The European Parliament has adopted measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings across the EU.

The proposals seek to ensure that all new buildings produce zero emissions from 2028 onwards and ensure minimum energy ratings for existing residential buildings from 2030.

Negotiations to agree on the final text of a directive will now begin between the Parliament, EU Governments and Commision.

This afternoon, the Parliament passed the proposals by 343 votes to 216 with 78 abstentions.

Among the changes proposed, the energy rating of existing residential buildings will have to meet a minimum E rating by 2030 and gradually improve from there onwards.

Irish Green MEP Ciaran Cuffe led negotiations to develop these proposals on behalf of the Parliament.

Negotiations will now begin with EU Governments and the Commision before a final text on a directive is agreed.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Cuffe said the proposals will be "transformational".

Mr Cuffe said the project will cost around €270 billion annually, but there will be EU funds to help countries and major financiers such as the Eurpean Investment Bank and European Central bank are ready and willing to lend - in some cases at negative interest rates - to governments who can pass it on to householders.

Buildings are responsible for over a third of our emissions, he said.