation obligation of 23,648 m2 (= three percent (3%) of 788,283 m2). According to the calculation for 2020, the overall relevant floor area will amount to 656,618 m2; thereby leading to a renovation obligation of 19,698 m2 in 2020.

In fact, due to this obligation, energy savings will increase yearly from 74 kWh/m2a in 2014 to a projected 87 kWh/m2a in 2020. Savings shall be achieved by the following measures:

-energy savings contracting;

-energy management measures; and

-renovation measures.

Indeed, the vast majority of savings are achieved by renovation measures and area reduction.

According to the Austrian progress report 2016, the Federal State will meet the three percent (3%) building renovation obligation pursuant to Article 5 of Directive 2012/27/EU. In the years 2014 and 2015 the majority of savings were achieved by means of energy contracting.


Not only building regulations but also residential building subsidies as main policy instruments contribute to the implementation of obligations pursuant to Article 4 of Directive 2012/27/EU regarding building renovation. Accordingly, the nine federal provinces have passed incentives designed to improve energy efficiency. To comply with obligations regarding the exemplary role of public bodies' buildings, Austria decided to adapt an alternative approach in order to take cost-effective measures to achieve the envisaged energy savings target of three percent (3%) of the federal floor area pursuant to Article 5 Paragraph 6 of Directive 2012/27/EU. In Austria, the relevant total floor area of buildings decreased from 788,283 m2 in 2014 to 656,618 m2 in 2020. Therefore, the heating demand savings amount should reduce from 74 kWh/m2a in 2014 to 87 kWh/m2a in 2020. According to calculations, the three percent (3%) renovation rate leads to overall energy savings of 48.145 GWh.

Enhancing energy efficiency is a key priority for Austria. According to data from the Austrian Energy Agency, end energy consumption increased by seventeen point nine percent (17.9%) between 2000 and 2013. The current programme 2013-2018 of the Austrian Federal Government emphasises measures to ensure "an efficient, affordable and socially acceptable energy system". According to the EEffG, the national energy efficiency target of end energy consumption shall not exceed 1,050 PJ in 2020.

Besides the EEffG, energy efficiency targets are pursued as follows:

-Federal Law on Climate Protection (Klimaschutzgesetz, "KSG")

The KSG is decisive for the Austrian climate policy. It establishes annual maximum quantities for greenhouse gas emissions on a sectoral basis for the commitment periods 2008-2012 and 2013-2020. It pursues the target of coordinated implementation of effective climate protection measures for the sectors: (i) waste management; (ii) energy and industry; (iii) fluorinated gases (fluorierte Gase); (iv) buildings; (v) agriculture; and (vi) traffic (Article 1 KSG).

-Energy Strategy Austria

In the Energy Strategy Austria, the achievement of the climate and energy targets of the European 2020 climate and energy package is described. Furthermore, energy efficiency is one of the three pillars of the Energy Strategy Austria. The Strategy aims to develop a sustainable energy system in Austria, considering the relevant legal framework. Initially, the stabilisation of final energy consumption at the level of the year 2005 shall be achieved in 2020; therefore, not exceeding 1,100 PJ.

Specific energy efficiency policies regarding buildings, infrastructure and transportation exist.


-building refurbishment programme;

-energy audits for households; and

-smart meters and informative billing.


-Environmental Support Programme (Umweltförderung im Inland); and

-energy efficiency in companies (a klima:aktiv programme)


-general transport plan for Austria;

-car registration tax; and

-klima:aktiv mobil – National Action Programme for Mobility Management.


Energy efficiency targets are promoted through various means in Austria. Besides the EEffG, these include principally the KSG and the Energy Strategy Austria, which all aim to achieve energy efficiency targets. In addition, energy efficiency policies contribute towards the achievement of defined targets.

2. Specific Provisions of the Law

3. Obligations

4. Mandatory Audit of Large Industry

5. Strategies

6. Targets