Energy-saving obligation: how to comply

Does your company consume more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of gas? Then you must take all energy-saving measures that you can earn back within five years. If you have an office building, as of 2023, you must ensure that it has at least energy label C. Follow the measures listed below to avoid fines or even mandatory closure of your office. What can you do yourself and what should you outsource?

To help combat global warming, the Netherlands wants to reduce carbon emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. To make this happen, entrepreneurs will encounter an increasing set of measures and requirements. For example the energy efficiency obligation. This applies if your company consumes more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of gas per year. For comparison, that is more than 20 times the amount of electricity and gas used by a typical Dutch household. If your business uses less, this measure does not apply.

Energy-saving obligation 2023

Does the energy saving obligation apply to you? Then you must take all energy-saving measures that you can recoup within 5 years. From 2023, the energy saving obligation also covers measures with a payback period of 5 years or less that do not save energy but do reduce CO2 emissions. Exactly which actions you have to carry out (or have carried out) can be checked with the approved energy saving measure lists (in Dutch).

Duty of disclosure

Then you also have a duty of disclosure. This means you are required to report what energy-saving measures you have taken. You can report what measures you have taken via the digital portal of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) (in Dutch). 

Energy-saving measures

Some energy-saving measures you can do yourself. For others, you will need to hire help. Keep in mind there may be longer waiting times due to a shortage of installers.

DIY measures

You can make your company significantly more sustainable by taking a few simple steps that will also help you reduce your energy consumption at the same time.

Install time switches

Install time switches on your lighting, ventilation, and heating systems to make sure that you are not unnecessarily heating or cooling the building when no one is there, and that the lights are not on when everyone has gone home.

You can also install time switches on other equipment, such as copiers and printers. These are often left on day and night, while older machines consume considerable amounts of energy even when idle.

Save on lighting

Replace your lighting with energy-efficient LED lights. LED bulbs last longer and consume 5 times less power than halogen bulbs. Install motion sensors to make sure the lights are only on when people are actually in the building.

Prevent draughts

If you have visitors or employees entering and exiting your building all day long, consider installing door closers on exterior doors to have them close automatically. If you have a shop, you can also save on energy costs by keeping the door closed. Various tests by industry association INretail show that these savings can be as much as 40%. And that a closed door does not cause customers to stay away.

Use your air conditioner energy-efficiently

Air conditioners offer cooling but consume a lot of power. Go smart and economical with your air conditioner by combining it with blinds and natural ventilation, for example.

What to outsource

Complex or specialised energy-saving measures will have to be outsourced to professionals.


If your building is not properly insulated, a lot of heat or cold will be lost through the walls. Make sure to have your cavity walls insulated and insulate your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss.

Replace double glazing

Have single or double glazing replaced with high-efficiency glazing. If your window frames are also in need of replacement, opt for so-called HR+++ glazing. This type of triple glazing is the most energy-efficient option, but cannot be installed in window frames for double glazing. If your window frames do not have to be replaced yet, you can opt for HR++ glazing, which is a lot more efficient than regular double glazing and will fit your window frames.

Read more about making your business operations sustainable.

Take advantage of grants

All of these energy-efficiency measures cost money. Fortunately, the government has introduced several grant schemes to lend a helping hand.

Energy-Saving Investment Credit

If your company is investing in energy-saving measures, you may be entitled to benefits under the Energy Investment Allowance (EIA). This scheme lets you deduct 40% of the costs resulting from investments in energy-saving measures from your profit. Read RVO’s full terms and conditions (in Dutch).

Find more energy-related subsidies.

SME-credit scheme Green (BMKB-Groen)

Do you need financing to make your business more sustainable? The BMKB-Groen scheme helps you with this. The government provides a guarantee for if your financier does not get the money back from the loan. This reduces the financier's risk and makes it easier for you to get a loan.

FAQ's about the energy-saving obligation

That depends on your situation.

  • There is one tenant in my building.

You are responsible for all energy-saving measures that the tenant cannot take, such as insulating the building envelope. The tenant must take all measures for which you, as the owner of the property, do not have to give permission.

  • There are several tenants in my building.

As the owner, you are responsible for energy-saving measures. You must take all measures, except measures that can only be taken by the tenant. Consider, for example, energy-efficient printing and copying. The tenant is the owner of this equipment and is therefore responsible for making it more sustainable.

That depends on your situation.

I am the only tenant of the property.

As a user of the building, you must take all measures for which you do not require permission from the owner of the property. Consider, for example, replacing all lighting with LED lamps. The owner is responsible for energy-saving measures in the building that you cannot take as a user, such as insulating the building floors and walls.

I rent office space in a building with multiple users.

In principle, the owner of the building is responsible for energy-saving measures. Except when it concerns measures that you can only take as a tenant, such as energy-efficient printing and copying. As a tenant, you are the owner of this equipment. That makes you responsible for making it more sustainable.

Yes, you must also comply with the energy-saving obligation as a zzp’er, but only if you use more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of gas. This is about as much as the annual consumption of 16.5 households. Check your energy consumption with your energy supplier.

Yes, you must comply with the energy-saving obligation. Read all about making the monument more sustainable (in Dutch)