Open letter: building renovations should be at the centre of the Italian recovery

In view of the drafting of the Italian recovery and resilience plan, EU-ASE has joined with leading national players from industry, environmentalism and academia asking the government to focus on the renovation of buildings for a green and resilient recovery.

The letter states:

The drafting and implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is an historic challenge for our country. It represents the unique opportunity to boost the economy, safeguard and/or create jobs and win the fight against pollution and climate change.

The renovation of existing buildings is the ideal tool because it provides advantages in terms of growth, jobs, economic and social resilience, which are unparalleled in other sectors:

  • the high labour intensity, typical of all construction work, will create numerous local jobs (on average 18 jobs for every million euros invested, according to a Renovate Europe study);
  • renovations will improve the quality of the buildings, this will have huge impacts on all of us citizens, who spend about 90% of our time inside buildings, including better air quality, comfort, and health;
  • the strong decrease in energy consumption, which will bring decisive benefits in terms of tackling climate change (buildings are responsible for a large part of climate-altering emissions)

It is also important to remember that the aforementioned benefits would be obtained in a short time and would last over the long period, thanks to the long life of the technologies involved (insulation and renewable sources).

For this reason we support the plan to extend the “Superbonus 110%” until 2024 and, potentially, even beyond, until reaching the goal of decarbonising the entire building stock, as required by the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).

Similarly, we support the willingness to allocate a part of the Recovery Fund resources (1 billion euro/year) for the renovation of public buildings, excluded from the application of the Superbonus 110%.

The above is the first necessary step to reach the EU 2030 (-55%) and 2050 (climate neutrality) climate targets. In fact, we remind you that Italy, according to the EPBD, has yet to adopt a real long-term renovation strategy for the de-carbonisation of the Italian housing stock.

Today more than ever buildings renovations can and must contribute to the recovery of the Italian economy and, at the same time, make our society more resilient.

 

Read the full letter here (in Italian)

Open letter to ECON and BUDG Committees Members: A green recovery for Europe

In view of the ongoing discussion in the European Parliament on the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) sent a letter to the Members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Budgets (BUDG) Committees calling for a green recovery for current and future generations.

The letter states:

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the economy of the European Union hard. This urges a rapid, coordinated, and forward-looking response to cope with unprecedented health, economic and social consequences for all.

From a business perspective we are convinced that such response requires the EU recovery plans to support sustainable investments in projects and reforms fully aligned with the Paris agreement objectives and the goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Indeed, a large number of authoritative studies and economic research1,2 show that a green recovery holds the opportunity to provide short term boost to local economies and job creation while supporting, in the long term, the modernisation of our economic system and the ecological transition.

For these reasons and in view of the current discussion on the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation (RRF), we call on you to follow the indications received by your colleagues of the ENVI Committee in its Opinion of 14 October 2020 and in particular to ensure that:

At least 40% of the RRF’s total budget is earmarked to finance climate actions and addresses, over the next ten years, the economic, health, environmental and social consequences of climate changes, especially on the young and future generations.

The EU Taxonomy is used to assess both the eligibility and tracking of the investments included in the national recovery and resilience plans.

The RRF supports the achievement of the energy and climate targets for 2030 and 2050. In this perspective, national recovery and resilience plans should prioritise investments in areas such as energy efficient building renovations rather than lock-in resources in fossil fuel infrastructures that undermine the achievement of the Union’s climate and environmental objectives.

 

See the full letter here

Unique gathering of organisations call for more ambitious climate targets

Ahead of the European Council’s discussion on the ambition level of the new 2030 climate target, a unique gathering of businesses, investor groups, local and regional authorities and NGOs published a joint letter calling on the EU leaders to agree on the most ambitious target level.

Signed by the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and other 46 organisations, representing over 2.700 cities, 330 regions, €62 trillion in investment portfolio, more than 800 companies and 330 NGOs, the joint letter clearly expresses the desire of European stakeholders to have the EU’s 2030 climate target substantially increased. Building on the recent proposal from the European Commission, the signatories hope European Member States will improve what is proposed, and in particular call for decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions to come on top of the needed strong emission reductions in other sectors.

The letter welcomes the Commission’s proposal to substantially increase the EU’s 2030 climate target and states that the Member States should agree on at least -55% while some civil society organisations supporting the letter are already calling for at least -65% emission reductions. European stakeholders encourage Member States to achieve increased climate target both by strong emission reductions as well as decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions in line with the need to protect Europe’s biodiversity.

European cities, regions, businesses, investors, NGOs and local communities, underline that only ambitious climate action can avert the most dire future costs of climate change impacts and provide a unique societal and economic opportunity to achieve a socially just transition for all European regions.

 

Download the full letter here

Renewable and efficiency businesses highlight priorities for increased climate ambition

Together with a large group representing Europe’s renewable and systemic energy efficiency value chains, EU-ASE sent a letter to the cabinet of European Council President Charles Michel.

The signatories strongly welcomed the increased ambition recently announced by the Commission, which builds on the key pillars supported by our associations: the combination of the energy efficiency first principle with the transition to renewable energies, with a specific emphasis on the electricity, heating & cooling, building and transport sectors.

The letter states:

“The good news is that technologies are available. However, barriers still prevent their uptake. Therefore, we need bold and urgent action from your side.”

The group highlighted four top priorities to ensure an increased climate ambition by 2030. These are:

  • The need to systematically apply the “energy efficiency first principle” as an essential enabler for decarbonisation, by reducing energy demand and costs associated with energy production, infrastructure and use.
  • The need to recognise “flexibility” as a core driver for the energy transition with dedicated measures to promote key elements such as efficient system management, energy storage, waste heat recovery and demand response technologies.
  • The need to actively facilitate customer choice towards the most cost-efficient technologies with the highest impact in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction, building on the huge potential of digitalisation with smart technologies and controls, and with measures aimed at creating a level playing field for all energy carriers.
  • The need to sustain European excellence in renewable energies and their efficient use by further paving the way for the ambitious deployment of all renewables, with measures aimed at making use of and future-proofing Europe’s energy infrastructure as well as unlocking investments into the deployment of new, innovative technologies.

 

Download the full letter here

A smart, energy efficient and fair Renovation Wave for a faster economic recovery

In an open letter sent to the European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the group of progressive businesses and NGOs which constitute the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) called on the Commission to present an ambitious Renovation Wave initiative based on the energy efficiency first principle and funded by sufficient and dedicated resources.

In the broader energy system integration context, the letter states, the energy efficiency first principle must guide all building renovations’ decision-making processes. This implies the recognition of buildings as strategic and priority infrastructure for Europe.

With regards to resources, it is crucial to secure dedicated financial envelopes for building renovations within the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, InvestEU and the post 2020 Cohesion funds. Funds should be clearly earmarked and conditioned to increase the rate, depth and quality of integrated building renovations, the signatories write. The granting of financial support should follow the ratio “unit of energy saved (or CO2 saved) per invested Euro”, to ensure cost-effectiveness measurements of investments supported by EU funds.

Moreover, an ambitious Renovation Wave should focus on immediate, efficient heat decarbonisation. This is a great opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of heat in Europe’s buildings by combining energy efficiency, digitalisation and direct electrification with the deployment of smart, efficient, responsive electric heating and district level heating solutions. These can secure immediate carbon savings in buildings through existing and cost-effective solutions, enabling the use of waste heat and by the same token allow to prioritise limited green hydrogen capacity for deployment in harder-to-abate sectors, such as industry and freight.

From an environmental perspective, evidence shows that the Renovation Wave is a conditio sine qua non to reach the increased GHG emissions target for 2030 and climate-neutrality by 2050. Smarter and energy efficient buildings not only contribute directly to the reduction of energy demand and GHG emissions, but they are a prerequisite for a faster and deeper integration of renewables. 

The synergy between energy efficiency first in the building stock and the acceleration of renewable energy penetration is the real game changer and essential driver of the inevitable transformation of our energy system.

 

Download the letter here