Member States’ vision for renovating the EU building stock not aligned with the urgency to address the energy and climate crisis

Brussels, 25 October 2022 – Today, the Council of the European Union adopted its general approach (GA) on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package to put the Union on track with the 2030 and 2050 climate neutrality targets.

Leading businesses commenting on the general approach adopted by the Council underline that achieving an energy efficient and sustainable building stock is critical for the EU to tackle today’s energy and climate crisis, worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The building sector is the first EU energy consumer, thus the revision of the EPBD is a key opportunity to accelerate the very low annual building renovation rates, as only 1% of EU buildings undergo energy renovations each year.

Despite the huge role building renovations have in the EU energy transition, the European Alliance to Save Energy underlines that the Council’s vision on the revision of the EPBD is not consistent with the 2030 target for the Union to reduce at least 55% of GHG emissions, nor effective in achieving the REPowerEU goal to tackle today’s dependency on imported fossil fuels. According to the Renovation Wave strategy, the EU must at least double the current annual building renovation rates and foster deep energy retrofits, aiming at renovating 35 million building units by 2030. This target cannot be achieved with the Council’s envisioned system for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

EU-ASE believes that decoupling MEPS from energy classes is not a reliable mechanism to ensure that buildings become more performing overtime, while EPCs and energy classes are already mandatory in all Member States. On the contrary, EPCs should be harmonised and reinforced. In addition, EU-ASE regrets that the Council position does not support an EU-MEPS system, preferring national renovation trajectories which should aim to deliver the ‘Zero Emission Building (ZEB) objective, but without clear compliance mechanisms after 2034 for private non-residential buildings and after 2033 for residential buildings. 

Finally, it is matter of concern that Member States may choose not to apply MEPS in single family houses in favour of an approach based on renovation trigger points based on a sell or a rental contract, which would unacceptably keep millions of EU citizens living in inefficient buildings, thus worsening energy poverty.  

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: While recognising the efforts made by the Presidency of the Council to maintain the Zero Emission Buildings’ vision by 2050, it is evident that without a clear strategy to trigger scalable energy renovations in buildings, thousands of Europeans will keep on living in energy poverty conditions. An EPBD that is ‘fit for 55%’ means ambitious minimum energy performance standards that cover the renovation of all EU buildings so that they become Zero Emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

While the Council adopted its General Approach, the European Parliament is still negotiating compromise amendments on the Commission’s proposal which should be voted in the ITRE committee on November 29. Inter-institutional negotiations should therefore start during the first quarter of 2023.

Finally, EU-ASE welcomes the declaration proposal formulated by France and supported by Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland to push for greater ambition regarding minimum energy performance standards during inter-institutional negotiations with the Parliament.

You can find here the position of EU-ASE on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Read the PDF version of our press release here.

 

Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
+32 499 84 97 28
antoan.montignier@euase.eu

About us
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) is a cross-sectoral, business-led organisation that ensures that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across Europe. EU-ASE members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

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Think Efficiency first to address the energy and climate crisis

More than 20 organisations join EU-ASE in an open letter addressed to the EU negotiators revising the Energy Efficiency Directive. It calls for an effective implementation of the Energy Efficiency First principle in all of the EU, national and local policy, planning and investment projects regardless of the size of investments.

With the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the EU Institutions are due to agree in trialogue negotiations on provisions that introduce in the regulatory framework the implementation of the “Energy Efficiency First” Principle.

This letter, co-signed by European business organisations, housing associations and NGOs, calls on the EED negotiators to agree on applying the principle without monetary thresholds that could rule out its application in many local projects having an impact on the energy system, therefore missing the potential energy efficiency can have for the economy, society and the climate. 

Read the full letter here

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First edition of “European Energy Efficiency Day” brings together top businesses and policymakers

On 13 October 2022 the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) hosted the first edition of the “European Energy Efficiency Day”, a high-level conference bringing together leading businesses, policymakers and energy experts to explore cost efficient and socially fair decarbonisation paths.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 report, achieving climate neutrality by 2050 requires to pushing the average average rate of energy efficiency improvements in the period 2020-2030 to about three times the average of the last two decades. The importance of energy efficiency is even more evident in the current context of high energy prices and to significantly reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible.

Improving energy efficiency throughout the EU can be done through massively scaling up energy efficient solutions for buildings, vehicles, home appliances and industry. Solutions and technologies which are all available today.

In this context, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) launched a new forum to discuss the future of energy and how to decarbonise Europe’s economy through the lenses of energy efficiency, innovation and long-term sustainability.

The European Energy Efficiency Day is a high-level policy conference aimed at exploring cost efficient and socially fair decarbonisation paths to address the energy and climate crisis and deliver the European Green Deal. The first edition of the conference took place on 13 October 2022 as an online event.

Through a series of six sessions throughout the day, the event brought together key EU and national policymakers, leading industry players, as well as experts from the energy and environment community.

Speakers included:

  • Frans Timmermans Executive Vice President for the Green Deal, European Commission
  • Simone Mori Head of Europe, Enel Group
  • Laurence Tubiana CEO, European Climate Foundation
  • David Ducarme Deputy Group CEO & Group COO, Knauf Insulation
  • Monique Goyens Director General, BEUC
  • Oliver Kraft Executive Vice President, Sustainable Communities, Siemens
  • Paula Pinho Director Just Transition, Consumers, Energy Efficiency & Innovation, DG Energy, European Commission
  • Emilio Tenuta Chief Sustainability Officer, Ecolab
  • Maive Rute Deputy Director–General, DG GROW, European Commission
  • Hayati Yarkadas President, Xylem Europe, Water Infrastructure & Global Services
    …and more!

See the full agenda & learn more on energyefficiencyday.eu

You can watch all 6 recordings below & on the EU-ASE YouTube channel

 

Session 1: Energy efficiency and renewables: building Europe’s energy transition together | European Energy Efficiency Day 2022

Session 2: Reaping the benefits of the water-energy nexus | European Energy Efficiency Day 2022

Session 3: Empowering city districts through digitalisation and system integration | European Energy Efficiency Day 2022

Session 4: Making industry “Fit for 55” | European Energy Efficiency Day 2022

Session 5: Energy efficiency: first fuel to drive Europe’s energy sovereignty | European Energy Efficiency Day 2022

Session 6: Energy efficient buildings to improve citizens’ health and wellbeing | European Energy Efficiency Day 2022

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Investing in energy efficiency: if not now when?

As the cheapest & cleanest energy is the one we don’t need, rapidly increasing energy savings is of outmost importance to address the current crises, says Monica Frassoni in Euractiv, ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day conference. 

More than two hundred days have passed since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, starting a tragic conflict in Europe with no clear end in sight. The use of energy as a weapon by Vladimir Putin shows that by delaying plans for a clean energy transition the EU is more vulnerable and insecure.

While emergency plans are underway to respond to the crisis, skyrocketing prices of wholesale fossil gas and electricity pose a real challenge to struggling citizens and businesses and put at great risk the post-pandemic recovery.

Today, the pressing question everyone is asking is: how can we make it through the next winter and how can we reduce quickly energy prices? But the real question should be: how can we make it through the next four-five winters and burning summers, and at the same time accelerate carbon emissions reduction.

Because the cheapest and cleanest energy is the one we do not need, rapidly increasing energy savings is of outmost importance. By mainly focusing on diversification of gas supply many governments are underestimating the massive savings potential that is currently untapped at end-use and system levels via retrofitting, demand-side flexibility and by accelerating the digital transition.

 

Read the full article by Monica Frassoni on Euractiv

More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

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Gas package: energy system efficiency, rather than a fuel switch

In December 2021, the European Commission issued two proposals, the Gas Directive 2009/73/EC and the Gas Regulation (EC) No 715/2009, laying down the foundation for a European low-carbon gas industry, the so-called “Gas Package”. The Commission’s approach should depart from this old paradigm and uphold the commitment to the Energy Efficiency First Principle (EE1st) to avoid possible stranded assets.

Although urgent action is needed, the proposal focuses exclusively on source diversification. It misses the opportunity to implement the Energy Efficiency First (EE1) principle at the system level and fails to consider the broad socio-economic benefits of energy efficiency and system efficiency.

In current times energy efficiency should be more of a priority than ever, which is being increasingly reflected in the EU’s response to rid Europe of Russian gas imports. The old paradigm needs to be updated accordingly.

The paper highlights gaps and suggests improvements pertaining the following axes:

1. Need for speed
2. Hydrogen for harder-to-abate sectors
3. Benefits of energy efficiency
4. Gas Package and Fit for 55
5. Infrastructure and governance: prioritize climate
6. Conclusion: go beyond 1-1 fuel switch and think energy efficient

Read the full paper here

 

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