Following the directives of the European Union a New Royal Decree 235/2013 was approved on the 5th of April 2013, establishing the obligation to make available to the buyers or tenants of buildings a certificate setting out information on the energetic efficiency of a building in order to promote properties with high energy efficiency and also encourage energy saving investments. The obtention of this certificate which was already required for new buildings is now also requested in case of transfer or rental of an existing building.

What is the energy efficiency certificate?

The energy efficiency certificate is an official document drawn up by a competent technician (Architect, Technical Architect or engineer) that includes information on the energetic characteristics of a building or house and reference values such as minimum energy efficiency requirements.

Information to be included in the energy efficiency certificate.

The certificate must contain amongst others data of the property including catastral reference, procedure used to obtain the energy efficiency rating, regulations on energy efficiency savings applicable at the time of the construction of the building, its energy characteristics, tests, etc. For existing buildings it should have also recommendations to improve the energy efficiency.

Properties that must have an energy efficiency certificate.

a) New buildings.

b) Buildings or parts of buildings which are sold or rented to a new tenant, if a valid certificate is not available.

c) Buildings of more than 250 m2 occupied by a public authority and that are frequently visited by the public.

Exceptions: Properties that do not require an energy efficiency certificate.

It is not required to obtain an energy efficiency certificate in the following cases:

a) Buildings and Monuments officially protected.

b) Buildings used solely as places of worship and for religious activities.

c) Temporary buildings to be used for less than two years.

d) Industrial, defence or agriculture buildings.

e) Buildings with a surface of less than 50 m2.

f) Building purchased for major refurbishing works or demolition.

g) Residential buildings, that are used for less than four months a year, or for a limited time with an expected energy consumption of less than 25 percent of a normal annual use, providing the owner signs a declaration confirming this.

Who has to obtain the energy efficiency certificate?

The developer or owner of both new and existing buildings will be responsible for commissioning a technician to issue this certificate of the building or part of same and keep the relevant documentation. In case of apartments or properties in a building, one can obtain one certificate for the whole building or a certificate for various apartments and premises with the same energy characteristics. Premises that have an independent use not described in the building project must obtain a certificate when they start their activity. In case of an industrial activity no certificate is required. The energy efficiency certificate of the building must be submitted by the developer or owner in its case to the appropriate body of the Autonomous community for registration. Energy efficiency certificates will be made available to the authorities in case of inspection or for other requirements, either incorporated in the Book of the building or through the owner of the building, or president of the community who have to keep same.


The energy certificate will be valid for ten years, and after this period it will have to be renewed. The obtention of this certificate grants the right to use an energy efficiency label to be included in any offer, promotion and sale or lease advertisement of the building or building unit. The public buildings or private property that is frequented by public generally must display this label.

Properties with zero energy consumption from 31/12/2020

Also the Royal Decree provides for that any constructions built from 31-12-2020 must be of almost zero energy consumption and in the case of public buildings, this requirement will be applicable two years before.

Body Control, Offences and Penalties.

The Autonomous Communities may carry out such inspections deemed necessary to verify the compliance with the requirement of the energy efficiency certificate.

The breach of the provisions of the Royal Decree will in any case be considered as an infringement of the regulations relating to obtention of energy efficiency certificate, but it may, however also constitute an offense in the consumers and users rights.

As far as the rules of the latter are concerned, penalties could be imposed on owners of properties for sale or rent with advertisements published which do not show the degree of energy efficiency of the property of up to 3,005.06 Euros assuming that these are considered minor offences. Anyway the regional goverments will be responsible to establish the fines.

Since when will the energy efficiency certificate be required?

The presentation to the buyers or tenants of the energy efficiency certificate for all or part of the building, as appropriate, will be required for the sale or rental of properties that are signed from next 1st of June 2013 onwards. Prior to this date, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, will publicly make available software of energy efficiency rating for existing buildings, which will be applied throughout Spain and develop a formation and information plan for the affected sectors.

Please note the information provided in this article is of general knowledge only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice.

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