Energy Saving Obligation

Published on:
29 September 2023
Last checked on:
14 March 2024

The Environmental Activities Decree (Besluit activiteiten Leefomgeving) and the Environment Buildings Decree (Besluit bouwwerken Leefomgeving) requires business locations in the Netherlands that use 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of natural gas (or an equivalent) or more per year to take energy saving measures with a payback period of five years or less. This is the Energy Saving Obligation.

What is the Energy Saving Obligation?

Does a business location within your organisation in the Netherlands use 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of natural gas (or an equivalent) or more per year? If yes, the Energy Saving Obligation applies to your location. On the location you will have to take every energy saving measure with a payback period of five years or less.

When the Energy Saving Obligation applies, it is also obligatory to report the executed energy saving measures to your competent authority every 4 years. This is the Energy Saving Notification Obligation. The most recent deadline for submitting this report was 1 December 2023. Have you not submitted your report yet? Do so as soon as possible.

Does your business location use at least 10,000,000 kWh of electricity and/or 170,000 m3 of natural gas (or an equivalent)? If yes, it is possible that instead of the Energy Saving Notification Obligation, the Energy Saving Investigation Obligation applies to your activities. This depends on the type of activities you carry out. The deadline for submitting this report was 1 December 2023.

The Energy Saving Investigation Obligation does not apply to building related energy saving measures. For your buildings you need to comply with the Energy Saving Notification Obligation.

In addition to the Energy Saving Notification Obligation and/or the Energy Saving Investigation Obligation you may also need to comply with the EED Adit Obligation. Large enterprises have to perform an energy efficiency audit every four years and report this to RVO. This is the EED Audit Obligation.

Quickly determine which obligation applies to your organisation and business locations by using the step-by-step plan (in Dutch).

How do you meet your Energy Saving Obligation?

You can meet your Energy Saving Obligation by one of the following 2 options:

  • Take all measures with a payback period of five years or less, or;
  • Take all of the applicable measures for your business activities on the Recognised Energy Saving Measures List (Erkende Maatregelenlijst energiebesparing, or EML). The EML is not applicable to business locations that have an Energy Saving Investigation Obligation.

You take all measures with a payback period of five years or less

The competent authority will decide whether you have met your Energy Saving Obligation. The payback period of each measure has to be determined using the method determined by law.

You take all applicable measures of the Recognised Energy Saving Measures list (EML)

The EML contains measures that, in most situations, have a payback period of five years or less. For every recognised energy saving measure you do not take, you need to have an alternative measure in place. An alternative measure will need to save at least the equal amount of energy of the recognised energy saving measure.

You don’t take all applicable measures of the Recognised Energy Saving Measures list

Have you not taken all applicable measures of the EML or an equivalent alternative measure? And do you not want to follow the EML? In this case you will need to take all energy saving measures that are applicable to your specific situation with a payback period of five years or less.

Current lists of Recognised Energy Saving Measures

On the 8th of June, 2023, the updated Recognised Energy Saving Measures List has been published in the Government Gazette. The list includes new measures. Outdated techniques or technologies have been removed from this list. The structure of the list has been adjusted to better suit a wide variety of sectors.

There is a separate list voor the greenhouse horticulture sector. This list is published in the Government Gazette on the 30th of June, 2023.

The new EML consists of three lists: buildings, facilities and processes. Each list contains a set of categories of measures. Examples of these categories are room lighting (buildings list), compressed air (facilities list) and process heating (processes list). For the facilities en processes lists only the categories that are applicable to your business activities are relevant for meeting your Energy Saving Obligation.

Have you already taken energy saving measures? In this case, you do not need to replace a recognised measure previously taken if the list contains has an updated measure. This is addressed in the conditions that are described in the new EML.

CO emission reduction

New to the Energy Saving Obligation are measures regarding the reduction of CO emission reduction.

E.g. placing PV-panels on the roof of your location(s) is a new measure on the EML under certain conditions.

Who enforces the Energy Saving Obligation?

The competent authority is responsible for monitoring and enforcement of the Energy Saving Obligation, the Energy Saving Notification Obligation and the energy saving investigation notification obligation. In principle, this competent authority is the municipality in which your location is located. And in some cases, usually large and/or complex locations, the province is the competent authority. The competent authority has delegated these monitoring and enforcement tasks to an environment agency. As of 2023, the Energy Saving Obligation and underlying obligations are part of the standard work package of the environment agencies.                   

The environment agency might want to conduct an inspection. If you have not taken all applicable energy saving measures, the environment agency may take enforcement measures. This could have financial consequences in the form of a non-compliance penalty.

More information

Contact us for more information or read our Dutch information page. There are several Dutch tools available (introductory videos, step-by-step plan and EML list) to help you with the Energy Saving Obligation.

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